Fellowship in Recovery
It is with good reason that friends and fellowship in recovery is a common topic at most types of addiction recovery meetings. In this post, we’ll see the power that sober relationships have over the despair of addiction.
Addiction likes to do its work in secret, away from the prying eyes of those who might recognize it for what it is. That’s why it’s so fond of isolation. When its victims are cut off from their friends and family, addiction can lie at will and eventually convince the problem drug or alcohol user that their loneliness is the only fate they deserve.
Loneliness as a Weapon
Addiction is a lonely experience for those who are suffering from it. Those who suffer from a substance abuse disorder tend to withdraw from their family and friends once their disease has progressed to a certain point. This can happen for a number of reasons, but substance abusers typically begin to avoid their love ones from shame, guilt, or indifference.
Unable to see that they are suffering from a condition that’s beyond their control, drug and alcohol abusers often feel afraid of being judge, mocked, or misunderstood. Longstanding feelings of guilt can contribute to a growing sense of isolation as well. Unfortunately, this can continue even after they decide to get help and enter a treatment program. Again, the particulars are different in every case, but addicted persons frequently withdraw from the very people that alone might have the power to help them turn their lives into something more meaningful and rewarding.
Whatever their reasons are, these isolating practices are merely an extension of a diseased condition and inevitably make things worse. In this post, we’ll look at why friends and fellowship in recovery are so important.
However, the truth is the complete opposite. Not only does having a strong support group make rehab easier, it also makes recovery smoother and faster. Studies have shown that being surrounded by supportive and understanding family and friends greatly benefits individuals who are in the throes of addiction.
What Does Fellowship in Recovery Mean?
Fellowship can seem like a rather vague term. However, the best way to think of it in the context of recovery is having a strong support system. Many people mistakenly believe that a strong support system consists of people who are willing to help out during those difficult times in recovery. While this is certainly an important trait, there are others that you need to look for when you are building your support system.
Here are the qualities that you need to find in your support system during and after recovery:
You need to surround yourself with people who are not afraid to hold you accountable. These people can offer you honest feedback when you need it, as well as call a bluff when the situation calls for it.
The most important thing with accountability is that these people will prevent you from justifying behavior that can set back your recovery or even cause you to relapse. Since you are going to answer to someone else who is not going to sugarcoat their response, you will be more likely to stay on track.
Finding other people who can understand and relate to your circumstance is essential in your support system. These people know how difficult your situation can become, and they can offer advice, direction, and sympathy can that only come from someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Most recovery programs have affiliated support groups, so you can easily find one that would be suitable for you.
You can opt for informal support groups like a gathering at your local coffee shop. Just make sure that you have someone who is knowledgeable and willing to facilitate the group if necessary.
3. Access to Resources
During your recovery period, it is essential that you have access to information about what you are going through. The more you know about the recovery process and what it entails, the better you can stick to your goals.
Keep in mind that access to resources is not necessarily financial resources. It also means being able to connect with licensed mental health professionals or addiction counselors when you need it.
Lastly, you need a support group that acknowledges your sense of purpose. Knowing your sense of purpose is arguably one of the most powerful things that will keep you on the track to recovery.
This purpose will not only help you make positive changes in your thoughts and behavior, it will also help you keep focused on your goals. For many people who are going through recovery, their sense of purpose acts as their compass.
The Benefits of Friends and Fellowship in Recovery
Friends and fellowship play a powerful role during recovery. These people offer support and counsel, and help increase one’s sense of self-worth, confidence, and happiness – three things that are often missing in people who are struggling with substance abuse and mental health problems.
What’s more, a strong support system offers other benefits such as:
- Creating a healthy environment – a strong support system removes negative influences and enablers around you, and helps you detach yourself from these people.
- Choosing what support system works for you – for some people, a structured support system such as a 12-step program is ideal, while others find that informal group settings work better. A strong support system will work with you to find the best system that will work for your needs and preferences.
- Provides a lifeline during hard times – during and after recovery, there will be times when you feel like you’re overwhelmed and about to fall off the wagon. Your support system will be the one who will help you identify these triggers, deal with your emotions, and plan your next steps with you.
The most important thing about surrounding yourself with a support system is making sure that you’re not surrounded by “yes men”. While these people are your family, friends, and fellows sufferers, they need to understand that what’s best for you is seldom the easiest thing to accomplish. True friends and fellowship in recovery means people that love you even as they hold you accountable.