How We Can Build Community After Recovery 

It’s always good for people in recovery to seek a community to be a part of. Building communities and forming connections is an integral part of coping with mental illness and structuring our lives after recovery. Finding friends we can depend on, having a support system, and interacting with our peers are all valid ways to cope with mental illness. The problem is that finding these communities or building your own can be incredibly difficult for a lot of us. Many of us may be introverts, which makes it hard for us to put ourselves out there and engage with new people. We may be afflicted with a mental condition that makes it hard for us to build connections. We could just be busy and don’t know how to find the time to go out in the world and meet people. Luckily, there are a lot of different ways to find these communities in natural ways, some of them from the comfort of our home. In our world of technology and innovation, it is easier than ever to find like-minded people for us to form bonds with. 

Start In Your Own Neighborhood

If you live in a neighborhood and have been wanting to create relationships with your neighbors, there are some simple ways to get started. First off, don’t be afraid to go outside. Something as simple as sitting on your porch while you relax at night is often enough. You can see your neighbors as they walk or drive by, and it creates a welcoming image for people to approach you. This is more difficult for people who live in an apartment complex, so if this is your situation, look out for community events. Most complexes will try to organize community events fairly often. While many of us probably feel some anxiety about such events, it could be an opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and meet new people. You don’t have to go for very long or commit to anything major. They are usually very casual events that allow you to come and go as you please. Showing up for a few minutes, enough to maybe meet a few new people, and then leaving, can be a significant first step in forming relationships. Most importantly, be respectful to your neighbors. Be mindful of your noise level, be aware of their property, and this respect can build a foundation from which a connection can grow. 

Start Within Your Comfort Zone

Of course, we may want to pursue a community outside of our immediate area. But it can be challenging to find the time and motivation to go out. Something that can help is to plan a time in your weekly schedule to attend social events. When you plan your week out, set aside time for a night with friends or go out to forge new friendships. For those of us who don’t want to go out, there are online platforms. Websites like Reddit or social media can, when used correctly and healthily, help you connect with people across the country or the world. Even playing online games can help with this. Find a group of people to play with, and you can forge new friendships without having to meet in-person. Of course, you absolutely should not use these kinds of bonds to replace one-on-one interactions. At the same time, they can still be a good source of community. The ability to actually talk over the internet can break down a lot of boundaries that come with texting or typing out a message. Again, don’t avoid in-person interactions to stay in and interact with people over your bandwidth. It is still essential to engage with people out in the world. Digital connection is just a small way to help with loneliness and build community.  

Get Creative & Explore Your Options

There are a lot of different ways for us to build community after we have left a treatment center. We can find the kind of people that mesh well with us and give us a sense of comfort and support. We can adjust to our own social issues or advantages, and find people to interact with. Don’t be afraid to go out into the world and be yourself. You are worthy of finding the right people to fill your life. We know that, and you know that, so don’t let yourself be lonely when you don’t have to!

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]