Addiction Recovery Is Impossible Without
Peer Support. Here's Why!
One of the best-known examples of peer support in addiction treatment is the Anonymous concept of addiction recovery. AA and NA have thousands of members worldwide and have been around for over 85 years.
Many people hail these organizations as the frontrunners in assisting addicts to find recovery.
So, if you're serious about sobriety, find out more about the importance of peer support in recovery and where you can find it.
What is Peer Support?
Peer support is almost the same as peer pressure, without the bad connotations. It's best described as two or more people with similar life issues or experiences learning how to overcome difficulties together.
Participants can share their challenges and triumphs either electronically or in-person. The aim is to provide encouragement and hope to others in the group.
Anyone can call on peer support to deal with life's challenges. Yet, it's especially important for those undergoing recovery from addiction.
The main importance of peer support in addiction recovery is that it helps those seeking recovery to view themselves as people, rather than patients in a vast, sometimes impersonal, medical system.
For some people, outpatient treatment works better to help them adopt a sober way of life in a familiar environment, bypassing the formalities of an inpatient institution.
Peer Supporters Set a Good Example
When you first stop abusing drugs and alcohol, all you can think of is the long road of deprivation that lies ahead. Members of a support group help you see past this grim view of your future.
People who've been in recovery for even a short while seem well-adjusted, healthy, and happy with their lot in life. The best part is, that these group members hail from all walks of life, so you're bound to find someone you can relate to.
As an addict, it's easy to understand that a life without drugs and alcohol is a better route, yet it's difficult to imagine what this means for you.
When you witness real-life evidence of how much better things can be after short-term abstinence, you can establish realistic goals for your own recovery.
You Gain a Sense of Purpose
Many addicts turn to drugs and alcohol to dampen their sense of alienation from the world and deep-rooted inferiority complexes. They long to feel like a part of something meaningful.
We can't understate the importance of peer recovery support in creating this sense of purpose. While participating in these groups you'll feel a sense of belonging.
Peer group members understand the way you think better than even your closest friends could. They have been through similar experiences in their sobriety journey and can offer useful, practical advice on how to push forward in yours.
When you take part by sharing your challenges and successes, you're helping others with their own problems. In this way, you're contributing towards someone else's recovery in a meaningful way.
By helping others, you help yourself achieve a sense of purpose and improved self-worth.
Peer Support Helps You Learn More About Yourself
When you're faced with a room full of people who think and react to life in the same way you do, you learn more about your own deep-seated motivations for the things you do.
Many peer supporters have come to grips with their own personality flaws and can recognize when these faults interfere with their reasoning. By sharing these instances in a group, they help others realize where they're going astray too.
For example, you could learn that your constant disappointments in life stem from your own habit of forming unrealistic expectations, rather than ongoing bad luck.
Support Groups Give You Something to Lose
The only way to maintain the friendship and camaraderie you enjoy within your peer support group is to show up.
Skipping meetings or going back to your old ways will erode the friendships you've formed and send you spiraling back into the abyss.
When you've got something to lose, you're more inclined to stay sober.
The Importance of Peer Social Support for Stress-Management
There are days in recovery when things go wrong. At these low points, you might feel like reaching for your old faithful crutch to keep you going.
If you mention these issues to family or friends, they simply won't understand.
During these times, when relapse is knocking on your door, you can reach out to your peer support group for help right away. They can advise how they've overcome this issue in the past.
This helps alleviate the stress of fighting the powerful forces of addiction on your own or the shame of discussing your cravings with someone who has no idea what you're dealing with.
In this way, peer support can save your sobriety and even your life, as long as you reach out when needed. That's why it's important to find a support group that you can relate to.
Unless you feel welcome and comfortable within the group, you're still on your own.
Get the Support You Need in Recovery
The support of family, colleagues, and friends is a vital part of one's recovery. Yet, you can't beat peer support if you're looking to talk to someone who's going through the same challenges as you are.
It's easy to find peer support groups near you. You can look them up online, contact your nearest branch of Anonymous, or call a local rehab center for advice. You could even start your own peer support group if you have the facilities to do so.
If you'd like more advice to guide you along your recovery journey, keep browsing our blog.
Our Health and Wellbeing pages offer plenty of advice on mental health issues and overcoming addiction.