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Organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery have proliferated for one simple reason: trying to overcome addiction alone rarely works. This may be rephrased as overcoming addiction is much more effective when tackled collectively in groups.
Many people in recovery will tell you the power of the collective when it comes to sustaining addiction recovery. Many of these same people initially attempted to overcome addiction alone through sheer willpower only to fail again and again.
We feel it is important to highlight that your recovery will be strengthened when you engage with others who are also in recovery. Simply joining a group of people who do not understand addiction recovery is unlikely to assist you in your recovery goals.
When you are addicted to drugs and alcohol, you suffer alone in isolation. The very thought of sitting in a group with people who are now in recovery is one that’s likely to push up barriers for people who have not yet embraced their recovery. Attending such a ‘fellowship’ meeting may even seem like joining a cult. We urge you to get over these initial objections for the good of your recovery.
When you are addicted to substances, the only thing you really care about is where you are going to get your next hit from. Addicts are by their very nature selfish creatures. You will neglect your health, your family and anything else that gets in the way of your addiction. Hopefully, in time, you will realise that this really is no way to live your life.
This selfish state-of-mind means you are likely to lose many friends due to your addiction. It’s also likely that you will damage your relationship with your loved ones. It is also likely that you are not overly concerned by this state-of-affairs until you truly hit rock bottom.
Because your addiction isolates you away from friends and loved-ones, it’s also harder to reach out for help. You may initially tell yourself that willpower is all that’s need to help stop you from using substances, but willpower alone is rarely enough to help rebuild your life in recovery.
If you are utterly isolated because of your addiction, the quickest, easiest and cheapest (free) way to build up connections with others who are in recovery is to attend local Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery meetings. Here, you will connect with people who understand what you are going through.
These meetings are not attended by therapists and counsellors who have merely studied addiction. Instead, these meetings are attended by people who have actually fought addiction and succeeded.
Once your recovery is in motion, you are then encouraged to make amends with your friends and loved ones through the guidance of your local support group.
For instance, the 12-step programme practiced by AA and NA deals with this exact issue in steps 8 and 9:
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Following this guidance will help you rebuild bridges with friends and loved ones. Doing so may take time, but the effort will be well worth it in the long run. People you meet in mutual support groups will help you develop the love and understanding that’s required to rebuild your life as a recovering addict.
If you would like guidance on living your life in recovery, contact Rehab 4 Alcoholism today on 0800 111 4108 to speak to our helpline advisors in confidence. We assist in placing you into a suitable and local rehab clinic that will allow you to detox and rehabilitate in safety. You elected rehab clinic will also help you integrate into a local Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery group.
If you’re living with problematic or addictive substance use, at some point someone will mention counselling. You might have heard of it in relation to treating stress, mental health conditions, …