Sometimes, the most powerful support networks consist of people who are also in recovery. It's easy to think of these relationships as the blind leading the blind. Contrary to that belief, building relationships with others in recovery is conducive to both individuals involved. It's a mutually beneficial relationship.
As you hone your path to recovery, someone else gets to be held accountable for theirs. Accountability is essential for sobriety. The journey of treatment and recovery is not one you have to go through alone. Knowing that individuals are going through the same thing can bring you peace and a broad support network, so you'll never have to fear traveling this path alone.
You may be struggling to help a loved one in recovery. However, have you considered how helping them will help you? You can assist a friend or family member by offering accountability, expressing the benefits of treatment, and taking advantage of aftercare programs. In doing so, you help yourself as well.
The Importance of Accountability
Accountability is a necessary part of the recovery process. Even those who have been in recovery for years benefit from having an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone with whom you share a mutual relationship, check in regularly, and offer advice on specific goals. In the case of addiction recovery, that common goal is maintaining sobriety.
Relationships with recovery peers can look different depending on the people. In general, accountability partners should prioritize checking in with each other regularly. Checking in might happen via a phone call, text, or any other method. Regardless, it is simply a way to gauge how things are going in recovery.
Having an accountability partner is also about having someone to lean on during difficult times. For example, say you are having a particularly rough day and are experiencing intense substance cravings. Reaching out to an accountability partner can help you handle the situation. For example, they may offer to go out or do an activity with you as a distraction or be there to talk things out.
Additionally, an accountability partner will help you. Even if you have been in recovery for many years, you will continue experiencing occasional triggers, cravings, and stress. An accountability partner can help reduce the risk of relapse. Accountability goes both ways. You are both reaping benefits, even if you may not realize it.
Ways to Help Others
You can help others now that you are in recovery in many ways. Some of these ways include:
- Being vulnerable. Sharing your experiences will inspire others in their recovery journey
- Learning to give back in a more official capacity. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offer training programs you can take so you can help others find healing on a larger scale.
- They are becoming a sponsor. Having a sponsor is vital for individuals in early recovery. Sponsors are very similar to accountability partners. However, an accountability partner may be new to recovery like you. Sponsors, on the other hand, have more years of sobriety and can offer seasoned advice on ways to maintain your recovery.
How Helping Others Helps Yourself
Addiction is an isolating disease. It can be hard to connect with people not struggling with addiction or recovery. Yet, connection is essential to recovery, no matter how long you have been in recovery. For example, having an accountability partner does not just keep your partner accountable—it keeps you accountable. That is why it is a partnership. You can also learn things about yourself as you help them with their struggles.
Helping others can also be a great distraction. Loneliness and boredom are common triggers for relapse. Relapse prevention plans typically include activities that keep you occupied and substance use off your mind. The longer you are in recovery, the more comfortable you will become in it, but there is always a risk of relapse. When you feel comfortable enough, consider some way to help others trying to achieve sobriety.
Taking Advantage of Aftercare Programs
Aftercare programs are excellent ways to help others in recovery. For example, our alumni program offers individuals a way to stay involved with a sober community post-treatment. These communities consist of peers and professionals. Many may be in early recovery, but that means you will have the chance to help others starting their recovery journey. As you offer advice based on your experiences, they may learn and feel inspired as they begin recovery.
Additionally, aftercare programs provide you with a strong community. Part of sobriety is accepting that recovery is a lifelong journey. There are many ways to maintain sobriety. Helping others live a better life—the life you choose to live yourself—can be fulfilling. That feeling in itself can be enough to motivate you to carry on in your recovery journey.
Helping others in early recovery is an excellent way for you to maintain sobriety. There are endless ways to help others in early recovery. Being vulnerable, sharing your experiences, becoming a sponsor or accountability partner, and participating in support groups or aftercare programs can all help others in early recovery. You will continue learning a lot as you help others. Additionally, being part of someone else's support system distracts from substance use, triggers, or cravings. To learn more about how helping others in recovery can help you, call (303) 558-6400 today. Additionally, if someone you love is struggling with addiction or sobriety maintenance, encourage them to call this number and seek treatment today.