You’ve admitted that you have a substance use disorder, decided to get help, and completed a treatment program. Now what? In some ways, this is the hardest part, because you’re going from a structured program where you’re closely monitoring to being responsible for yourself at home. All of those everyday stresses and triggers are there waiting for you, and you have to learn how to cope with them. One of the best ways to deal with these struggles is to develop a strong support network. It might seem daunting, especially if you’re introverted or if you pushed away your friends and family while you were using, but if you find people to support you, you’ll drastically decrease your chances of relapse.

Here’s the most important thing you can do – stay away from the people you used to do drugs with or who are likely to pressure you into using again. You might think these people are your friends, but the truth is that if they’re addicts, they care about their drug more than anything. Even if they don’t purposely tempt you, watching people use is a huge trigger and might cause you to relapse.

If you have friends or family who want to help, consider whether they’re the best people for the job. Do they drink or use drugs, even occasionally? Do you get along well, or are you more likely to get into arguments that will make you want to turn back to drug abuse? Are they generally a negative person and not likely to be very encouraging of your efforts? If so, don’t feel guilty about not spending too much time with them. It’s more important that you stay sober than worry about offending someone. If you do think they could be supportive but they don’t know what to do for you, you can always educate them. Tell them what you need and dispel any misconceptions they might have. Remember to be patient, especially if your relationship has been strained by your substance abuse.

FINDING A SUPPORT NETWORK

If you’re looking to meet new people, 12 step meetings are the obvious place to start. You already know that the people there will be in the same situation as you, so you don’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed or judged. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a group face to face, try looking online. Some of the more well-established groups have online meetings by text or video conference. You can find groups on Facebook or Twitter that are dedicated to recovery. There are also mobile apps out there that can help you search for and communicate with support groups.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.