The Need for A Community
Peer Support Communities
While addiction can affect anybody, its effects are wholly unique and personal. However, that does not mean that each individual has to tackle their recovery on their own. Having a group for peer support can make a major difference in one’s recovery journey. Addiction affects people of all demographics.
Having a space to begin one’s recovery journey alongside like-minded peers who share in one’s professional occupation, age, or worldview can be a great boon to one’s recovery efforts. Finding a community of peers can be a challenge, and it is important to look at the communities available that best match one’s goals, values, and priorities to nurture an atmosphere of belonging and support from the beginning of an individual’s recovery journey.
How Addiction Creates Isolation
Addiction is a complex disease. However, while it causes a plethora of physical and mental effects that are cause for concern, it also carries social implications. Most predominantly, those suffering from the disease can find themselves feeling isolated from their family, friends, and coworkers.
For some, this can be a result of guilt. Shame, guilt, depression, and anxiety surrounding one’s use of drugs or alcohol can prompt an individual to push oneself away from friends and family to hide their use. Others may find that the depression caused by their use can make it extraordinarily difficult to motivate themselves to spend time with others in the first place.
It is even possible to isolate oneself physically and emotionally as an individual may only want to attend functions that would allow them to engage with these addictive substances. Even electing to stay home and drink if an event is not providing alcohol may occur, for example.
This isolation is a major hurdle in addiction recovery and can be further exacerbated by one’s professional position. High-ranking positions may feel additional stress as they are tasked with continuing to manage difficult situations without support.
Dealing with isolation is exceptionally difficult. Connecting with others is essential.
Having other people around is not a guarantee to recovery but it is beneficial to look to a place where peers share similar lifestyles or ambitions and garner support, understanding, and break through the walls of isolation.
Who Makes up Peers?
Each recovery group will be different, with each person bringing their own unique experiences, perspectives, and goals to the dialogue. Having peers who share similar stories and demographics can make the most important peers for one’s recovery. Looking at the ages and occupations of others in the group is a great way to determine how beneficial a group may be.
Those who hold high-pressure professional positions can have a unique perspective on their experiences with substance abuse that may not be shared by other people. The ability to surround oneself with like-minded and understanding people can be a great bridge to effective communication and support.
Peers to Guide Communication
It can be difficult to always verbalize how addiction has affected each person. Having peers who can understand the stresses of the professional workplace, or peers that also have children, can aid in this communication without having to constantly explain everything. A quiet air of understanding and acceptance can be a profound experience. Working to create this level of intimate communication can be the beginning of a powerful peer support network.
Goal-setting is a part of every stage in recovery. Having peers is essential in finding the right milestones for each individual’s recovery path. Peers who share similar personal goals can help scaffold ideas and strategies to work towards these personal ambitions.
Peers in similar professional positions throughout their recovery can accent pertinent professional goals and approaches for balancing their recovery with professional obligations. Being able to set similar goals means that groups can work more closely in creating effective strategies.
Keeping Each Other Accountable
While being able to set goals and share in pertinent strategies are powerful reasons to work with peer support in recovery, these people can also help keep one another accountable. Peers can be intimately aware of the unique challenges that one faces every day due to shared goals and similar experiences. This can lead to an inherent understanding of the difficulties, as well as a reason to keep each person accountable for their actions.
It can be easy to go back on one’s goals or modify them if there are not around sympathetic and understanding people who know of the challenges one faces. Having peers be closely involved in one’s recovery can help keep each member of the group accountable and pushing forward each day.