RCO: Positive for Maintaining Sobriety Within a Community

Suffering from addiction can be both emotionally and physically difficult. Admitting you need help is the first step.

Recovery is structured to help you make healthier friendships, gain tools needed to support a good career, as well as manage your own physical and mental wellbeing. However, even with all of these great changes, sometimes there are other pressing challenges outside of your control that can prevent you from making the best possible recovery.

For example, prejudices such as being defined by stigmas and stereotypes that create a ceiling for opportunities. This is why seeking an RCO, or Recovery Community Organization can be helpful in your journey to attain the best recovery support.


Getting Sober Is Just the Beginning 


  • Getting sober is only the beginning of the process, and while the patient might face some of the hardest challenges like withdrawal symptoms and emotional pain during this phase, staying sober is a lifelong challenge.


  • Research shows that perhaps the most crucial period of recovery is getting through that first year. An average of  40 to 60 percent of people who have been treated for addiction relapse within the first year. While it is still possible to relapse after years of sobriety, your chances to remain sober increase greatly after one year. 


Life Beyond a Rehab Center 

Further reasons why relapse occurs is based on whether or not a patient is in a safe environment. Rehab centers are the safest place you can be, so leaving can be difficult, to say the least.

The following provides some insight into rehab centers and how we can avoid relapse and stay sober upon leaving them:


  • Rehab centers are safe places that offer support in an environment free of temptation. A patient can become comfortable in this setting because they have a safety net. However, upon leaving, they re-enter into a world filled with triggers and the possibility of relapse.


  • Rehab can lend the tools to get started, but leaving this responsibility in the hands of the recovering patient can be intimidating if not overwhelming. Sometimes the patient is left to their own devices and that thought can be damaging. Not only can it become a lonely state of mind, but they might not have the self-confidence needed to make choices for themselves, even if it is positive.  


  • Leaving a rehab center can be hard because of the strong support system it provides. One of the things that a patient should be thinking about upon transitioning back into the world is having a good support system in place. Certainly, the world beholds more temptations that will encourage our weaker selves to indulge. One of the biggest challenges during recovery is being able to end toxic relationships that enable these impulses. These might be friends you used for money or got high or drunk with. They might be dealers you bought from, or they might even be family members with burgeoning anger over how many times you disappointed them in the past. Time can, of course, heal all wounds, but going right back into a life of temptation and grudges is detrimental when it comes to the recovery process. This is why a good support system is vital to maintain sobriety. While there are support options, more and more people suggest finding an RCO as a way to raise awareness and maintain long term sobriety. 


Beyond a Patient’s Control

Sometimes the success of our recovery is out of our hands. Due to certain stigmas and stereotypes surrounding addiction, a person might face certain prejudice when trying to acclimate back into society.

These kinds of beliefs surrounding addiction can cost a qualified person a job, just because they have struggled with addiction. Such prejudices can also affect our support systems, and even cause us to develop anxiety just by being a patron at places. 


RCO’s or Recovery Community Organizations 

In an article titled Defining Recovery Community Organizations by Phillip Valentine, William L. White, and Pat Taylor, they advise you to look for an RCO to help with your recovery


  • These organizations’ goals are to connect communities and their people that are navigating through the recovery process on various paths and timelines, and with various backgrounds, all in an attempt to create for them a positive support system.


  • RCO’s bridge addiction recovery centers with recovery communities. Valentine, White and, Taylor further explain that RCO’s strive to enhance the quality and quantity of support available to an addict on the road to recovery. They also strive for diversity of voices within these communities. These methods take into consideration that all communities are unique in their own way and that diversity further allows the given leader of each community group an accurate voice that represents all in their community. Since RCO’s are independent entities, they do not need to adhere to any conflicting interests from, say a parent organization. This allows a broader range of recovery support.  


A Breakdown

RCO’s are Non-profit organizations built by allies in the recovery community striving to:


  • Build strong grassroots in community organizations 
  • Advocate for representation 
  • Assess needs 
  • Educate the public 
  • Develop human fiscal resources 
  • Advocate for changes to policies 
  • Celebrate recovery
  • Provide good research surrounding recovery and how to maintain recovery (Valentine, White, Taylor, Recovery Comunity Organizations).  


Is an RCO a Good Option for Helping Maintain Sobriety? 

An RCO is a great option for those in need of long term recovery. In general, RCO’s are great for the community in that they help it expand.

An RCO can also break down the stereotypes surrounding sobriety by demonstrating the wellness of a patient in recovery. In addition to surrounding the patient with a fleet of strong allies, they also offer them a voice and equal opportunity rights too. Sometimes just being able to feel normal goes a long way in recovery. 


Strong Community

A strong community is important for everybody, even those not in need of fighting to maintain sobriety. Furthermore, every community should have a voice when accessing resources to help maintain the health and wellbeing of all residents. 


True Recovery believes in equal opportunities for all and it all begins with a strong community. For more information to see if your community supports RCO or general questions about community support groups, you can call us at (866) 399-6528.