Addiction professionals, loved ones, and others in recovery can help you on your way to long-term recovery.

Creating and maintaining a support system is critical for both the treatment and recovery process. You need a support system in place to guide you through treatment and help you remain sober. While many people can help you achieve a strong support system, there are three distinct groups of people that should be included: addiction professionals, your loved ones, and others in recovery. By combining science, experience, love, compassion, and empathy you can receive and give the support necessary for a sustained recovery.

Physicians, Nurses, Therapists, Counselors, and Coaches

Addiction professionals can provide a medically supervised and safe detox process. This is particularly important if you have severely abused drugs and/or alcohol. For those who have been abusing substances in large quantities or over prolonged periods of time, withdrawal, when not managed properly, can be incredibly difficult and sometimes fatal. After you have completed detox, you and your addiction professional team will develop a plan to address your substance abuse issues. Everyone’s exact plan is different, but they all have the same goal and require an experienced hand to guide you and your loved ones through the process. Your doctors and counselors will provide support by helping you identify the root causes of your addiction and show you tools to combat their negative influence. They will help you address your physical, emotional, and mental health so you can attain sobriety. They also have the knowledge, insight, and resources to keep your addiction at bay. Once you have successfully completed treatment, they remain part of your support system by helping you maintain your recovery.

Family and Friends

Your loved ones are equally important because they provide the love, warmth, and connection you need to remain sober. For many, those relationships are a primary source of motivation during and after treatment. As you go through treatment, you will begin to reconnect with your loved ones, giving and receiving support from one another. This reciprocity is incredibly important; it makes you feel good and strengthens the bonds you have. As the fog of addiction lifts, you can truly see how much you matter to your loved ones. After you have gone through treatment, you’ll be able to turn to your loved ones for support when you find yourself in a bad situation. Knowing that you are not adrift and alone in this world will help you avoid relapse.

Fellow Patients, Groups, Sponsors, Blogs, and even Celebrities

Others in recovery provide a unique perspective. Your stories may be different, but you share the same struggle. Someone who can truly empathize can make a huge difference when you are having a bad day. No one understands the pull of addiction better than someone who has also combated it. Again, being a mutual source of support is crucial. Some days you will need to draw upon the strength of others, but on other days, you will be the person providing support. It is a way to say thank you for this new chance and to reinforce the value of your journey. Finding something positive in a bad situation can make your struggles feel more worthwhile. Whether in a group counseling session, a 12-step meeting, a blog, or a tweet others in recovery will support your efforts to maintain your sobriety in distinct and meaningful ways.

While you are responsible for maintaining your recovery, part of being responsible is knowing when and who to ask for help. A strong support system makes a tremendous difference. Creating that support system with the help of professionals, loved ones, and others in recovery is an essential step. Maintaining that support system requires you not only to receive but also give support. By bolstering each other, you collectively reinforce the foundation of your sober and better life.