Alcoholism and addiction is, quite simply, the loneliest disease known to man. Often times our addiction leads us to nearly total solitude and withdrawal from social situations. What few “friends” we do have are usually simply using buddies, who would not be in the picture if the drugs or alcohol were to dry up.
Our families often want nothing to do with us, after repeatedly hurting them over the course of our addiction. Recovery, however, is the complete opposite of this picture. Most newcomers that attend their first few meetings are often blown away that people exist who are just like them yet have recovered. The feeling of loneliness slips away and is replaced with a support group that helps us achieve long-term sobriety.
“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics”
-Alcoholics Anonymous, page 89
A support group is simply a group of friends in recovery who we can rely on when times get tough, and who can also rely on us for the same. While our sponsor is a key part of our sobriety, they cannot be our only form of support. A support group is crucial for difficult times, in that we can make a particular problem we are going through aware to them so that we do not face the burden alone.
A support group is also crucial for accountability. If we start to slip away from the program, such as missing meetings, it is often our support group who will be the first to call us out on it. Finally, we will without question run into tricky situations while going about our normal lives, such as being offered alcohol at a work function, for example. It is times like these we may call our support group to help get through the situation.
Building a support group is often made quite easy through simple attendance at meetings. For those very new to the program, a “call list” is often made upon request. This is a list of all local meetings that is passed around the meeting so members can write their phone numbers down. Early on, this provides us with a temporary support group. Another way to build a support group is by joining a homegroup. A homegroup is simply a meeting in which you join, that you commit to attending each week.
Other homegroup members will often become integral to our support group. Also, we often inherit a support group once we chose a sponsor. Our sponsors, other sponsees, and friends often will make up a large part of our support group. Finally, alumni meetings at a treatment facility we attended will also provide a potential support group for those of us newly sober.
While most of us came to recovery only with the goal of achieving long-term sobriety, we obtained so much more than just that. One of the greatest blessings of the fellowship is the lifelong relationship we forge with our support group. In fact, some of our very best friends often become people we met in the rooms of recovery.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.