One of the most important things that a person in sobriety can do is build a support network for themselves. This is an integral part of recovery because getting sober on your own and then attempting to maintain that recovery by yourself is often times a losing proposition.
The reason for this is because addiction and alcoholism center in the mind and so attempting to expose the delusions and mental twists that come about from addiction by yourself can be impossible. Without outside sober supports, a person can very easily fall back into the self-justifications necessary to drink or use again and they can wind up in precarious situations without much effort.
However, with sober supports, a person who is attempting to get sober can rest on the collective wisdom and knowledge of those around them. They can bounce ideas off of their friends and in doing so, they can make better decisions for themselves and they can avoid harmful actions that could put their recovery at risk.
With that said, creating sober supports can initially feel very uncomfortable. Many people who come into recovery struggle with this initial step and without drugs or alcohol to lean on, they find that interacting socially can be an anxiety producing experience. They express how walking into a meeting and not knowing anyone made them feel extremely awkward and how asking their sponsor to take them through the Steps felt like they were asking them out on a date. This awkwardness and uncomfortability is enough to keep some people from truly finding the support network they need and so they bounce in and out of recovery without ever experiencing the wonders that recovery can bring.
This post is designed to help individuals who find it difficult to create a support network and to give them some tangible ways that they can go about doing this. So if you are struggling with finding your ‘We’ in recovery, try any of the following 7 methods for building sober supports and see if your life doesn’t change for the better.
7 Ways to Make Sober Supports
1. Put Yourself out There
This may seem like a no brainer, but it can very often be the most difficult step in creating relationships. In recovery, many times people who are struggling to create a support network, are struggling because they are not putting themselves out there. They may go to meetings, but they may get there right before the meeting starts, put their head down and avoid eye contact with anyone. They may be waiting for someone to come up to them, not realizing that in doing so, they are putting off a vibe that says please don’t talk to me. While sometimes you may have people come up and talk to you, it is best if you are looking for a support network to initiate the conversation and really put yourself out there.
2. Get a Sponsor
One of the best ways to create a support network is by having a sponsor. Not only is this an essential part of the recovery process but often times a sponsor is the first member of your support system. They are there to help you through early recovery, and they are there to help you through the Steps that will expel your obsession to use. Not to mention that if you hang out with your sponsor, you will more than likely be introduced to other sober people who have some time under their belt, which is always great to have in your support network.
3. Get a Commitment
If you find it difficult to approach people flat out and strike up a conversation with them, then having a commitment at a meeting is a good way to meet people. It will ensure that you attend the same meeting week after week, and it will allow people to get to know your name and face, which will make talking with them a lot less uncomfortable.
4. Go to Sober Living After Treatment
Many times you will make friends when you are in treatment, but unfortunately, many of them will not stay sober for a substantial period of time. However, those people who do attend a sober living environment after treatment have a better chance at sustained recovery, and living with them day in and day out will allow you to make friends easier. You will be able to tell if they are truly attempting to stay sober or just killing time, and so you will be able to make educated decisions about whom you invite into your sober support system.
5. Listen During Meetings
One of the best ways to build an effective support system is by listening to what people say in meetings. If you hear someone share about something you are currently struggling with, then they may be a good person to talk to. If you hear someone say something that you can truly relate to, then get their number and call them.
6. Participate in Extracurricular Recovery Events
A great thing about being sober is how many activities you will have access to. There is always some event going on, whether it is softball leagues, or dances, or some other function. Getting involved in one of these types of events is a great way to meet new people with the same interests as you and it can really help to bolster your support network.
7. Reconnect with Your Family
While your family may not be able to relate to what you are going through in recovery, they can still be an important part of your support system. For people who are getting sober at a younger age there is nothing like the comfort your parents can offer and since they know you intimately, you do not have to explain yourself in certain regards when you are reaching out for support. Having familial support can go a long way in helping to foster a successful recovery, so if possible, include them in your support network as much as you can.