As previous research has shown us, one of the biggest influencers of recovery is support. Having someone by our side to lean on, to tell when things aren’t going the way we’d like for them to, to share our victories with – it all matters, and it can either pull us up (or push us down) in recovery.
Involvement in treatment is one of the biggest predictors of recovery success, but if we spend our time building our recovery with the wrong type of connections, we may wind up taking a few steps back in recovery – which is certainly not what we want.
Whether you’re in a 12-Step program or are meeting people through other avenues, it’s important to be careful in choosing who you invite to become part of your support system. Check out the following connections that may not be doing you any good:
- Keeping friends from the past. A 2015 study published in the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy found that those who associated themselves more with non-using friends and less with friends who used to use actually experienced a better quality of life.
- Making friends with someone who attends 12-Step meetings but isn’t sober. We all know of that person who attends but isn’t 100% committed. Be wary of these types of connections because they could ultimately bring your recovery progress down – even if that wasn’t the original intention.
- Trying desperately to maintain connections with friends or family who do not support your recovery. As the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) notes, there are many reasons why family members may be unsupportive right now. The best you can do is let them know that you care and that you’re trying, and then give them space to work through their concerns while you continue to focus on your recovery.
The people we let into our lives can significantly alter the paths we take, so it’s wise to consider who you let in.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.