My addiction was a lonely place. During active addiction, I simply didn’t want to be around other people. The guilt, shame, and remorse stemming from my addiction caused me to isolate, pushing away my friends and family lest they discover my secret. I developed a double life, acting like everything was fine when really my world was caving in around me. I lost romantic relationships, friendships, employment, family connections, and my sense of community. I didn’t want to go anywhere, do anything, be around anyone, unless those interactions helped me get or use more of my substances of choice. Near my bottom, I would spend days on end locked in my bedroom, anxious, paranoid, angry, and afraid. I was truly alone.
I found recovery the way many people do: I was desperate for something that would save my life. Substances weren’t working anymore, I was miserable all the time. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. I needed help. Luckily I found it, and it saved my life. They saved my life. They took me in. They trusted me when no one else did. They were patient with me. They understood me. They helped me. I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for my recovery community.
What is a recovery community?
Like any community, a recovery community is born out of a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. There are many crucial components of a recovery community, including recovery fellowships, recovery professionals, medical professionals, mental health specialists, rehabs, sober living facilities, and more. But a recovery community doesn’t have to be comprised of only people who focus on recovery from addiction. Recovery communities can also include church groups, book clubs, recreational sports leagues, gym buddies, tabletop gaming leagues, volunteer organizations, or… anything! As long as an activity or group of people is healthy, uplifting, and substance-free, it can be part of a recovery community.
Recovery fellowships: 12-step groups and more
There are many types of recovery fellowships out there. The most common forms of recovery fellowships are 12-step based like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, but there are dozens of 12-step groups geared towards non-substance-based addictions like Overeaters Anonymous, Sex and Love Anonymous, and more. There are also many non-12 step recovery fellowships like SMART recovery, SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety), Refuge Recovery, Road Recovery, and others. When it comes to recovery, there is no one right way to do it. We’re all looking for what works for us, so keep searching until you find the recovery fellowship that’s right for you.
Once you find the recovery fellowship that works for you, it’s time to get connected. Recovery fellowship meetings are the perfect place to “get back out there” by meeting, listening, and sharing with other people in recovery. There is no greater force in recovery than connecting with people in recovery and sharing in their experience, strength, and hope. There is a feeling of relief that comes from being around people who get it. People who make you feel like you are not alone.
Best of all, the help found in recovery fellowships is reciprocal. We all help each other just by being there. This reciprocal relationship of everyone helping one another is the foundation of the recovery fellowship community. By sharing in the journey of recovery, we learn from each other, help each other, and inspire each other to do better. We may be from different backgrounds, different neighborhoods, different walks of life, but we are all there for the same reason: to get better, one day at a time.
Find the right rehab with help from a sober coach or case manager
Just as with recovery fellowships, addiction treatment facilities and rehabs are not one-size-fits-all. Different organizations use different approaches and philosophies to help their clients build a foundation for long-term recovery. From state-run facilities to luxury rehabs, there are hundreds of treatment options available in every state, with prices ranging from the affordable to the astronomical.
With so many factors to consider, finding the right rehab can be overwhelming. Getting help from an experienced, unbiased professional helps take the guesswork out of choosing a rehab or treatment facility. For help navigating the features and benefits of the various treatment facilities and rehabs available, many people utilize the expertise of a sober coach, case manager, or other recovery professional. Recovery professionals have hands-on experience working with both clients and providers of recovery services, and have unique knowledge and insight into the world of addiction recovery.
Sober living: peer support at home
For some people, finding a safe place to live during early recovery can be a challenge. Families, spouses, roommates, and friends can bring triggering substances and behaviors home, putting people in early recovery in a very precarious predicament. For people who need a safe place to call home while they navigate the rigors of early recovery, there are sober livings.
Also known as sober houses, sober livings provide a safe, substance-free, supportive environment for people looking for a better way of life. Many sober livings are community-oriented, encouraging residents to build relationships and lasting bonds of friendship. By supporting each other through difficulties and triumphs alike, sober living residents are able to build trust and learn to ask for help when they need it most.
Best of all, sober living residents enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that no matter what, they’ll always be safe at home. A healthy, happy, safe, and sober home life gives sober living residents a break from the sometimes-overwhelming outside world, offering a chance to recharge, regroup, and seek advice and input from people who are on the same journey. This feeling of trust and serenity in a home-based recovery community creates a solid daily foundation, and encourages positive, enthusiastic, purpose-driven recovery.
Get outside the box
One of the biggest benefits of building a recovery community is finding true happiness through healthy, safe, and fun activities – activities that don’t revolve around substances. There are thousands of fulfilling hobbies that can have a tremendous benefit to sobriety, most of which have built-in communities to become a part of. Intramural sports leagues, gyms and workout classes, book clubs, cooking clubs, arts and crafts clubs, language classes, tabletop gaming groups, volunteer organizations, and more all have one thing in common: they are great places to connect with people and become part of something.
If you don’t already have a hobby, get one! Try something new. If you don’t like it, try something else. Keep trying things until you find something you love, and then DO IT. Remember, in addiction, our lives were almost over. In recovery, our lives are just beginning.
Finding your recovery community doesn’t happen overnight, so remember it’s ok to take things slow. For many people in early recovery, spending a lot of time around other people can feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. The important thing is to get out there and try. Try to make new friends. Try to find new ways to have fun. Try to connect. Try to build a new life. If you get discouraged, keep trying. You can do it. We can help.
— Anonymous for Avenues NYC Recovery Services and Sober Livings
For more information about Avenues NYC Recovery Services, our sober livings, case managers, recovery coaches, and more:
visit our website (https://www.avenuesnewyork.com/)
or call (917) 922-8184