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Why Personal Connections are So Vital During Recovery

“I am a rock. I am an Island.” ~ lyrics from Simon & Garfunkel These lyrics from this classic Simon & Garfunkel song while musically beautiful do not apply to the life of a recovering alcoholic. In my experience, my recovery proved to me that not only am I not a rock or an island but when I try to do the hard things on my own, I fail.

Making Personal Connections that Have a Lasting Impact

Recovery from alcoholism is a difficult and often frightening road. The journey can take you to some very positive peaks – but also to some dark lows. Either way, you want to be sure that you are attending meetings, gaining sponsors (such as in AA), and in general creating support systems that will last you for a lifetime. Because that is the goal of recovery: to have sobriety that lasts for a lifetime. So what are some tools you can use to make that happen?

Meetings Make Personal Connections Easier

If you are like me, then making friends after acquiring sobriety is a very challenging task. It’s not like you can just walk up to a random person in the grocery store and say “hey, I’m an alcoholic who no longer drinks and is trying to make this wreck I call a life better”. That would (for obvious reasons) be incredibly awkward. That’s why choosing to be a part of a support system that has regular meetings can be greatly beneficial. Whether you’re talking about professional rehabilitation or the close-knit community like at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, getting together with other people who need a familiar face of sobriety can be vital to your recovery. For me, some days the choice to go to a meeting was the very thing that kept me from picking up another drink and diving headfirst back into a bottle.

Two A.M. Panics: Why Alcoholics Needs Sponsors

Sobriety brings with it its own set of rules. Craving a drink when the day was stressful – but not giving in to the urge. Walking past the bar that used to be your favorite haunt – but choosing to go to a meeting instead. Sitting in your house at two a.m. in a panic because you think everyone else is asleep – but all you can do is imagine taking a swig straight from the bottle. Having someone who faithfully sponsors you during your road to recovery is a critical component to staying the course. It needs to be a person you can call with that middle of the night freak outcall. Someone who isn’t going to judge you for your struggle, but who also going to pull any punches when a hard truth needs to be spoken. Sponsors are people who care about you enough to say the reasons you shouldn’t get a drink and remind you of the consequences of what could happen if you take one. Sponsors should be a mature, sober person who has boundaries that allow them to remain healthy yet compassion that lets them see what will help you best at the moment.

Support Systems are the Scaffolding to the Redesign of your Sober Life

Let’s face it: having a group of people you call your support system is going to prove a critically vital part of your journey toward permanent sobriety. They will influence and impact you by giving you positive feedback and encouraging real growth in you. A strong support system will give you a shoulder to lean on without becoming a crutch. Sometimes our support systems are family members. Other times, they are people we call friends (new and old) and there may even be professionals like counselors as a part of our support team. The important thing is that each person is there to encourage you in your recovery and to provide those personal connections that last through the changes ahead.