The phrase “It takes a village” signifies the importance of a community that collectively promotes growth and development for an individual, especially during recovery. Establishing a support system, improving morale, and contributing to a greater whole are just a few of the ways that the community can aid in recovery and keep you from going down the slippery slope of relapse and a negative mental state.
Additionally, feeling accepted as part of a community may inspire hope in an individual. Hope, in turn, can lead to a more positive mental well-being that encourages a positive outlook.
Hope and Community
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that “recovery emerges from hope” and lists “hope” as one of the guiding principles of recovery. Hope can be indicative of a person’s motivation and behavior toward the recovery process. The positive perception that is exhibited is then adopted and internalized by members of the community, perhaps by those supportive of an individual’s recovery.
According to a 2018 study on the “Relationship of hope, sense of community, and quality of life” published in the Journal of Community Psychology, “hope and sense of community were predictors of quality of life for individuals living in recovery homes” and highlighted how individual and circumstantial characteristics could influence recovery.
Whether it be a medical staff member or a close confidant that you trust, establishing connections with other people can enhance positive thinking and improve the likelihood of prolonged success in sobriety, both from within the person and their community.
Risk Factors With Isolation
Taking time for yourself is not an uncommon practice; it may be considered part of self-care. However, overindulging in isolation can have serious risks. It is crucial to be aware of how much time you may be spending by yourself, especially if you notice it’s a common occurrence. Disappearing to regroup, recalibrate, and recharge may be considered positive traits associated with being alone. Over time, however, isolation can have many negative effects on the mind, body, and recovery process.
Isolation can “lead to increased substance use” based on the unavailability of certain factors that may have given people purpose or meaning. Boredom, anxiety, and loneliness can be prominent issues for persons with substance abuse disorders, as people start to crave substances that can help negate negative feelings.
Like many good things in life, moderation is the key when taking time for yourself. At the same time, it’s important to maintain contact with others in order to boost morale; who you are associating with plays just as critical a role.
Location and Environment
The location that those on the recovery path choose as their own requires careful calculation. A toxic environment will usually only breed more toxicity. It’s important to choose someplace that will be conducive to your goals.
A change of scenery, people, and outlook can encourage starting anew. Clients may consider a sober living facility to help guarantee that those around them are seemingly on the same road to recovery. Being around like-minded individuals can strengthen the community and boost spirits, helping guide people in the direction they feel they should be going.
To decrease the likelihood of relapse, those with substance abuse disorders (SUDs) should try to make their environment reflect their recovery. The presence of drugs, alcohol, and related paraphernalia runs the risk of negatively influencing someone in recovery.
You Are the Company You Keep
As with the substances themselves, those trying to stay sober should also avoid interacting with people who are concurrently suffering from SUDs. Staying away from certain people can be difficult, especially during the early stages of recovery; however, you should limit contact with people who may create situations that encourage substance use.
Successful attempts at sobriety tend to lead with a recovery or treatment plan at the forefront. If someone poses a threat to a goal you are trying to achieve, it may be time to reevaluate the relationship.
Sobriety in Solitude May Not Be the Way
You may feel inclined to follow a substance-free path on your own in order to prevent possible embarrassment, judgment, and/or hindering other people’s lives. However, encouragement, understanding, and various resources may be available to you by being vulnerable enough, to be honest about your situation.
Having a support system may make the recovery process easier. In times of need, having someone to turn to can help prevent relapse and harmful desires to use. Family, friends, therapists, or a treatment team can all act as support group members – as long as they align with what is best for a sober you.
Once you decide to get sober, the community surrounding you should reflect your recovery plans. You should be aware of the people they associate with, especially if those people prove to be an obstacle in your endeavors. A sense of community can enable people to be more hopeful, increasing the likelihood of a positive outlook on a sober life. At Vanity Wellness Center, we strive to be active in our local community, both internally and externally. We offer community group and social skills treatment to endow clients with techniques that can help foster communication. Clients should be able to recognize their position within their environment and consider what they can do to help strengthen themselves and others. Let us be part of your community and give you the life skills to help you grow. Don’t be a stranger; call (866) 587-1737.
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