07 Aug How Do I Find Community Programs That Will Support My Recovery?
Once you complete treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), local community resources can become vital to the next step in your recovery. Community programs that offer a safe space for individuals in recovery can be crucial in sustaining sobriety, creating a support system, and keeping yourself accountable. However, it can be challenging to find and access these resources. You’re focused on transitioning back into normal life, getting back to work, and staying on the straight and narrow. There are often opportunities in your community that you might not be aware of that could be beneficial to you.
Finding Appropriate Resources
There are many resources you can use to further your sense of community, including the following.
These types of events can be helpful outlets for people in recovery and are often easy to find in your local community. They can include art fairs, galleries, art classes, or more informal learning experiences where you get to take home what you make.
Many communities will hold these events in outdoor spaces, especially during the warmer months. Local art events are open to everyone and often draw a diverse crowd where you can mingle and create social connections, which can be important in recovery from substance abuse.
Art itself is also a beneficial medium. Viewing and appreciating works of art can help reduce stress, inspire you, or make you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. Creating art can be an outlet for expressing emotions, including trauma and pain associated with addiction. By creating or viewing art in a communal space with others, you can connect with the people around you and find support in them.
Peer support groups, such as 12-Step programs, can be a powerful tool for recovery. The goal of a 12-Step program is to help you maintain sobriety with the help of a supportive community. It offers a unique approach to the Twelve Steps that a person has to go through to complete the program.
The idea behind this is to give individuals the opportunity to willingly surrender their addiction and process it fully. This is a proven approach to maintaining long-term sobriety and wellness. 12-Step programs include programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which can be accessed anywhere in the United States.
Helping others has sometimes been said to be “the opposite of active addiction.” It’s one way to practice empathy, compassion, and total selflessness. Overall, volunteering is shown to be helpful in battling many mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety. It is a multi-beneficial practice for those in addiction recovery. Some more benefits include the following:
- Keeps you focused on recovery
- Helps you manage your time
- Improves self-esteem
- Helps you forge connections with others
- Strengthens your community
- Teaches you new skills
- Gives you a sense of purpose
You can often find volunteer opportunities through programs you might already attend, such as support groups and AA or NA. There are also volunteer opportunities all around you through organizations like Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross, and Feeding America. Personal efforts to help others can be taken up as well. Even simple acts like picking up litter in the local park can offer these benefits.
Benefits of Creating an Aftercare Plan Upon Leaving Treatment
The terms “continuing care” and “aftercare” refer to the period after intensive treatment for SUD. You may have been in a residential treatment facility or a partial hospitalization program (PHP), and now you’re ready to transition back into everyday life. Aftercare plans are designed to help you do just that. They provide you with resources and schedules to keep you on the road of maintained sobriety.
Life after treatment will undoubtedly be different from your life before. It has to be, or you will go back to old patterns. In order to maintain good mental and physical health, along with your sobriety, a plan of action may be necessary. You may need help finding the right support groups, recovery programs, social events, and other community resources. An aftercare plan can provide all of this, along with a built-in support system that keeps you accountable.
After receiving treatment through a outpatient service, PHP, or sober living homes (SLH), people are encouraged to move back to an independent environment. An individualized treatment plan may include resources such as:
- Trauma-informed care
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy skills (DBT SKILLS)
- Mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (MBCBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Motivational interviewing (MI)
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family program