The people whom we spend our time with are the ones who often have the biggest impact on our recovery. This is often because the conversations, activities and thoughts that are shared become taken into consideration by ourselves, which can cause us to take different paths along the way. Recovery communities are strong yet vulnerable communities because they’ve experienced trauma, substance abuse and more. Thus, social connections are a huge area of concern for those in recovery due to the significant influence they can have on us.
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, positive networks and social processes help those in recovery establish and maintain structure in recovery. These social connections could develop from:
- Volunteer work
- Self-help groups such as 12-Step programs
- Recreational activities
- Training and employment
- And more
In fact, previous research has shown that the more we engage ourselves with supportive others in recovery (such as with a sponsor in a 12-Step program), the more likely we are to not only participate in treatment to a greater extent, but also to remain abstinent for a longer period of time.
Recovery communities essentially undergo a change in perspective when it comes to self-identity. Towards the beginning of recovery, individuals may view themselves as “addicts” but, over time and with the right social support system, they will come to view themselves as people in recovery. With this change in self-perception comes a change in lifestyle – one that is more conducive to sobriety. Recovery communities restore their mind, body and spirit through a number of therapies, activities and treatment modalities, but social support is one of the strongest influencers because those whom we spend our time with can carry such a great influence on our mind and spirit.
As American essayist, lecturer and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once stated,
“The one person you are destined to be is the person you decide to be.”
Surround yourself with people who uplift you, inspire you and cheer you on. The more genuine support we can achieve, the greater our strength in recovery.
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.