Building a Support System in Recovery: The Key Players

Building a support system in recovery is essential for long-term success. Here are seven people you want on your support team.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cites the support of friends, family, and the community as one of the most important pillars of recovery. Building a support system in recovery is crucial for long-term success, and the importance of support system in recovery can’t be overstated. Here some key players for a positive support system in recovery.

1. Someone who’s been in recovery for a long time.

Having someone on your support team who has personal experience with the challenges of early recovery is important. This person can help you see a bigger picture, and they can provide insight and tips that others can’t. They can talk you back from a lapse, walk you through a crisis, or help you get back on track after a relapse. If you’re participating in a 12-step program this person may be your sponsor, or it could be an old friend or a family member.

2. Someone you trust who always tells you the truth.

Sometimes, the truth hurts, or you simply can’t–or don’t want to–see it. This person is essential for your positive support system in recovery because they’ll call it like they see it. He or she can offer honest feedback and say something if you stray from your recovery program or begin displaying negative changes in your attitudes or behaviors. This person will help you know when it’s time to get professional help.

3. A therapist or counselor who keeps you on a growth trajectory.

Recovery isn’t passive. There’s a lot of hard work to be done as you continue on your recovery journey, addressing a variety of issues and examining and working through setbacks and issues that come up in early recovery. Your therapist or counselor helps you develop skills and strategies to cope with triggers, change self-destructive thought and behavior patterns, and set actionable goals to help you continue improving your life on all fronts.

4. An old friend who knows your story and supports your sobriety.

A friend from your past who is a non-abuser can serve as a mirror that lets you see how far you’ve come since the days you were at your worst. A supportive friend who knows your history can encourage and inspire you to continue striving for your best.

5. One or more new friends who know you’re in recovery.

An important part of building a support system in recovery is meeting new people who you eventually feel comfortable sharing your story with. These new friends can offer support, and they can help you stay motivated in recovery by providing opportunities for fun and socialization that aren’t based on drugs or alcohol. When your new friends accept you despite your past, you develop trust and learn that others have the capacity to understand and accept you no matter what.

6. A health guru.

A friend or family member who’s all about exercise and good nutrition is a great person to have on your support team. This person can help you make essential lifestyle changes that support a life in recovery, especially if he or she is willing to be your workout buddy or help you design a healthy diet.

7. Someone who has unconditional love for you.

A parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin, dear friend, or another person who loves you no matter what is an essential person to have on your support team when you’re building a support system in recovery. This person will offer love and support even when you make mistakes, which are par for the course in early recovery. He or she is someone you can rely on for help and understanding when things go south.

Asking for Help

Building a support system in recovery is essential for long-term success, but you have to be able to ask for help when you need it, which isn’t always easy. If you feel intimidated or shy about asking for help directly, consider writing a letter to ask for help and support. A letter lets you craft what you want to say so that it comes out right. Whether you need help with a specific thing, such as organizing your home to reduce stress, or you’re hoping for general support and understanding, putting it in writing initially can make it easier to ask for help in person later on.

WhiteSands Treatment knows the importance of support system in recovery, and we can help you develop the support system you need. Through treatment, you’ll improve your current relationships and acquire the skills you need to develop new, healthy ones. Treatment helps you end an addiction for good and improve your life in countless ways. Contact WhiteSands Treatment today, and get started creating the sober life you want.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.