Nearly 20.2 million adults each year have a substance use disorder (SUD), which includes substance dependence or abuse. SUDs can cause a lot of dysfunction in daily life, including health problems and disabilities, failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, and home, as well as trouble in interpersonal relationships. If you’ve recently began treatment for an SUD, you may be wondering what will be most beneficial to your success in recovery. There are a lot of factors involved, including: working hard in your treatment program, abstaining from alcohol or drug use, attending all your meetings and therapy sessions, and more. In addition to these things, social support plays a key role. How so?
Previous research has shown that appropriate social support can limit the “trigger potential” that others who aren’t supportive may have, and adequate social support can also promote abstinence-specific self-efficacy, meaning that individuals feel more able to focus on their recovery when they have people around them supporting their recovery goals. Research has also shown that lower levels of perceived social support can influence one’s substance use rates, entry into treatment, and sobriety after treatment is complete. Establishing a healthy support system is crucial to overcoming boundaries in your recovery.
A 2017 study published in the Addictive Behaviors Report sought to understand the social networks among those with severe alcohol use disorder (AUD). Thirty-three individuals in their recovery process completed interviews, while the researchers analyzed these interviews for potential themes. Two main types of support were perceived by participants, amongst others:
Instrumental – people who have helped the person change their life for the better. One participant stated,
“My significant other kind of changed everything up. My bar went to sodas and Gatorades.”
Emotional – people who have provided love, support and given deeper meaning to that person’s life. One participant stated,
“…. I think…we’re made to love and be loved. And there, for a moment, I felt a little bit of love here that I’ve never had anywhere else.”
Participants listed many types of support, ranging from spiritual leaders to friends and family, to leaders in structured programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Overall, social support helped many participants to achieve a new lifestyle of sobriety while having people whom they could turn to in times of need. Altogether, this helped these individuals to feel less isolated and alone. You are not alone, either. There are many people who can become part of your support network. Begin creating this network today.
Therapy is a primary component of treatment for rehabilitation from a substance use disorder and/or mental health disorder. Attending treatment with certified clinicians and counselors is critical for a full recovery. At one of New Vista Behavioral Health’s treatment providers, you are receiving exceptional care, held to a higher standard. Our programs result in better outcomes, ensuring a better recovery. For information call us today: 888-316-3665.