Many people now in addiction recovery have experienced the negative impacts of addiction, including the loss of friends or loved ones, loss of income, and loss of connections. These effects can be widespread and overwhelming for those struggling with addiction, which is why the support of a community can be even more impactful during the journey to recovery.
National Recovery Month not only recognizes those who chose the path to recovery, but also the loved ones supporting the recovery and the dedicated workers who provide the prevention, treatment, and recovery support services that help make recovery possible. Recovery is possible for anyone, and as healthcare professionals, we are often responsible for determining how to best support individuals in the recovery process.
Community can make all the difference in recovery and sober living. For those in recovery, support is not only beneficial, but a vital part of a successful journey to recovery. There are many ways that we as healthcare professionals can support the recovery process, and we can arm those affected by addiction with the same methods during National Recovery Month and beyond:
- 1. Support network: Bhelp those in recovery determine who is in their support network. Personal support systems can include family members, friends, coworkers, members of a support group and anyone else supporting the recovery process. Making the powerful decision to begin the journey to recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction can be life-changing for one’s future, and a solid support network during this time is a must.
- 2. Communication: check in often, from a place of support and care. It’s important to be mindful of where the person is in the process, and follow up along the way, not just during the beginning stages. This also helps support people to keep track of how those in recovery are coping.
- 3. Patience: help those in recovery recognize that recovery is a process — a marathon, not a sprint. Continuing care during the recovery process is key, as there is no “quick fix.” Be patient with the process. Like any journey in life, recovery is not always easy. It’s typically not a straightforward path. Recovery comes in stages — there will be challenging times, and may even be some setbacks along the way.
- 4. Be a resource: there are many tools and resources available for those in recovery, as well as their loved ones. Finding out what help is available is a great way for loved ones to connect and show care. Arming yourself with the tools to help loved ones start conversations about prevention, treatment and recovery is important. A great resource to share is https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery
- 5. Hope: no one is alone in the journey through recovery. People in recovery can ‘borrow’ the hope of others in their ability to get better when they can’t see that hope for themselves. There’s power in positive thinking as a group, and expressing those positive thoughts to someone who is deep in the trenches of recovery can really help them see the light at the end of a potentially long and difficult struggle.
Change is possible, and taking the path to recovery means changing the course of the future. Those in recovery need the support of their community as they navigate toward a healthier, happier life.