As human beings, we thrive on connection, love, and community. We need people around us who can make us feel loved and cared for – and when it comes to addiction recovery, we really need people who can uplift us in tackling some of the most challenging moments of our lives. Recovery is about healing, restoration, self-growth, becoming stronger and most of all, developing the tools we need to live happier and healthier. Whether you’ve just begun your recovery path or you’ve been working on recovery for several years now, there’s one major denominator that always stays the same: the importance of social support for every phase of your life.
Defining Social Support and Why It’s Important
Last year, writer Kendra Cherry wrote for Very Well Mind – a website that publishes information related to social, behavioral, cognitive, developmental psychology and more. She expressed the importance of having people around us to lift us up not only when we’re incredibly stressed or depressed, but also people who will celebrate the victories with us – big and small – when the time comes. Psychologists frequently talk about the need for social support, yet many Americans feel isolated.
Poor social connections have been linked to depression, anxiety, death by suicide, alcohol use, cardiovascular disease and so much more – and even having the “wrong” kind of social connections can yield some pretty negative consequences on a person’s mind, body, and spirit. She defines social support as, “The psychological and material resources provided by a social network to help individuals cope with stress.”
Kendra notes that there are several types of social support, all of which have considerable importance in our daily lives:
- Emotional support – these individuals are there when you need them. They are essentially your “shoulder to cry on”. They’re also the people who get excited for you when things go very well.
- Instrumental support – these individuals take care of your physical needs and offer a helping hand when you need it. In recovery, this may be a family member bringing you some clothes, a friend giving you a car ride if you need one, etc.
- Informational support – this person provides guidance, mentoring, advice and knowledge. Their support may be needed when you are about to make a huge change in your life, and they may help you feel less anxious in moving forward.
If you were to assess your social support network right now, would you say that you have a good mixture of these? All types can help us in situations when we may not know where to turn to or what to do, and they help us navigate the twists and turns of life.
It’s Not Just Having These Connections, It’s Building Them
Social support isn’t just about being able to “name” or “list” people who do things for us every now and then – it’s also about building thriving connections. By actively working towards building close relationships, we’ll experience a number of benefits, such as:
- We may feel more encouraged to take part in healthy activities that will aid our addiction recovery
- We may find healthier ways to cope with stress when it arises
- We may find that we’re more strongly motivated to accomplish our goals – not only because we have people who believe in us, but also because we have people who depend on us to follow through what we say we’re going to do
The best part about social support is that it can be built virtually anywhere. Even in your treatment program, you can build connections with your treatment team, your therapist and others in your program. It should feel great knowing that there are plenty of opportunities – and even if you consider yourself a bit shy or nervous, there will likely be other people who are nervous to build connections, too.
Healthy Place, a website that talks about a variety of health conditions, notes that addiction recovery is time to really connect with people and realize that you’re absolutely not alone in the trials and tribulations you’ve gone through. Yes, there are different scenes, people or circumstances that may differ from yours – but the underlying emotions, such as anger, fear, isolation, anxiety, depression and more can be found as a running thread through everyone’s stories.
Seek Help Today
If you’re ready to make some transformational changes in your life, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today. It’s never too late to pursue greater happiness and health.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 844-857-5992 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you – it’s never too late to begin taking steps towards a happier, healthier life.