Why Peer Support is Important in Addiction Recovery

When faced with a difficult life event, many individuals find solace in connecting with others who have been through similar situations. If you have ever found yourself seeking out advice from a person who understands what you are going through, you understand the power that lies within peer support. Peer support, or peer-to-peer support, is defined as the process of giving and receiving nonprofessional, nonclinical assistance from individuals with a common goal of achieving long-term recovery from addiction.

To put it simply, positive social interaction is vital in the process of maintaining sobriety from alcohol and drugs. In isolation, people become more susceptible to relapse, experience worsened symptoms of depression, and are more likely to quit rehab before finding true healing. While there are many challenges associated with rebuilding social skills and fostering beneficial relationships, it is worth it in the long run.

Let’s take a look at why peer support is important in addiction recovery.

Challenges of Early Recovery

During alcohol and drug addiction treatment, it’s often vital for individuals to let go of old relationships and make major changes in their social life. This isn’t always easy, and unfortunately, your friends and family might not always support your decisions.

For example, it’s common to experience some of the following situations while rebuilding your social life:

  • Friends or family members criticizing you for your decision to seek treatment.
  • Old drug dealers trying to reach out and contact you.
  • Old friends attempting to verbally, physically, or emotionally harass you.

Individuals also face a number of other unique challenges while they are in drug and alcohol rehab. These may include acclimating to physical, mental, and emotional changes, learning how to communicate with others openly, admitting that past behaviors were unacceptable, and moving past negative feelings tied to past drug and alcohol addiction.

While dealing with all of these changes and letting go of old relationships is difficult, forging new and healthier ones is essential to the maintenance of your sobriety. Building relationships with people who will support your recovery goals and keep you accountable is a key aspect of fostering long-term, lasting change. Additionally, having friends in sobriety will make your recovery journey much more enjoyable.

Why Are Peer Support Groups Important?

While addiction treatment programs are designed to help individuals overcome addiction, the main goal is to improve a person’s overall quality of life by helping them to achieve lasting change.

Personal relationships play a large role in an individual’s overall wellness as well as how they view their quality of life. While substance abuse decreases an individual’s quality of life, research has shown that peer support will help improve it. Here are some of the main reasons that peer support groups are important in addiction recovery.[1]

Support Groups Give You Something to Lose

According to studies, attending peer support groups gives recovering addicts something to lose. Based on this research, when recovering addicts are fearful of losing friends, health, employment, or personal freedom, they are more likely to stay motivated and maintain their sobriety.[2]

Sober Support Helps With Stress Management in Recovery

Social support is also known to improve one’s ability to manage stress and utilize coping strategies. Whether a person is facing the day-to-day stressors or is coping with the death of a loved one, a peer support community will help to healthily process stress.

Addiction Support Offers Hope for Recovery

Some days in recovery may smooth-sailing, while others may become extremely difficult. However, a support group will offer you hope and guidance when you feel depressed or down. Additionally, sober support groups provide a judgment-free outlet for open communication about any issues you may currently struggle with.

Peer Support Provides You With Role Models in Recovery

In recovery, it’s always good to have individuals to look up to. In other words, peer support groups can provide you with role models who have recovered from addiction. These individuals may provide wisdom, advice, and encouragement at times when you need it the most. Oftentimes, you can learn helpful recovery coping skills from your support group role models. Additionally, seeing that other people can recover from addiction will motivate you to continue on your own path of sobriety and recovery.

Peer Support Reduces Your Risk of Relapse

People who attempt to get sober in isolation are more likely to relapse than individuals with a strong support system. One study found a significant reduction of relapse in patients who participated in a peer support program. Also, the same study found that a community program focused on self-determination has a significant and positive impact on recovery from addiction.[3]

Attend Addiction Treatment in West Palm Beach Today

If you or a loved one have found yourself struggling with the effects of addiction and substance abuse, it may be time to find professional help. CWC Recovery understands what it’s like to be in the depths of addiction, and, therefore, we treat each client with care, support, and respect. We emphasize the importance of peer support in addiction recovery, providing our patients with a solid support system to fall back on after completing treatment.

Contact us today for more information on how to get started with an addiction treatment program in West Palm Beach today.

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27729825/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844242

Medically Reviewed: December 10, 2020

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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