The Importance of a Strong Support System in Recovery

support system in recovery

The Importance of a Strong Support System in Recovery

If you live with addiction, you understand that it affects all aspects of your life. It changes relationships, can damage your physical and mental health, and causes you to lose sight of goals that were once important to you. Getting treatment for addiction is a sign of strength. It is the first step towards a healthy life free of substance abuse.

Addiction treatment usually involves three important, progressive stages. First, medical detox allows your body to rid itself of toxins, including drugs and alcohol, and return to its natural state. Then, completing a treatment program allows you to get the medical and mental health care you need to overcome addiction. The final stage is aftercare, which involves taking steps to protect and support your sobriety while living your day-to-day life.

Addiction can not be cured, only managed. Life in recovery requires some planning and lots of support. In addition to staying active in therapy and medical care, having a support system in recovery is one of the most important things you can do to avoid a relapse. Understanding why this is important and how to do it can give you the best chance at forming the support network you need in your recovery from addiction.

Why is a Support System in Recovery Important?

A support system is about more than just having people to hang out with. It is a network of people who are committed to giving you the support you need to maintain sobriety. This support might be different from day to day depending on your needs. It might include:

  • Positive peer pressure: If you tend to go with the flow or are triggered by other people drinking or using drugs–and many people are–it’s important to have a group of people in your life who are sober. Spending time with people without the pressure to use or drink can be refreshing and feel supportive. Having people who actively push you to avoid your triggers is even better.
  • Emotional support: You will face challenges, setbacks, and triggers after completing addiction treatment. Your support network in recovery must include people you can call on when things get tough.
  • Non-judgmental listening: Find someone–or several people–who can offer you a non-judgmental place to share your true feelings. This might be a family member, a friend in recovery, or a therapist. You must have someone who can hear you without judgment or argument.

A support system might also include people in recovery who can offer you physical or financial support, too. Finding the right support network will take some thought and work, but it is an essential part of a successful, fulfilling life in recovery.

How to Develop a Support System in Recovery

Creating your support network in recovery might feel overwhelming. It’s an important job and it might feel a little uncomfortable asking someone to be part of your recovery in this way. This process doesn’t have to be stressful. When thinking about forming your support network, keep these tips in mind:

  • Reach out to people you got to know in treatment
  • Continue going to therapy or start
  • Attend 12-step meetings
  • Ask your treatment program for help finding local support groups
  • Re-connect with family and friends you lost touch with
  • Continue any holistic therapies (art, nature, recreation, music, yoga, meditation)
  • Connect with your local alumni group
  • Attend sober festivals or events
  • Look for local recovery Meetup groups
  • Connect with a sober living community

Reconnecting with people or forming new relationships can be difficult and take time. Be gentle with yourself and realistic about your expectations.

How Can I Support Someone In Recovery?

Supporting someone who lives with addiction can be challenging, but the impact you can have on a loved one or friend can be life-changing. There are some simple things you can do to support someone who is in recovery.

Learn about addiction

Take some time to learn the facts about addiction. The more you know about this condition, the more supportive you can be.

Give real-life help

Someone in recovery might need help getting back on their feet after treatment. They may need advice about finding work or childcare, assistance getting ready for job interviews, help with transportation or housing, or other aspects of daily life.


Your loved one or friend may want to talk about their feelings or challenges and will require someone who can be non-judgmental. Sometimes simply listening without offering advice is the most supportive thing you can do for someone.

There are many ways to be a part of someone’s support system in addiction recovery, and people may require different things at different times. By being available to them, you are giving them a valuable gift of support when they need it most.

Learn More About Addiction Recovery at the Florida Recovery Group

If you or someone you love requires addiction treatment or support in recovery, reach out to the staff at the Florida Recovery Group. We offer programs designed to give people the skills and support they need to overcome addiction and live the fulfilling lives they deserve. To talk to one of our admissions counselors, please call us today.