If you’re a few months into your recovery, perhaps you’ve already gathered a network of support. Just by participating in treatment, you’ve likely got a therapist, psychiatrist, doctor, and drug counselor. And if you’re also attending 12-step meetings, then you’ve got a community of people as well as a sponsor. You might also have friends, family members, and other personal relationships that are supporting you. But what can you do to keep this system of support strong, so that it’s there for you if and when you need it? The following are suggestions for strengthening a support system and keeping it that way.
- Take good care of yourself. The truth is your first and highest priority is you. Keeping yourself well and stable must be your main focus. And you’ll find that when you do that more and more people will be there to support you. It might sound cold but people don’t have much patience with those who are not taking good care of themselves first. So it will be hard to keep people on your side if you’re not doing what you can to keep yourself clean and sober.
- Examine whether you have any bad habits that might get in the way of keeping relationships. People like to work with those who are polite, kind, and clean. If you tend to neglect your hygiene, have poor social habits, or if you’re downright rude, then it might be difficult to find and keep supporters.
- Don’t expect it to be one-sided. Although you’re aiming to build a network of people who can support you, don’t forget that you also have the capacity to support them. There’s a good chance that you’re not going to be in need 100% of the time. Instead, you’ll likely have opportunities where you can give and share and provide your support too. When there’s a sense of mutual support among people, everyone is more likely to get involved and lend a hand.
- Create a goal of having at least five people who support you. If you don’t already have a group of individuals who are there to support you, try to develop a few new friendships. You might make connections with those who are at your 12-step meetings or those who you are in group therapy with.
- Make a list of your supporters with their phone numbers. When you’re in need, anxious, or under stress, it’s hard to remember the names of your supporters and how to contact them. But if you have a list that’s easy to grab, you can quickly find the person you want to call. Not having this sort of list might only add more anxiety and even prevent getting any help when you need it. Staying organized with your supporters and their contact information can make it easy on you when you need it.
Having a support system is vital, especially in the early months of recovery. The above suggestions are ways to build and strengthen your support network, as well as keep it strong.
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