By nature, humans are social creatures. Because of this, we crave connection with other humans. While it’s absolutely possible to achieve success individually, we’re often able to achieve better and faster results when we’re working with a group.
If you think about it that way, it makes complete sense that so many addiction recovery programs, most famously 12-step programs, incorporate some sort of group or community aspect. Sure, you may be able to recover from your addiction working one-on-one with a councillor, but getting involved with a community will make things much easier.
So, what exactly does a community offer that makes it so important for an addict’s recovery?
Perhaps this is obvious, however it’s important not to overlook the role support plays on an addict’s journey to recovery.
Working with a group of other people who have similar backstories, who are trying to achieve the same goal, who are going through the same ups and downs – this all goes a long way to show someone struggling with addiction that they are not alone.
Support is especially important when you consider that loneliness is often a factor in driving people to begin abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place.
The community builds a bond between these people who can celebrate each other’s wins and provide encouragement to each other during setbacks. Since everyone has a firsthand understanding of what the rest of the group is going through, the community members become the best possible support system for each other.
Communities also mean built-in accountability partners.
Each member of the group is trying to achieve the same goal: recovery from an addiction. By confiding in each other about their struggles and their micro-goals, members are easily able to help motivate and keep each other focused.
Accountability encourages honesty, the exact opposite of the denial that addiction sufferers often find themselves in. By joining an honest community and helping other members stay accountable to their individual goals, someone in recovery from addiction will have a much easier time reaching their goals.
The Opportunity to Give Back
For many of us, when we go through an experience that has a profound, life-changing impact on us, we want to help other people have the same positive experience.
In 12-step programs, once a group member has achieved recovery, they’re encouraged to give back to the community. Many members are more than happy to give back and provide support and hope to another group of people who are still struggling with addictions of their own.