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Role Models and Addiction Prevention

Role Models and Addiction PreventionFor better or for worse, other people exert a profound impact on addiction and recovery. The support of family and friends can help you power through the difficult days of early sobriety. But the opposite is also true. Negative influences – people you once partied with, for instance – can pull you back into painkiller addiction. The key to getting sober and staying drug free is to stick with the winners and seek out good role models.

Community: Why It Matters

Although no one can get you sober but yourself, research shows a strong correlation between community support and recovery. Specifically, studies endorsed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that individuals who felt supported and accepted by people around them, including friends, family members, recovery experts, and support-group members, were less likely to return to drug and alcohol abuse as quickly. Additionally, Experts at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration say that peer support can be a strategic way to sustain the recovery process until internal motivation is strengthened.

Surrounding yourself with people who support your painkiller addiction recovery is essential to getting sober and avoiding relapse. The problem is, one consequence of addiction for many individuals is that they lose their healthy relationships and solidify toxic ones. Recovery professionals maintain that addressing social factors connected to substance abuse is paramount. Socializing with former painkiller-using buddies can be detrimental for reasons that include the following:

  • They can normalize problematic drug use
  • Being surrounded by people, places, and things you associate with drug use can trigger cravings
  • They can discourage you from believing that sober living is possible
  • They may put you in close proximity to your drug of choice
  • They can sabotage your efforts with both overt and subtle peer pressure

Just as removing chemicals from the body is a critical first step toward getting clean, detoxing from toxic relationships is a key action that can prevent relapse.

Community: Where to Find It

One way to quickly surround yourself with recovery-minded friends is to join a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Several benefits of joining a support group include the following:

  • Feeling less lonely, isolated, or judged
  • Gaining a sense of empowerment
  • Improving coping skills and sense of adjustment
  • Reducing anxiety, distress, and depression by sharing negative feelings
  • Gaining practical insights about treatment options

Seeking out a strong support network can also provide support for reasons that include the following:

  • Learning from other people’s experiences and mistakes is helpful
  • Seeing other people succeed can help you maintain motivation
  • Getting concrete support such as going to a meeting with a friend can help you withstand cravings
  • Connecting to new people breaks the isolation that typically feeds addictive behavior

Professional recovery centers are good places to make sober friends and role models. Individuals who meet in group therapy sessions – one component of most rehab programs – often attend NA meetings together both during and after treatment, cheering each other on, and empathizing from a place of shared experience.

Two Types of Role Models: Sponsors and Sober Coaches

Fighting addiction is a team effort. One way to ensure that you get the support you need is to hire a sober escort. These recovery professionals do not offer primary treatment for addiction, such as detoxification, and they do not diagnose. Rather, they support positive change and buffer against negative factors that might impede the recovery process.

Many people find that hiring outside help is more beneficial than involving friends or family member in the practical aspects of recovery. Several benefits of hiring a sober escort include the following:

  • They provide accountability
  • They can be a stable source of support
  • They have no past history with you and, therefore, no emotional baggage
  • They can steer you clear of triggers
  • They can help you navigate tricky situations such as work-related events at which alcohol will be served
  • They can attend social events you are required to attend, such as weddings, and help you avoid using

Another way to get the support of a positive role model is through 12-step sponsorship. This free mentoring resource is a way for an addicted individual to partner in a private, one-on-one relationship with a group member who has more experience and sober time. A sponsor shares recovery tools such as the Twelve Steps, provides a listening ear, and often connects the newcomer to a larger recovery community.

It is important to note that people who do not want to join a support group can still have a sponsor. Psychology Today blogger Seth Meyers maintains that any trusted person can fill the role. The point is to avoid flying solo at all times by reaching out to a positive role model for help.

Help for Painkiller Addiction

If you or someone you love abuses painkillers, help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness. You never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call.

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