After completing a treatment program, one of the most important things we’ll want to do in our recovery is create a community for ourselves based on sobriety, mutual support and connection. While living with addiction, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, many of us grew accustomed to completely isolating ourselves from our loved ones, from our neighbors and friends, from the outside world. We retreated inward, into ourselves, afraid to disclose that we had a problem. Our isolation and shame prevented us from reaching out for support, even when we know our lives were at stake. Once we finally are able to move past this harmful pattern, we learn just how important community is for our well-being. We’re much more likely to succeed in our recovery when we have a community of like-minded people to lean on for support.

Changing our patterns of self-isolation means shedding the shame we carried within us that made us feel as though we weren’t good enough, that kept us hiding from the world, keeping our challenges a secret. Our addictions thrive on our fear, our avoidance and denial, our pride in refusing to seek help. Recovering from our addictions means making the choice to lift ourselves up, raise our energetic vibration and fill ourselves with the light of self-love and compassion. Recovery means deciding we deserve the support of a community that cares about us. We deserve to be nurtured and loved.

The relationships we formed while still actively embroiled in our addictions were often full of toxicity. We attracted other addicts, and we developed patterns of enabling each other and perpetuating each other’s self-destructiveness. Many of these relationships became damaged and estranged while we were using. We experienced years of conflict, turmoil and anxiety. We abused each other and allowed ourselves to be abused. While there will be some relationships we want to salvage moving into recovery, others we will want to distance ourselves from entirely. They can’t provide us the support, understanding and compassion we need in recovery. Our community has to be full of people who have our best interests at heart, who want to see us succeed. We want to be with people who are taking their healing seriously, and who are committed to their recovery.

We are deeply impacted by our relationships. We have to be mindful of whose energy we allow around us. We have to choose very carefully which relationships we want to be influencing us moving forward, especially when we are new to recovery and still very vulnerable. When consumed with our addictions, we were surrounded by energies of fear, dependence and unwellness. As much as we can, we want to shift the energy within and around us to one of positivity, transformation and redemption.  

We are all prone to experiencing challenging emotions when in recovery. We’ve only just begun the deep emotional work we’ll need to do in order to heal ourselves – examining our fears, assessing our thoughts and behaviors, analyzing our trauma. We’ll be changing habits and patterns, confronting recurring life issues, and repairing relationships. This is all pretty heavy stuff, and we’ll want to surround ourselves with people who understand, who can relate and empathize. We’ll want to be with other people who are also in recovery.

The community we create for ourselves might include friends we met while in a treatment program. They might be members of our recovery support group. We might live together in a sober living house, or receive the same after-care services. We often bond over our similar struggles living and recovering from addiction. For many of us, we feel as though we’ve found kindred spirits. We’ve stumbled upon soulmate connections that help us learn, that inspire and uplift us. Sometimes we feel as if we’ve known each other forever. We can build lifelong relationships that are mutually supportive with people who are working towards similar goals. We can motivate each other when we’re feeling self-doubt creep in. We can lift each other’s spirits and cheer each other up when we’re feeling overwhelmed and anxious. We can be each other’s rock when depression hits. We can coach each other through the pain and discomfort of addictive urges, and celebrate together when we overcome them.

Any successful endeavor benefits from having a strong team behind you. Recovery from our addictions is some of the most challenging work we’ll ever do. Choosing to stay true to ourselves and to be committed to our recovery is one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make. We are strengthened and empowered when we have the support of people who care about us. Our community can be our source of courage when we feel ourselves slipping. It can help remind us of our gifts when we’re feeling like a failure. It can encourage us to keep going when we desperately want to give up.

As you’re doing the emotional work of recovery, don’t forget to create a community for yourself to give you much needed love and support. You deserve it!

Established in 1939, High Watch is the world’s first 12-Step treatment center. Every individual who walks through our doors joins a definitive culture of compassion, dignity, and respect from a genuinely caring staff dedicated to seeing the disease of addiction find remission. Providing proven therapeutic approaches and comprehensive 12-Step education, patients leave High Watch with the confidence to maintain abstinence and live a healthy, happy, sober life. Start your journey today by calling 860.927.3772.