When you are in recovery, having a healthy community around you is crucial. Why is community so important? What does it mean to have a strong community around you? How can you grow yours? These are all very good questions to ask yourself. A community is made up of people that surround you including family, peers, coworkers, and other people in your neighbourhood.
It is often very hard to get out there in the world and surround yourself with healthy people; you may have isolated and stayed away from these types of healthy environments for years. Let me share with you a few simple words: community is essential to living a sober life.
The people you surround yourself with play a huge role in your recovery. The people you choose to have in your life will either help you or bring you down. It’s up to you to weed out the bad from the good. In recovery, we cannot just rely on ourselves to help us through the hard times, so it’s imperative we choose wisely.
If I were a Doctor and came across a medical mystery, a real hard case, what would I do? Let’s take it one step further. I have a patient that has a life-threatening condition. I need to consult with my team. I can’t just walk up to anyone and talk about this issue, as it takes a highly skilled brain to dissect this sort of problem. I would turn to my support groups in the medical field. Addiction is no different. Speaking with people who have also suffered from the disease will help you dissect your problem. The community you choose will help you stay sober. This is your life threating situation. If I didn’t have the right people around me, my patient could die. If you don’t have the right people around you, your life could be on the line. Is this something you want to put to test? If you were struggling and about to relapse, who would you turn to?
It’s been proven that loneliness and isolation can often lead to relapse. One way we can prevent this is by growing our social circle. There are meetings we can attend where we are surrounded by people who share the same values as us. Maybe this is a Narcotics Anonymous Meeting, an AA meeting, an Al-Anon meeting, or another type of support group you can find within your neighbourhood. A support group is a great way to find positive encouragement within your community.
There are other ways to participate and better your community. While attending meetings are essential, a lot of fun can take place in your neighbourhood as well. Here are some other ways you can make your community a better place:
- Join or organize action to make your local parks and play areas clean and environment-friendly.
- Donate time and money to environmental projects and get involved.
- Recycle your paper, plastic, cardboard, glass and related items.
- Participate in community food drives.
- Open up the leisure guide and join a class or lesson that best suits your interests. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
When you put yourself out there to meet new people, that’s when the magic happens. Who you spend your time with will reflect your recovery in the biggest way. It’s scary meeting new people; I can speak from experience. When I was 18 years old, I moved up to a remote town in the north. I didn’t know a soul, it was a true adventure. Stepping out of my comfort zone and expanding my network of people gave me the opportunity to learn new skills, try new things, and embrace a new culture. If you pursue healthy activities such as going for walks, taking up a new class, or trying out a different meeting, your chances of developing new healthy behaviours are almost guaranteed.
You have one life, and in the end, you may regret the chances you didn’t take. Open up your mind to every opportunity.
“Let those seeds in and make your mind fertile ground, for the seeds of opportunity will grow.” – Les Brown
Activities Coordinator & Member Care Specialist
Aurora Recovery Centre