Early in recovery it’s important for individuals to develop and strengthen their sober social support network.
Social support can be a group or person an individual feels they can openly communicate about personal experiences.
A desirable person would be someone who may be able to offer trustworthy advice or has relatable experiences.
Who Should Be Part Of Your Social Network
1. Recovery Groups & Self Help Programs
Community based support programs and mutual aid groups are free and allow anyone to join who is struggling and wants to stop an undesired behavior.
2. Group Therapy
Led by therapists and trained counselors, group therapy draws on different techniques to help individuals recognize thinking and relational patterns, develop problem-solving skills, set goals, and discuss topics and concerns important to the group.
Beyond group therapy, aftercare and alumni groups promote healthy discussions while continuing to support recovery including looking at building trust in relationships, navigating new social circles and making new friends.
3. Individuals You Feel Open & Honest Sharing Recovery With
Social support is not just limited to formal recovery groups; it can be family members, loved ones, trained professionals, doctors, friends or colleagues. Anyone who an individual can truly feel open and honest in sharing their recovery with is a suitable social support.
Recovery can be a very uncomfortable and sensitive subject. Therefore, a person should seek supportive relationships that provide trust, compassion and confidentiality.
How To Build Your Social Network
1. Meeting New People
Take a class
Join a club or gym
Join a religious community
Participate in a local walk/run for a cause
Approach someone who is alone at a gathering and start a conversation
Participate in activities organized in your neighborhood like a farmers market, picnic in the park or trivia night
Put your phone away when you’re out around others - staring at a screen means it’s unlikely anyone will try to talk to you
2. Building Social Skills
Nonverbal communication style: Do you look approachable - smiling, direct but not intense eye contact, angling your body and face toward others you are talking to? Make your nonverbal messages friendly and approachable.
Have 1-2 open-ended questions ready: the best questions can’t be answered by “yes” or “no” and can get a conversation going
Work on listening skills: look at the person talking and allow them to finish without interrupting. Ask follow-up questions to show you’re interested in what they said.
3. Getting Closer To People You Already Know
Talk to one trustworthy person about your feelings.
Offer to listen to someone else’s problems, without jumping to advice (unless they directly ask)
Call or text someone you haven’t talked to in a while
Do something nice for a friend, roommate, or relative
If you or a loved one would like to know more about group therapy or need help for an addiction or alcohol problem, call us at: (630) 402-0144.