There has always been a great focus on ensuring that addicts entering and already in recovery build a solid foundation of support. Essentially, building a strong and broad support network for your journey in recovery helps to enhance and improve your new lifestyle. Support networks act like the scaffolding required to build a skyscraper, they aid you in your progression forward as you change your life and begin developing new routines and habits. Support networks are wide and varied and some of them can include the following elements:
- Mentor or Sponsor
- Primary Family
- Close Friends
- Life Coaches
- Counselling Services
- NA or AA Groups
The list above is not exhaustive and I'm sure you can probably think of other types of support to include in your own recovery program, but these are a great starting point for those new to recovery as well as those already established. Perhaps some of the best advice I was given in my early recovery from other experienced recovering addicts is that there is no one size fits all when it comes to creating and developing support networks for your journey. Many people find that concentrated efforts from a strong family or close friendship group can be an intensely empowering and reinforcing mechanism from which they can base their recovery. Others find comfort in regular group therapy environments such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) due to the team-based or collective understanding of where people have come from in their lives, what they have experienced and what they have learnt on their journey.
One of the other ways can you build a support system along your journey is by being active in your recovery by learning about what you have experienced, and also sharing your story, and talking with others and exchanging ideas and advice. A great source of my own support has come from engaging with other addicts and recovering addicts on specialist addiction forums and also online through social media platforms such as YouTube (courtesy of Ryan's tireless work on his channel). You can find a great sense of peace and fulfillment from giving back to others by sharing your addiction and recovery journey. One of the key factors as to why I believe this is therapeutic and supportive for your recovery process is because you keep yourself 'green', fresh and open to the power of addiction but also exposed to the beauty and world-changing possibilities that recovery has gifted you.
Remember, be open and willing to try different support systems for your own journey. It may involve a combination of all elements from the list above at the same or different times in your recovery. It may include you becoming active in community organizations which specialize in disaffected people struggling with addiction. Your story, your experiences, your recovery platform is a gift not just for yourself, but for others to be inspired and empowered from.