The Role of Social Bonds in Overcoming Addiction

Posted on by Tom
The Role of Social Bonds in Overcoming Addiction
The Role of Social Bonds in Overcoming Addiction

A major factor in addiction is isolation.

When a person is lonely, they often use drugs and alcohol to cope with their loneliness.

When there are other people for them to interact with, they might be less interested in drugs and alcohol.

Although there is plenty of drug and alcohol abuse in social settings, it must be understood that social bonds are a counter to addiction.

A recovering alcoholic greatly increases their chances of lasting sobriety if they form social bonds with people who do not drink to excess and will support them in their quest for sobriety.

One of the best things a former drinker can do to maintain their sobriety is form friendships with people who are not active alcoholics and will understand that the former drinker must abstain from drinking any alcohol.

Sober friends are a major part of what makes a sober life worth living for a former drinker.

Positive social contact with peers increases happiness, decreases anxiety and depression, and decreases the chances for a major relapse.

Family is also very important in overcoming addiction.


If the recovering alcoholic spends time with family members, they will feel happier, more fulfilled, and be less likely to relapse.

Care should be taken to avoid conflict, if there is any bad blood with a family member, it may be best to keep the former drinker separate from them for a while.

When the time is right, the former drinker can apologize and make amends to such a family member, and if all goes well, relations can continue.

The recovering alcoholic needs to be open and honest about his addiction with his family and talk to them about why it is important to stay sober.

Such discussion will let the family know that the former drinker understands the harm they have done and is willing to take steps to prevent it from happening again.

Getting someone sober after a destructive addiction should be thought of as a group effort and a family effort.

The family must come together to support the recovering alcoholic or addict both for the addict’s sake and the sake of everyone around them.

A helping and loving attitude will go a long way towards making the former drinker feel as though they are being helped to improve themselves, rather than feeling that they are being forced to give up something they enjoy.

Recovering alcoholics are often defensive about their alcohol abuse and letting them know that they are loved and cared about will help defuse this defensiveness.

Throughout the period of active drinking, the former drinker may have caused many of his relationships with other people to become dysfunctional in some way.

There may have been cases where the former drinker was using people or being used, and in order to move forward with their lives, recovering alcoholics must get rid of such toxic relationships with other people and form bonds which are based on both people benefiting each other and supporting each other’s well-being.

It is very important to get rid of or fix toxic bonds because they are a link to the alcoholic lifestyle and represent an amoral way of living that the former drinker is leaving behind.

All friendships in the new sober life must be based on mutual respect, goodwill, and a commitment to supporting the former drinker’s sobriety.

Some of the old friendships from the drinking days will be salvageable because the friends are willing to be supportive of the former drinker’s sobriety and genuinely care about them.

Other friendships should be left behind for now, because the former friend may be encouraging the person to relapse or the two may be using each other without a genuine care for each other’s well-being, or one might be a parasite upon the other.

Any such toxic bonds which cannot be fixed and assimilated into the sober lifestyle must be broken, to protect the former drinker’s recovery. Sobriety is an entire way of life.

Social bonds with heavy drinkers should be avoided in early sobriety, meaning for the first few years at least.

Active drinkers have a way of sucking others into their way of life, therefore recovering alcoholics should do their best to stay away from active alcoholics except in special circumstances.

Humans are very imitative beings, so it is important that the former drinker not see people drink to excess.

Any drinking done around the former drinker, if it cannot be avoided (which would be best) should be moderate and restrained.

Forming social bonds with people who are supportive of their sobriety and forming healthy bonds with their family will go a long way towards changing the former drinker’s mindset and lifestyle.


 

The more connected the recovering alcoholic is with others, the better.


They can spend time alone, of course.

However, if the recovering alcoholic is feeling bad and needs someone to talk to and someone is quickly there, they will feel supported in their sobriety.

The power of supporting someone in their sobriety cannot be overestimated.

A former drinker is much more likely to succeed if someone is working alongside them in their recovery, or even is just there at the times when the former drinker can’t get by on their own.

Having someone to lean on in times of despair or struggle will prevent the former drinker from leaning on alcohol.

