My Community Is My Recovery
Most of us are familiar with the saying, “It takes a village” and in our recovery, whether from addiction, grief or other life challenge, the truth of this wisdom is easy to see. By nature, we are communal creatures – we need the support and company of others. Even those of us that rank in the very introverted group – while not being chatty or desiring the “group thing”, we still need connection with others. I’m not likely the first to say that counseling, faith traditions and support organizations like Twelve Steps may not be for everybody. But if you think healing, recovery and growth happens in a vacuum, you’re dead wrong. You may be able to maintain it in the short run, but without a community of support the collapse of your recovery is already assured.
Our personal support system, however it’s makeup, is a strong determinant of how likely we are to succeed in our recovery – in the long run. Pastoral care from your faith tradition, counseling from a professional, support groups in the community…whatever you decide, it does not have to fit someone else’s definition. Pick what works for you. Just keep in mind the following:
1. It should meet regularly and involve both compassion and accountability.
2. In it’s members should be those who are supportive / nurturing AND those who will confront you and challenge you to grow beyond yourself.
3. The group should have established and upheld set of guidelines and ethics (ex. no dating/romantic relationships between members).
4. It should not be made of people who already know you from other roles in your life as this skews objectivity.
If the group you are looking at doesn’t have at least this, my strong suggestion is that you look elsewhere. There are too many people who have experienced a poorly managed support group and because of a negative experience therein they now refuse and avoid all group support options; even the many ones that could really help them.
Twelve Steppers have a great saying referring to the path of personal recovery; “…it’s easy if you are stupid”. This may seem a bit raw, but consider it a moment. Following a list of to-do’s, especially ones that may be uncomfortable at times, and then to adopt them as your life philosophy is no easy task. Most especially so if you have learned to challenge things you doubt or disagree with and to solve problems by pioneering forward and finding more efficient ways to accomplish your goals. These traits are helpful in many aspects of life – and often incredibly detrimental to a recovery path with any real substance or longevity. (and as many of you who have talked with me before or read my other articles already know…being sober/clean is not the same thing as being in recovery).
So from the very beginning try to remember, this is a process not a point that you are seeking. It is imperfect by design as we all are and there is beauty in that – just as there is in all of us. Be kind to yourself. Let go of “perfect”, it really has no place here. Being more accepting of ourselves as we work towards getting a little better everyday not only helps us, it makes us a little more accepting of the fallibility of others too. If anything can strengthen our personal support community and in it our recovery – this is a good place to start.
That’s for reading. I welcome your comments and opinions and hope you visit again.
Texas Recovery Support – My Community Is My Recovery