It can be overwhelming seeking support outside of your friends and family when you have an addiction. This is usually a significant step that needs to be made when you have multiple relapses; however, I see many people try to reassure themselves that this time it’s going to be different and not take this step.
They have their plan. It usually is a decent plan. We have worked on either a Wellness Action Plan, Crisis Plan, or Relapse Prevention Plan. In therapy we have also came up with wonderful “tools” to use in their daily maintenance and their “emergency kit”. We have practiced, role played, and brought in family and friends. But yet they’ll be another relapse. Another lie told. Another promise broken to self or others. They show back up sometimes beaten down, ashamed, and lower in spirit and energy. Or they’ll show up determined that this time will “be different” only to end up like the previous scenario eventually.
The piece that is missing is support outside of treatment, friends, and/or family. It is tapping into something positive that is larger than oneself. This could be in the form of a religion/faith. It could be in the form of AA/NA. I have seen people invest themselves into a close knit wellness communities, like with Rock Climbing or Yoga. I have seen folks begin to invest in service communities, like with Habit for Humanity, Urban Ministries, etc.. It doesn’t seem to really matter what it is as long as it has a higher principle and has other people to connect with. This step of participating with something outside of our individual community touches on the “spiritual” side that so many addictions counselors will talk about. It touches on this piece of us that is sometimes very difficult to conceptualize. People think they have to go to church or start praying. Although this could be a path for some, it doesn’t mean it has to be the path of all searching for that “higher power”. But one key element in this is the “investment”, the “participation” that makes it work. Just visiting a community or group is not enough. One must get involved so that an investment is made. This investment will bring returns though.