If the former drinker attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, it will be enormously helpful.

At AA a recovering alcoholic will be surrounded by other people who went through a similar ordeal of destructive drinking and came out of it sober and successful.

There will be examples to follow and people willing to lend a helping hand.

Since the 12th step in AA treatment programme is to carry the message to other alcoholics, a newly recovering alcoholic will find that they are considered the most important member of any meeting, because they are the most in need of help.

AA is specifically designed to help people who have struggled with alcohol addiction, and the AA programme of moral transformation is backed up by a community of caring people who will help any former drinker who is willing to be open and honest.

AA is a great place for recovering alcoholics to make friends, since they will be in contact with a large group of peers.

AA meetings are a group activity that makes the former drinker feel like they are a member of a community.

It is very important that the former drinker attend AA meetings if they are available in the area, and they very likely will be.

The recovery community will be one of the greatest tools a former drinker has at their disposal to ensure their sobriety.

They may be reluctant to attend at first, but because we are social beings, most recovering alcoholics will come to enjoy and look forward to going to AA meetings and sitting and talking with other people going through the exact same journey they are.

 

AA meetings are helpful, helpful, helpful!

They’re a great place to make sober friends and to form social bonds that can last a lifetime.

The former drinker will begin to see preserving their social bonds within the recovery community as far more important than alcohol could ever be.

When the former drinker has strong social bonds with many people who are supportive of his sobriety, the chances of recovery become much greater.

Family, friends, and a recovery community will all be key parts of the transformation the recovering alcoholic will undergo.

Giving up destructive drinking isn’t just breaking an addiction, it’s a lifestyle change, and the positive social bonds that are formed during recovery are the best defense against the return of addiction.

GETTING HELP 


Getting help early can prevent experiencing severe consequences of drinking or disrupting the lives of loved ones.

Call our local number 01603 513 091

Using the Past to Create a Sober Future

Posted on by Tom
Using the Past to Create a Sober Future

For many former drinkers working to stay sober, the past contains many painful memories that they would prefer to leave behind forever.

However, the memories from their drinking days can be very helpful to them in overcoming their addiction.

Many ex-drinkers used to drink in order to forget the bad things that happened.

Issues were covered up with alcohol, and the pain was numbed.

But now that they are sober, it’s time for them to face the problems in their life head-on.

If you are a recovering alcoholic yourself, use the tools provided in this article to strengthen your sobriety.

This article will also be helpful to those want to help former drinkers, but for optimal results, have the former drinker read this themselves.

 

Learning from the Past


People avoid early on to avoid dangerous actions such as placing their hand on a hot stovetop.

They may have ignored warnings as a child, but after doing it once and getting painfully burned, they avoided it in the future.

They learned from the past.

This is something that alcoholics in their drinking days are often unable to do.

All sorts of pain and misery will be caused by their drinking, both to themselves and others, but they will go right back to doing the activity which hurt them, even though the logical response would be to avoid drinking and thereby avoid the harm it causes.

Now that you are striving for sobriety, you can permanently change that pattern.

By closely examining the harm that drinking caused, you can understand in deeper ways why you must avoid drinking.

Study your drinking history.

Look back at when you started drinking, and why, and what the results were early on in your drinking career.

It’s best to write these things down as well as reflecting on them.

  • ⇒ When did you start drinking to excess?
  • ⇒ When did you start drinking often?
  • ⇒ What was going on in your life when you did?
  • ⇒ And what changed in your life after you started drinking heavily and/or regularly?

 

The point of all this is to examine what the effect of drinking was on your life, what harms it caused.

As you move on in writing the history of your drinking career, take special care to study the worst disasters in detail.

Would those bad things have happened if you hadn’t been drinking?

If they wouldn’t have, and if the drinking caused them, understand that similar disasters can easily happen if you back to abusing alcohol.

You need to know in your heart that alcohol has hurt you and know in your heart that alcohol can hurt you again.

Another good strategy for learning about your past drinking is to talk to others about their experiences when they were around you while you were drinking.

They may remember things that you don’t or have perspectives and feelings on the situation that are enlightening.

