For those who have experienced a loss of relationships during their addiction, prioritizing connection with others may feel like foreign territory. However, having a support system or Recovery Circle is crucial to sustaining lifelong recovery.
The Importance of Connection for Addiction Recovery
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is classified as a chronic illness, which means treating the disease is critical. Like other chronic illnesses, the treatment of AUD requires an individualized treatment plan for the person struggling to remain sober.
One of the most influential and crucial resources needed is a strong support system. A robust Recovery Circle can help remind those in recovery that they are not alone in their journey. Support from your community “is a very powerful reinforcer” and “highly beneficial for helping people avoid relapse or an escalation in alcohol use.”
Staying connected to others enhances mood, self-esteem, and worth but also can act as a point of light and fun in an otherwise arduous journey. In addition, it can help motivate those going through recovery by knowing they have someone to report progress to.
By staying connected, you set up a system that inevitably helps hold you accountable, and, without accountability, sobriety is nearly impossible.
What Happens in Recovery Without Accountability?
The COVID-19 pandemic and its seclusion proved just how dire support systems are for those with AUD. Just two months into the pandemic, it was recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that there was a significant rise in substance consumption due to the stress, uncertainty, and isolation caused by the Stay at Home order.
Two years later, we are slowly seeing how this seclusion affected those who struggle with alcohol misuse. In a recent study, researchers saw a 25% increase in alcohol-related deaths from 2019 to 2020, the beginning of the pandemic. As we can see, managing AUD is much more difficult without proper support and accountability.
It is vital to an individual's recovery to have an array of people in their inner circle to create a successful accountability system. Each type of person brings a unique perspective to one’s recovery that is needed to stay accountable and manage their addiction.
The Importance of Staying Connected to Friends and Family During Recovery
AUD is a disease that affects not just the individual but those close to them; it is often referred to as a family illness.
AUD is also often genetic and/or a result of trauma which can adversely affect relationships between those in recovery and their loved ones. Because of this, reconnecting and staying connected to friends and family during recovery is typically indicative of one’s success.
The Importance of Staying Connected to Others in Recovery
It is important to stay connected to a circle of people who have had similar experiences as you to help sustain your recovery. Because addiction can be so isolating, camaraderie and discussion between others who suffer from the same disease can remind you that you are not alone, even if it feels that way.
These relationships act as a safe place to speak about your past mistakes, your desires to drink, and/or reasons for wanting to give up without fear of ridicule or judgment, which may not always be the case with friends and family.
Staying connected to a wide array of people in your Recovery Circle ensures you have multiple ways to stay accountable in recovery.
Tips for Staying Connected During Recovery
Fostering or rebuilding relationships with loved ones may feel overwhelming during early recovery, so here are four simple ways to stay connected:
1. Schedule a Phone/Video Call or Send a Text Message
Fortunately, we live in a time where we can connect with people worldwide in a matter of seconds. However, spontaneous phone calls or text messages may be too overwhelming to those in recovery.
This is where scheduling becomes beneficial. Scheduling a video call or a weekly text gives the person in recovery time to prepare and keeps them accountable to communicate at a certain time. This can help those in recovery have more autonomy while still having others help hold them accountable.
2. Utilize Alcohol Monitoring Technology
Utilizing Soberlink’s alcohol monitoring system is an excellent way to stay connected to those in your Recovery Circle.
More than a standard testing device, Soberlink’s remote breathalyzer utilizes wireless connectivity with adaptive facial recognition that allows its users to send real-time results to their community including friends, family, therapists, and treatment professionals.
One Soberlink user, whose “family had been really down” about his multiple relapses, says he finally found success after utilizing the system. Another testifies to its success stating, “[Soberlink] save[d] my relationships, my marriage, and life.”
Utilizing Soberlink’s comprehensive system can help you stay connected while rebuilding trust, assisting with accountability, and providing peace of mind to your loved ones.
3. Plan Sober Activities
Finding a new hobby or expanding on an existing one is an excellent way to stay connected to your intimate circle during recovery. Whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, having an activity to complete with a friend or family member not only helps keep you busy during recovery but can also help strengthen your relationships.
4. Utilize Online Services
Though we are slowly returning to a sense of normalcy post-pandemic, the accessibility of online programs, fortunately, remains the same.
Utilizing a free online resource like a virtual Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery) meeting allows you to stay connected to others in recovery at zero cost.
Connection Saves Lives
Though it may seem like just one more item to cross off your treatment checklist, staying connected to your Recovery Circle can ultimately save your life.
With connection, longstanding recovery is possible, and all of the hard work you’ve put in other parts of recovery will be shared experiences with those closest to you.
The road to sobriety is not always easy, but managing your addiction is possible with support.