Family Support: Maintaining Recovery Outside of a Program

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Family Support: Maintaining Recovery Outside of a Program

Maintaining our recovery inside a program is only part of the process. Once we leave our program, whether inpatient or outpatient, we need to maintain our recovery outside of those places or supports. Often, upon discharge from programs, the final step is collaborating with family members (or those close to you that you consider “family”) to preserve our new skills.

Without building a support system outside of therapeutic staff and peers, you may risk relapse or losing effective coping skills. To preserve your newly found and higher quality of life, you may need to risk being vulnerable to those closest to you outside of recovery programs.

Vulnerability and Risk

A key aspect of being successful in recovery is being vulnerable, and vulnerability carries risk. If you are truthful and honest, you risk acceptance from others. However, without being vulnerable, you risk being honest with yourself and may not cultivate the self-acceptance needed for recovery.

During the final phase of many recovery programs, you will be encouraged to risk giving both yourself and others permission to question, test, and adjust your plans. Vulnerability can be a skill like anything else you learn during your program!

While in recovery programs or during group sessions, you are in safe and supportive environments. You are in a nurturing and safe place to allow yourself to open up. Begin to work with staff, therapists, and peers to acclimate yourself with vulnerability.

You can then build your tolerance of vulnerability as you consider the changes needed to grow from your current self (where you are now) to your future self (where you will be with the skills and resilience gained in the recovery process).

Once you are able to open up to those around you outside of the recovery community, you can build a work and home support network.

The Six Dimensions of Wellness: Family Support and Family of Choice

Family support is one of the six dimensions of wellness taught at many recovery programs. Everyone defines family differently; some consider “family” as blood-relatives only, others consider “family” to include only those in their households, and some may even consider multiple people — inside and outside of the home or family bloodline — to be “family.”

Most individuals in recovery from addiction or trauma may have strained or unhealthy relationships with blood relatives. Hopefully, these relationships can heal over time; however, you can define your family by broadening your definition of family by considering your “family of choice.” A “family of choice” can include people from an extensive community.

Members of your family of choice can be supportive blood relatives, peers, co-workers, friends, or other people in your community. Take some time now to consider your family of choice to build a supportive network upon discharge from recovery programs. Who are the people closest to you? Who can you be vulnerable with?

The Role of Support Networks

Once you identify your family and those in your life who you can depend upon to support you, what role will each person play in your recovery? Overall, support networks help us sustain our sense of personal accountability. Each person in your support network will help you to stay on track with your recovery. Accountability can be difficult for any of us to maintain, whether inside or outside of recovery.

Without accountability for our actions, how would society even function? Accountability helps us become our best selves. We know that we would either let other people down or that our actions would have consequences on the lives of others. Who in your life would not only allow you to be yourself and be vulnerable, but would also hold you accountable to be your best self?

Sometimes, even those with our best interests in mind may not step in to hold us accountable for our recovery. Be honest in your communication with your family support in the role you need them to play. Let them know that they need to hold you accountable to be effective in their supportive roles in your recovery.

Healthy Communication and Healthy Families

Being vulnerable and open requires skills in healthy communication, which is a cornerstone of building a healthy family support network. Again, while in your recovery program and among supportive peers, it is crucial to build your skills in healthy communication so you may transfer these skills to your life outside of your recovery program. Remember: your support network can only be effective with open and honest communication.

Foster this healthy communication by assuring your supporters that they are going to play a key role in your recovery. Remind them how important open communication is to you and your wellness. Also, keep in mind that they may tell you things you do not want to hear. Resist the urge to get defensive and maintain the course of your recovery by appreciating their honesty and feedback!

Generating a healthy support network can take time and requires building skills of honest communication. While suffering the effects of trauma or addiction in their daily lives, many individuals may not be in the type of environment that is necessary to foster these new skills integral to their recovery. At The Kimberly Center, you can learn to build these skills while in a safe and supportive environment among peers and trained staff. The Kimberly Center offers short-term residential stays in a comfortable place, where you can begin to open up and heal! We work with each client to create a personalized treatment plan, designed with each person’s unique needs in mind. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and/or mental health issues, please do not hesitate to call us today at (855) 452-3683 for more information on our extensive recovery programs and get the help you need.

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