Completing and leaving treatment is among the more bittersweet experiences in the life of a person that has recovered from substance use disorder. While there is a sense of accomplishment and pride coupled with a new sense of hope, it also feels daunting and surreal.
After years of suffering from the symptoms of substance use disorders, many experienced a radical alteration to their perspective and the way they connect to the world. While in treatment a new normal begins to develop, only to then shift back out into the old normal with the new thinking. Upon returning home, many immediately seek to build a sober support network and bring the changes from within treatment to their home.
Depending on the area a person lives in, the volume of 12-Step meetings and sober social activities, and committees to hop in and be a part of can feel intimidating, especially for a person that is only just starting to get comfortable with themselves. If a start is made, sometimes finding your place in a program of recovery is just what’s needed to have the courage to step into a new manner of life.
The Quest for Meaningful Meetings
12-Step meetings are often one of the main threads that keep your program of recovery. They help people find a sense of community and keep them focused on the solution to the problem that has been a substance use disorder. Average to large-sized towns usually offer dozens of meetings with many varieties of format on any given day. There are computer and phone applications that can help those in the recovery community with a list of meetings and along with the details about them and their locations. 12-Step programs might also have a local office where you can pick up literature and copies of the local meeting schedule.
Begin by simply trying out different meetings. There are so many kinds of meetings: everything from meetings for just women or men, meetings for younger members, meetings where the literature is discussed, and meetings that start the day off bright and early. In these meetings a person can discover some of the specific ways that they hear the message of recovery best.
Perhaps it’s easier to share vulnerably if there are only members of the same sex in the meeting, or maybe someone’s a night owl and meetings that take place and 10 or 11 at night can best keep their focus. This is an opportunity to not only stretch and grow one’s recovery but also to meet like-minded people from within the program. Making friends as an adult is an entirely new experience for many, and for those in recovery friends that also choose a life of sobriety are priceless to connect to. Meetings are a great chance to begin making these connections.
Service Provides Many Purposes
In 12-Step recovery, it’s commonly believed that the root of the struggle faced by those with substance use disorders is selfish and self-centered thinking. It’s repeatedly suggested that being of service to others is the key to overcoming this character defect and living a more happy and purposeful life. It can be especially beneficial to be of service to the 12-Step program itself since most are self-supporting and function largely with only member contributions of both time and money.
12-Step groups committees are often formed in order to help serve specific areas of the program by throwing sober events and conferences, reaching out to people that are new to recovery or struggling to get sober, and outreaching to the community. This is another way to connect to others in the program and help build a new structure for a life in recovery.
Service committees generally serve specific groups, much like certain meetings. Women’s committees focus on the female in recovery, young people’s committees seek to reach out to the young and young at heart, and there are even committees that focus their efforts on expanding and updating literature or archived materials. There are groups that work to outreach to specific ethnic groups in order to bridge any gaps in accessibility for potential members.
As a person in recovery learns to live authentically and with passion, they might find that doing their part to help get members of a certain group find recovery is dear to them, and these service committees help provide a method of doing so. Within these committees, special friendships and relationships are regularly found in the shared enthusiasm for the cause they serve.
Shifted Priorities Shift Perspective
Upon returning home from treatment, those in recovery generally find that their lives need to undergo someone of a restructuring. This is because once recovery is found, it becomes a vital priority in an individual’s life. An understanding develops that without a program of recovery, all other priorities are at the mercy of a substance use disorder.
This shift of focus can make life look very different over time. New friends enter and some move into the periphery and free time is spent in new ways that provide for a new type of life. Finding your place in recovery is a process and sometimes simply takes trial and error. There is infinite room for growth and contentment for those who choose to seek it out.
Reintegrating into regular life during recovery takes great strength and we are here to help you navigate this new world. Ashley Addiction Treatment believes that connection is the key to recovery, with treatment options focused on holistic, integrated, and compassionate care. Ashley will work to find a strong aftercare program that helps you stay connected and supported in recovery. If you would like to speak to someone about our care options, please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.