Many people have the misconception that once you or your loved one completes treatment, they go back to the regular lives they were living prior to getting clean and sober. While part of that may be true, apart from returning to your job or your hometown (if it won’t compromise your sobriety), a big part of maintaining your sobriety is being a part of a recovery community.
So what exactly is a recovery community? Lexie Leehan, CRC is Lakeview Health’s aftercare and alumni supervisor in Jacksonville, Florida. She is a big supporter of recovery communities and is very active in hers. She describes a recovery community as “a strong network of people brought together by a common goal: sobriety.” This network could include 12 Step-based groups, religious recovery groups, substance abuse treatment facilities, and non-recovery based advocacy.
Lexie understands it might not be easy for many people coming out of treatment to find a recovery community for several reasons, but mostly because it can be intimidating since recovering addicts’ social skills need to be rebuilt in early sobriety. A lot of addicts use alcohol and drugs to help calm their social anxiety. When those things are removed from the equation, they’re left feeling vulnerable. This is why building relationships in recovery communities is so crucial.
The individuals in recovery communities have all felt that vulnerability before and can understand what someone in early sobriety is going through. Most people tend to overthink getting involved in a community, but being a part of one doesn’t require anything formal – all it requires is willingness to stay sober and reach out when you’re struggling.
Lexie came from a small town where recovery resources were limited, which made is difficult to stay sober. Once she relocated and discovered the incredible recovery community in Jacksonville, it was much easier to form relationships and take advantage of resources when she needed them. “I got a list of phone numbers of women in recovery and just started calling them. They invited me to meetings and introduced me to other people in recovery. Now those people are my friends and we support each other in recovery,” said Lexie.
The recovery community comes together based on the need in that area, and while some areas are much stronger than others, there is always potential for growing a small recovery community. All it takes is for one person to care and inspire others in order to build a foundation. Here are some resources to find what is available in your area:
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