Recovery can be a long road to walk, especially if you do it alone. Unfortunately, social isolation is a common characteristic of addiction, but it doesn’t have to be a part of recovery.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers found that connections with social groups help in the transition away from addiction and in creating a new social identity in recovery. These tips can be helpful for treatment planners, family and friends, and especially for those in recovery:
Recovery is more than just quitting
An important step in addiction recovery is ceasing to abuse the substance or behavior. But this is rarely enough to ensure improvement and long-term recovery. The study found that “social relationships have been shown to have significant impacts upon health through behavioral, psychological, and physiological pathways.”
An addiction is not an identity
It can be difficult to know who you are when it can often feel like your addiction defines you. Being a part of a group can help you find a new identity. The 12-step program can help you identify as a “recovering addict” and this has been shown to increase feelings of belonging and support. This can help you connect to others who are also recovering.
You are not just a “recovering addict”
While this may be an important identity for you, being a member of multiple groups can lead to a healthy and balanced social identity, an identity that will take you beyond recovery.
The results of the study “also underscore the importance of social network diversity in recovery, indicating that it is important to foster connections with a range of groups beyond those solely associated with recovery.” Maintain connections with family and friends. Go to support groups. Join a softball team. Start a book club. Get involved and find your identity in recovery.
Alleva is an EMR that puts people first. As part of the addiction recovery social circle, we are committed to connecting treatment centers and patients and helping them stay connected by providing the right tools for long-term recovery.