At first, you’ll be in a state of neediness and find the support of your core group of friends and family invaluable. Along with normal needs, you will have new recovery needs. Assume your using acquaintances and even using friends will disappear.
Seven is a good number of people for a core support group. It’s good to be in contact with at least one person everyday. Early recovery is a time to affirm current positive friendships and renew old ones, especially people who understand recovery and with whom you can share feelings and talk through difficult situations. Very likely, during addiction, substances and behaviors replaced people, numbing your needs in an attempt to overcome personal pain. Now you will want to have supportive people around you to meet your emotional, social, and physical needs.
You and your accountability partner will support, encourage, and carefront (a loving type of confronting) each other about achieving tasks and goals. Your accountability partner may be the only one you can rely on for the truth. You both must be totally honest with each other.
Connecting With Others
In recovery, you will need to replace the friends with whom you practiced your addiction. With new friendships that support your recovery, you can begin to heal and learn how to be emotionally available. You’ll want to listen and open your heart to the needs, wants, and experiences of others. Ask questions, listen, and have a dialogue. Show your interest, understanding, and empathy through your response to them. Then share your experiences and pay attention to their feedback. Do they show interest and match your deep level of sharing?
Observe how people relate to each other. You may want to adopt some of their relational styles. If you still have trouble with relationships, pay attention to how you interact with others. Ask yourself why you shy away from relationships, and listen for the answers. It might be your fear of being embarrassed, ridiculed, or rejected. Choose to move past your negative feelings and take positive action.
Recovery is about change, which takes emotional energy. Feelings will need to be felt, understood, and dealt with. It’s important that you have friends who are understanding of your ups and downs, as emotional support is vital to your healthy development.
A buddy system is when a pact is made between addicts to help each other through recovery. This can be very valuable, but it can also be destructive. If using the buddy system, team up with a motivated person(s) you are connected to (non-sexually) in a personal or emotionally way. Be clear with each other about expectations and limits. Set up specific agreements for dealing with and responding to difficult situations, such as style differences, personal issues, and the possibility of relapsing.
You’ll benefit from a support group or fellowship to motivate you and provide you with healthy activities, especially when you’re easily triggered. Recovering communities (12-Step, your treatment program, a professional support group, or an Internet group) are some of the best social networking resources available to help you work through general and practical issues of addiction recovery. For example, you can take a person from a support group with you when you must attend an activity where triggers are expected, such as a food addict going to a restaurant or a drug addict visiting a neighborhood where drugs are easily available.