Humans are social creatures. The interactions people have with others will greatly influence how they view themselves and the world around them. Those who are attempting to escape addiction will require positive social support to increase their chances of success. Without such support, it will be difficult for these individuals to make the necessary life changes required for lasting sobriety. The availability of a good social network is particularly vital during the early months of recovery.
Social support may be described as comprising of 4 elements:
* Physical support could include such things as financial help or assistance to complete a task.
* Emotional support can involve just listening or providing a shoulder to cry on.
* The information provision function involves providing knowledge that the individual can use when making decisions.
* Feedback is when the social group provides an appraisal of the individual’s behavior.
The social group can also have an impact on the individual’s self-esteem. There can be a great sense of loyalty towards this group as they provide such useful functions.
Social support can be of a positive or negative type. Those individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may belong to a social network that promotes such abuse. This group may view intoxication as desirable behavior and see abstinence as deviant. If one of the members of such a group decides to move away from substance abuse, it can be viewed as threatening. Not only might these people not offer support to the individual attempting to escape addiction, but they could also do their best to sabotage such efforts.
A positive social support network can greatly increase the chances of an individual making a lasting recovery from addiction. Such a network may be made up of friends and family, or it could include membership with an addiction support group. These people will be able to offer emotional support, feedback, and advice. They might also be able to offer physical assistance such as helping the individual find a job. The early days of sobriety can be a challenge, but the availability of such a social network can make a difference.
There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the idea that positive social support is important for those hoping to escape addiction. It has also been backed up by more scientific studies which attempted to look more closely at the impact a social network will have on an individual’s behavior. One study found that positive social support was an indicator for living a healthy lifestyle. Another study by the University of Connecticut Health Center found evidence for the claim that changing the alcoholic’s social network to a more positive one can increase their chances of remaining sober.
Research has also been conducted into the dangers of negative social support. The State University of New Jersey concluded in their study that those individuals who belonged to a social group that encouraged heavy drinking were less likely to find success in recovery. It has also been suggested that drunk driving is more likely to occur when [individuals belong to a group that condones such behavior] http://www.emaxhealth.com/24/10547.html).
Relapse is the biggest threat for anyone who has entered recovery from addiction. If the individual returns to their former habits, there is no guarantee that they will ever break free again. Some addicts only get one chance at getting better, so it is vital that they make the most of their recovery. The availability of positive social support can make a difference.
People who are new to sobriety can feel isolated. Former social acquaintances may be involved in substance abuse, so continuing to spend time with these individuals would be dangerous. Substance abuse can also mean that the person is estranged from their family, so they really have no one to turn to. Those who try to handle recovery without effective support will be reducing their chances to success. There are, however, a number of options available for anyone looking for positive social support during the early months of recovery and beyond.
The most well known of all the support groups is Alcoholics Anonymous. This group not only offers emotional support, but also provides a program of action that the person in recovery can follow to reduce the risk of relapse. As well as regular meetings, the members are also encouraged to attend social functions such as conventions and dances organized by the group.
There are people who do not feel suited to 12 step programs such as AA. Those individuals may benefit from any of the numerous other groups which offer similar positive social support. Those who are turned off by the religious aspects of AA might feel more at home with Rational Recovery. There are also independent groups organized by different rehabs for ex-clients to attend.
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