Caring and understanding supports play a vital role throughout each individual’s recovery journey. However, being an effective support takes skill, and there are a number of things for each individual to look for to find the best kind of support from their friends, family members, and loved ones.
Due to the massive impact that supports have on a person’s entire recovery journey, ensuring that each individual has the right support for them is crucial. However, while each support and relationship will be unique, there are some common traits shared by the most impactful of supportive individuals.
Supports Can Come From Anywhere
When setting up one’s supportive circle for recovery from addiction, mental health disorders, or trauma, it is important to keep an open mind about the various avenues in which supports may be made available. It is common for an individual in recovery to look to their immediate recovery peers, family members, and childhood friends as supports. However, it is important not to limit oneself to only these people.
Some of the most effective supports can come from unexpected places, such as friends made while participating in hobby groups like sports leagues or art classes. New workplace friends that one has met after completing their recovery program and rejoining the workforce is possible as well. Finding the most effective supports is about developing impactful relationships. There is no reason to unnecessarily restrict oneself to only one kind of support or relationship when creating these relationships and support networks.
Prioritize a Willingness to Listen
Supports can come with varying amounts of knowledge about addiction and recovery, and not all supports will necessarily understand the unique struggles and hardships of the recovery process. Sometimes, effective supports may need to learn about how addiction, trauma, or mental health disorders affect an individual before they can find the right words or support strategies. However, an individual’s level of knowledge surrounding addiction is less important than the willingness to listen, learn, and sympathize with one’s struggles.
A willingness to listen can mean avoiding making assumptions about an individual, allowing a person to speak uninterrupted during stressful times, or being patient when cravings are present. Some people may have a better inherent understanding of recovery. If they are unwilling to listen to the unique way that an individual has been affected by their experience, their goals, and ambitions, they may not make the most effective personal supports.
Being Emotionally and Physically Available
Being both emotionally and physically available is paramount to the development of a meaningful and supportive relationship. One’s emotional availability can be described as their ability and willingness to experience vulnerability. This grants the capacity for greater empathy, understanding, and the deepening of trust between individuals. Those who are emotionally unavailable may keep at a distance when it comes to sensitive topics. Given the highly emotional nature of recovery, having an individual who avoids the vulnerable and emotional aspects of the process may not best understand the important role that a support plays.
However, it is just as important to be physically available. While an individual may be emotionally available, if they are unable to be physically present during times of need, their level of effective support can be compromised. Having a pen pal or long-distance relationship can be great for one’s emotional support. However, supports who are physically available is necessary for the development of safe spaces, creating new traditions, breaking through isolation, and developing escape plans.
Exhibit an Openness to Change
The most effective supports will not just encourage an individual to pursue new interests, but will also show a willingness to change themselves. This can mean starting new hobbies alongside those in recovery through exploring new interests and ways of thinking. Being willing to relinquish past behaviors or traditions that may have unhealthy or stressful connotations that are not conducive to one’s newfound sobriety is vital as well.
Embracing this change can also mean being willing to address social dynamics within groups, including the definition of celebrations. Changing one’s environment to support one’s sobriety can be very impactful. This can include agreeing to not have alcohol in the house or to remove any items/decor that may be reminiscent of a past identity.
Present an Active Challenge
The most profound thing that a support can do is to actively challenge those in recovery. While being able to become a close and trusted friend is important, it is equally as important that a support is not blindly going along with whatever those in recovery are feeling.
Rather, the most effective supports will be able to disagree with certain decisions and use their education to help prioritize one’s sober goals. This can mean that supports may advise against going to a party and actively hold an individual accountable for all of their actions and responsibilities. Effective supports are there to provide a person with the support for a sober future. They act as a compass to help an individual focus on their own sobriety and personal goals on a daily basis.
Finding effective support members is essential for your recovery journey, and ensuring that supports are impactful and present can help each individual remain focused on their own recovery and healing. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we understand the critical role that supports play at each stage of the recovery process. We have designed our comfortable, home-like atmosphere to help you begin to create your new sober community. Your time with us can be fully personalized with individual and group therapy, art, writing, and even parenting and relapse prevention classes to help you continue to live a healthy life in sobriety. Our community is also designed to help each person push through the toughest of times on their journey while celebrating their successes at each milestone. For more information on how we can personalize your time with us or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 388-6925.