It may not seem like it, but anyone can build stronger connections with their fellow peers. Many times, a person in recovery may feel alone. This is especially true if they had finished addiction treatment and needed to remove toxic people who may encourage them to relapse. It's a difficult thing for anyone to do, as sometimes these people may be friends or family. But it's important to do, and you don't have to do so alone.
Mental health care treatment facilities like Pathways Wellness Center understand how important it is for these connections to be formed and maintained for long-lasting recovery. They teach their clients important life and social skills needed to navigate relationships. This helps someone not only find connections but form healthy ones. It can help prevent someone from forming toxic co-dependencies that can put their recovery at risk.
Luckily there are many things a person can do to build stronger connections, and it can even start during the treatment process.
The best way to build stronger connections is to interact with your peers. Peers are people that share similar life experiences with you. In society, most people tend to spend time with peers of the same age. Here in treatment, you can interact with peers who have experienced similar struggles to yourself. In several types of treatment programs, there are opportunities for clients to get this valuable interaction. Usually, this is done with group therapy, but often in residential treatment, you end up spending leisure time with fellow peers.
Because these peers are undergoing similar treatments or struggling with similar problems, it makes it easy to form a connection. It helps the other person understand that their problems are seen and validated. After all, it's hard to judge someone who has the same experiences as you. It makes it possible to share experiences, which helps an individual avoid mistakes that they may not have even considered.
Sometimes a treatment program will have programs that feature alumni or those who have “graduated” from treatment. For example, a person who finished treatment for substance use disorder (SUD) and now lives a sober life in recovery is considered an alumnus. These alumni can help those in treatment or fresh out of treatment find the resources they need to continue their path to recovery.
It's a wonderful thing to go through treatment because it shows someone just how much care and support they can receive from others. Many times, when someone finishes their treatment, they feel much better and confident about themselves. Some are content to just live their lives as fully as they can. Others may feel the need to take it a step further and give back to the community that had helped them. This can be used to build stronger connections with peers and members of your community.
Often this is done through the use of volunteer work. Volunteer work can mean many things, such as helping read to children at a library, cleaning up litter from a park, or helping mentor at-risk youth. However, for those who have completed their treatment, they may want to reach out to those who have struggled as they have. This is where peer networks and support groups come in.
Support groups are a group of people with similar experiences who meet to form companionship and share experiences. Sometimes you don't even need to start your support group, as some may exist already. Check with your local mental health care facility, hospital, community center, or library to find out if any support groups are currently meeting. You will find people who understand what you have gone through and can support you.
Not all connections have to form because of mutual struggle. Sometimes connections can form as a result of a hobby or shared interest. Joining clubs, participating in social hobbies, or just going to community events can be a way to find new friends and build stronger connections. With the advent of the internet, it's now easier than ever to find those who share similar interests to yourself. Once you start to participate, you may be surprised to find yourself making friends.
It's best to participate in hobbies that are social and easy to get into. Some hobbies can be expensive or are competitive by nature, so be sure you wish to participate before committing fully. Examples of easy hobbies that can build stronger connections with others are gardening, pets, arts/crafts, and board/roleplaying games.
Utilizing hobbies helps someone stay in recovery simply because it's fun and gives someone satisfaction. People find, especially after dealing with addiction, that participating in a hobby gives them more happiness and peace than they ever had using substances. You will find yourself thinking about how you'd rather use your money to buy more paint for your models than spend it on substances. These thoughts are small, but they grow over time until the thought of using is pushed away where it's rarely thought about.
If you have difficulties making friends or understanding social cues, look for a mental health care facility for help. Places like Pathways Wellness Center offer programs where they teach their clients the skills they need to participate in society. Anyone can have trouble making friends. Sometimes having a mental health professional guide you on how to improve your social skills can make a big difference.
Perhaps the number one way to build stronger connections is to reach out to others. Be kind and considerate to others. Let them know that you see that they are struggling and that you believe in their strength. Spreading this goodness around not only helps you build stronger connections but empowers others to do the same.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find and build connections with other people. This is especially true when you have gone through treatment and find yourself unsure of what to do next. However, with the right skills, it becomes much easier. Here at Pathways Wellness Center in Azusa and Glendora, California, we teach our clients the skills they need to succeed in and outside of treatment. Our clients can find the support they need with our peer network, helping them find happiness in recovery. By utilizing the wisdom and experience of fellow peers, our clients can find the strength they need to stay in recovery. To learn more about building healthy connections, call (888) 771-0966 today.