Support Networks in Recovery: Unlimited Two-way Channels

Experience has clearly proven the value of a solid support network in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.  For all those involved in programs of recovery nothing is more important than open exchange of information among those sharing in the challenges of substance abuse. Discussions of life’s daily problems, conflict in feelings that sometimes erupt and “just letting it all out” are common bonds that must be shared.

Those engaged in recovery as members of A.A. or N.A. need to reach out to others and in consequence be open to exchanges in every way possible.  The old adage: “I’d rather do it myself,” is a dangerous path to follow when drug or alcohol dependency is the topic.  Long term recovery improves through working the program with others.  Being part of a “fellowship” helps keep members on course and its very structure is built on the concept of free and open discussion.  “Unmanageable and powerless” conditions in living can’t be tolerated over long periods and knowing others have regained control is critical.  How they achieved that goal is even more important and communication is the key ingredient!

Included in the communication mix are telephones and personal computers.  They are tools which allow us to reach out, ask for help and extend help to others.  They also provide immediate ways of handling daily confrontations, feelings of uncertainty and unexpected painful events that come and go.  These devices can be regarded as the AA or NA meeting place between contacts with sponsor or home group.  Reaching out to others allows us to break out of the isolation so often a symptom of addictions

One very popular tool is the phone list.  These can be set up through meeting contacts or frequently such lists are available through treatment centers and AA/NA regional offices. Such lists are, of course, a natural way of acquiring new friends and building a new life.

It also pays to have a range of numbers to call since “getting through” can be a matter of vital importance to anyone who is just getting situated in a new environment.  It’s good to have “professional ties” particularly if one is recently out of treatment and the list might include a therapist or counselor that’s been particularly helpful and interested.  Doctors and therapists may be very busy but all are concerned with our well-being and appreciate contact with former clients or patients.

The telephone has proven a lifeline for countless recovering addicts and alcoholics. One recovering person talking with another has proven time and time again to be powerful in preventing the first drink or drug.  The secret is to make the call when the problem starts to present itself.  Rejection or a refusal to help can be avoided by clearing contacts in advance.  If a friend is prepared for possible calls and this is promptly established then an emergency will surely be given full attention. Keeping in touch by phone or computer are established traditions in 12-step programs they are vital links between members.

The Internet is also a vital recovery tool.  General information is available on many web sites and personal support can come promptly with instant messaging and chat programs among new friends. By going to meetings, using the phone and participating in social events members achieve strong support networks.  Soon members begin to trust and can rely on feedback to maintain their programs. There is no substitute for regular social contact and it’s why group meetings are so critically important. We communicate!

Nothing’s so bad a drink or drug won’t make it worse. First reach out to a friend in your program.