If there were any major incidents during your drinking career that friends or family witnessed, interview them and ask about the things that you did and how it affected them.

Avoid becoming defensive, just listen and learn.

You will likely find that many people were worried about you, and that will become another motivation to avoid relapsing.

The more aware you become of what happened when you drank, the stronger your sobriety will be.

Throughout this exploration of your past, keep in mind that the things that happened while you were drinking can happen again if you keep drinking and/or relapse.

A few months of sobriety does not make you immune to destruction after you’ve relapsed.

The good things in life are dependent upon your sobriety.

Don’t risk losing them by bringing alcohol back into the equation.


Also Read:

Cleaning up the Wreckage from your Drinking Days


Many alcoholics have seriously hurt others, especially the people they love.

While drunk, in their misery and their state of lowered inhibition and increased aggression, they lashed out at others both verbally and physically.

They neglected responsibilities and allowed their duties to others to go undone. They lied, cheated, stole, manipulated, and used others for their own gain.

It may be hard to face the facts of what you’ve done but doing so will give you the knowledge and power needed to never treat people so badly again.

You must use the past to your advantage to create a brighter, sober future.

Whether or not you are in AA, you should create what the programme calls a “moral inventory”.

This is a hard and honest look at both the good and bad things you have done in your life.

This is to be written down, and traditionally in AA, (12 Step Treatment Programme) it will be shared with another person who will keep everything a secret.

However, if you are not in AA, whether it will be shared with others is up to you.

Either way, when you write a moral inventory, hide nothing from it.

Even the most awful things you have done should be written down. You should keep your moral inventory in a secure location, either in a password protected file or in a lockbox if handwritten.

This will give you the confidence needed for full honesty.

Write down the name of every person you have hurt in a major way and write down what you did to them and how you think it made them feel.

Focus on things where the person was significantly harmed or upset by your actions because recording every small wrong would take too long.

For example, if you said rude things on a regular basis to a loved one, focus on the overall themes of how you treated them rather than writing down everything you said, although especially hurtful words can be written out specifically.

Take this very seriously.

The power of writing a record of your wrongs should not be underestimated. A moral inventory has the power to take your sobriety to the next level and prevent urges to drink.

Once the moral inventory has been completed, you can carefully begin the process of contacting the people you’ve hurt and apologising to them or making amends.

For amends, an example would be that perhaps you stole £100 from someone to spend on alcohol.

You would apologise and pay that money back, even if it is difficult. (In this example, it could be done in small instalments over time if you are low on money.)

If a person was very badly hurt by you and would rather not see you, or if they might hurt you when they see you, you should leave them be, however.

This process should not include taking serious risks or contacting people who want to avoid you.

You won’t be able to apologise to everyone, and not everyone will accept your apologies, although you may be surprised by how forgiving many people can be. The point is to try your best to right your former wrongs.

If the person you need to apologise or make amends to is a friend or loved one, be sure to have an in-depth conversation with them about how you can treat them better going forward. Ask them about what you did that was hurtful and how it made them feel.

Work to truly understand how your actions affected them, so you can have a deeper understanding of how vital it is to avoid repeating such mistakes and misdeeds.

This process of working to understand and right the wrongs you’ve done to your loved ones will be appreciated, and unless the damage done is too great, it can lead to stronger bonds in the future.

Looking exclusively at your own failings in a relationship may be humbling and frustrating but put in the work and you will greatly enjoy the rewards.

Doing a moral inventory and then making amends will bring about what AA calls a “spiritual transformation”. What that ultimately means is that you become a better, more caring person.

The process of righting the wrongs you have done brings about a profound psychological shift and change in attitudes that makes sobriety much easier to maintain.

It will help you to understand on the most fundamental level why it is wrong for you to drink—the reason being that drinking ends up causing you to hurt other people and yourself.

After you’ve done your best to fix the damage done during your drinking career, you can move on to a new and happy phase of your life. But you need to put the work in first.

Acknowledging past wrongs and making amends.

GETTING HELP 


Getting help early can prevent experiencing severe consequences of drinking or disrupting the lives of loved ones.

Call our local number 01603 513 091