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The Importance of Support in Recovery




Women supporting each other by creating hearts with their hands

Contributed ByThe Recovery Village Editorial Team

After an illness, disease, traumatic event or injury, there is often a period of recovery. This period could be mainly physical, but these experiences often cause psychological and emotional trauma that should also be addressed. Treatment is particularly important for people recovering from a substance use disorder when it’s critical that the next stage includes healthier habits and a lifestyle change. 

Recovery and rehabilitation are long-term processes that can be made more manageable with the right support. Some of the most important ways a strong support system can help you on your road to recovery include: 

Medical Support

When recovering from a long-term illness or disease, it’s crucial to maintain a medical support structure that can monitor your physical progress and ensure you have the necessary physiotherapy or medicine to help you reach your goals.

Having medical support is also essential when detoxing from substances like alcohol, cocaine, prescription pills or meth. Detox requires both medical and psychological professionals to facilitate the early and ongoing stages of recovery. Withdrawing from an addictive substance often has unpleasant side-effects initially and can be dangerous without the proper support.

Emotional Support

An illness or disease of any kind can be isolating. Not only can having a disease be lonely because of physical limitations, but also because you may perceive yourself as a burden or inconvenience to family and friends. This kind of mindset can be potentially dangerous.

Recovery is a long-term process and there are obstacles to face and challenges to overcome. Attempting to go through recovery alone without a support network can lead to stress and anxiety that can hinder your recovery and may cause setbacks. A support system of friends, family and medical professionals is essential, so you can share your feelings and frustrations and celebrate your progress. 

Personal Accountability

Whether it’s maintaining a healthy lifestyle to help with recovery from an illness or staying sober, a network of peers can be a great source of motivation. A support network could be a group of people who are also facing the same recovery challenges, medical professionals or friends and family. The people in your support network shouldn’t be a source of shame or judgement, but can be there to increase your sense of personal accountability and responsibility to others. In the case of recovery from addiction, a support network can be there to get you back on track if you do experience a setback.  

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) provides advice on how to take the next steps after rehabilitation for addiction like The Next Step Toward a Better Life.

Everyday Care

Depending on the nature of your recovery and your physical and mental condition, having people around you could be essential to help you manage daily tasks. This could be cooking healthy meals, managing your finances and helping you to wash and dress as well as making sure you keep all of your follow-up medical or rehabilitation appointments.

With the right support system, recovery is possible. Whether you are healing from an illness, addiction or other challenge, seeking and maintaining a support network can help you thrive in recovery.

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