They say that if you want to make a change, spend time with those who have already achieved the change you want to make. Having a strong network of support filled with people who are either doing what you want to do, or who are working their way towards a similar goal, can be incredibly helpful. And this includes professionals who can also facilitate the life change you’re aiming for.
Typically, communities that a recovering addict might feel supportive in are those like Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-step meetings, SMART Recovery groups, and Moderation Management, where everyone involved is invested toward similar goals. In AA, for instance, everyone is aiming for sobriety. In Moderation Management, everyone is aiming for moderating their substance use so that it doesn’t harm their lives.
In addition to having such support, it’s helpful to have professionals that can further facilitate change. Because in addition to having new group of friends and peers, it’s also important to explore the types of thinking patterns and beliefs that might have started the drinking or drug use in the first place. For instance, the following are a list of professionals to include in your support network along with that person’s potential role in recovery.
Doctor – If you’re in recovery, then you likely met with a doctor during the detox or withdrawal phase. However, because addiction both a physical and psychological dependency, it’s important to stay in communication with a physician throughout the first five years of recovery. Of course, it’s a healthy choice to have a primary care physician regardless in case a concern arises. In the first few years of recovery you might also find that speaking with a doctor about your health concerns as it relates to your sobriety can be of great service to your recovery.
Psychiatrist – It’s common for those who experience addiction to also have a mental illness. Although this is not true for everyone, there are many men and women who experience depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or even forms of psychosis in addition to an addiction. For this reason, you may need a psychiatrist to prescribe you with medication that manages your psychiatric symptoms. Typically, you would see a psychiatrist about once per month.
Psychologist / Therapist – A psychiatrist typically is not someone who tends to your emotional and psychological processes. Instead, a psychiatrist only manages any psychotropic medication you’re taking. If you want a professional to assist you in exploring thought patterns, beliefs, and ideas that prevent you from getting healthy, then you may want to regularly see a therapist or psychologist.
Pastor – Some recovering addicts feel strongly about their faith and use their pastor as someone to turn to. In the Alcoholics Anonymous community there is an invitation to form a relationship with a higher power. For some, this means beginning to attend church services and building a relationship with a pastor. Although a pastor is not trained to provide psychotherapeutic services, he or she might provide religious or spiritual guidance.
Nutritionist – Alongside seeing a doctor, you might want to see a nutritionist in order to optimize your health and explore the ways that the addiction might have harmed your body. A nutritionist can help you make healthy food choices now to help heal the body from addiction.
These are a few different health professional you may want to include in your recovery. As mentioned early, having people in your life that have their eyes on the same goal can further facilitate the changes you want to make.
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