Making connections is important for everyone, but for those on their recovery journey, it is an integral part of achieving a sober lifestyle. Relationships that form in treatment are part of the journey of healing and serve as the first connections of a new life. Connection is critical to long-lasting recovery and can help in finding mentors further down the path. Those who have been in recovery longer may return the favor and become mentors. Connection means finding the motivation to stay sober with the help of others who are doing the same thing. Discovering the value in connection and why it is one of the best long-lasting recovery tools can greatly increase the success rate and enrich lives.
In Pursuit of Connection
Human and spiritual connections are fundamental needs. Operating from a place of love and being with people to develop connections builds the strongest supports. When people are connected, there is a sense that things are going well and no one feels alone or ostracized. A connection is all about social, physical, and emotional skills and can be developed in a variety of ways. Maintaining this connection helps build community and enhances relationships. Pursuing connections is important for people to develop the skills they need to succeed in recovery, build friendships to share hobbies and interests as well as receive emotional support.
Self-Connection as Self-Care
One of the best self-care practices is finding a connection to the self. When people connect to themselves, they can discover more about their own needs. Meeting one’s own needs is difficult because it means tapping into a place that was likely quiet in a substance use disorder. Self-care is about finding spiritual, financial, emotional, and physical resources to develop passions and vocational interests. With self-care through connectedness, people often gain more insight into how they got hurt and how they need to heal. Wholehearted connection to the inner self might come from seeking a higher power, seeking better values, beliefs, and asking what brings true, lasting happiness. Remaining present reduces negative thoughts, stress, and anxiety. Looking for and recognizing the smallest things to express gratitude over helps to keep a person in a positive and appreciative frame of mind. Emotional stability is one part of self-care, and also an important part of the bigger puzzle of recovery.
Other Connections That Matter
Connecting with other people matters more than most want to think. Sharing interests reinforces community support mechanisms making them stronger and more effective. Connection helps people reduce negative thinking, isolation, and develops bonds of friendship. The brain is involved in feelings of happiness, and endorphins increase in the brain through connection to other people and having a happy and stress-free life. Some of the other benefits of connecting to other people include:
- Longevity of life and finding more pleasure in it.
- Decreased inflammation and increased feelings of well-being.
- Fewer health problems.
- Reduced anxiety.
- Lower stress levels.
- Enhanced self-esteem.
People in recovery may also gain support in 12-Step groups or any of the other connection-focused therapies available that form from alumni programs or outside that experience. Finding people with similar goals can bring hope after a substance use disorder. Engaging conversations helps people learn to open up, and share their experiences which has healing effects. Though friendships may develop slowly, when they are approached with openness and compassion, their impact is immeasurable.
Higher Power of Hope
Seeking support from a higher power is not everyone’s cup of tea. It might be difficult for many reasons, but spirituality is a personal thing and doesn’t have to be religious. The more a person gives up control, the better off they will be in recovery. Regardless of whether they do a 12-Step program, many programs provide space to practice and openly integrate spirituality in some context into recovery. A connection to a higher power shows there is more to life than suffering, the past, and personal flaws. Learning to surrender each moment means letting go of the past, including old patterns of thinking, being, and behaving. Connection to something greater means the person is more motivated to connect with this outside source and be reminded of this bond when they struggle. In other words, it becomes an internalized structure to help them fight off cravings, triggers, and toxic situations.
Connection as Healing
A connection with friends, loved ones, and the self is part of the healing journey of recovery. Relearning how to do this is part of the experience of finding life again after a substance use disorder. With intention comes healing, with the change, comes transformation into a better self. Healing through personal connection can be self-perpetuating and grow organically to include entire groups of people whose differences melt away as they support each other. These strong bonds empower those in recovery to find hope and true peace on the path ahead. Connections are the linchpins that help make it possible and are a goal that has endless positive returns.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.