“Peers can help improve treatment outcomes,” quotes a senior advisor for SAMHSA, a US government organization aimed toward mental health and substance abuse. He explains that peer support, “can help a person really develop what a life in recovery entails in terms of a full and meaningful and productive life.”
Meaning through Connection
For years, the primary care plan for addiction treatment has lived in the twelve step model, based on the spiritual program outlined through The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Eighty years ago, before AA’s foundation, there was no answer to the disease of alcoholism and addiction. Today, the vast majority of treatment centers around the world are based on AA principles. The Big Book states that “practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.”
There are a lot of theories and philosophies about what addiction is and how to find its cure. One such idea is that the opposite of addiction is connection. “Isolation” is a popular term used for awareness and education in addiction treatment. Addiction is an isolating disease. Most recovering addicts and alcoholics report feeling intensely and desperately lonely, even among people who love them. Connecting to others through the experience of recovery creates meaning in life without drugs and alcohol. Without meaning, there is little reason in the addict’s mind to carry on without substances.
Peer Support in Addiction Treatment
The Big Book explains part of this process. “Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to seem them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends- this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”
Some states are coordinating peer support groups as a method for helping recovering addicts and alcoholics ease back into their lives. Recovery is a process of life transformation, not just the end of abusive drinking and drug use. Through every step of learning how to live again, one alcoholic can offer their hand to another, just as a hand was outstretched to them.
Aurora Recovery Center structures treatment through a step down process that allows residents to be of service to one another through each stage of treatment. We offer treatment to men and women seeking recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol. For more information call 1-844-515-STOP today.