It’s no secret that we live in the golden age of social media. These days we’re able to connect with each other on a whole other level compared to ten years ago. The different platforms we use to communicate with each other has allowed us to connect with others of similar likes, dislikes and even behaviors bringing forward different types of relationships. But what exactly does this mean for the individual struggling with addiction?
Addiction isn’t just a faulty behavior pattern, it becomes an identity. This identity doesn’t just disappear when you decide to go into rehab. It becomes part of the core of our being and affects every aspect of our decision-making and overall life structure. In order to move out from a behavior that is life-threatening and destructive we can’t just change that which is destroying us without first acknowledging it and realizing that we must create a new identity, one that harbors the behaviors, thoughts, and emotions for our higher good. The best part is that we don’t have to do it alone.
In an age where external factors can be a huge threat for those who are on the path to healing from substance abuse, social groups are critical for a successful recovery. The right support group can be a safe place for you to share your journey. A group that reinforces sober behavior can help you create a new identity, shattering old, destructive thought patterns and help you see the alternative to what you have been accustomed to. Social support works because we humans are social creatures and rely on each other more than we care to admit.
No society would thrive; no leader would be in charge if we did not look for support in the people around us. Often times that support doesn’t exist amongst our family or friends as they may not understand the path a recovering addict is experiencing. Members of a support group offer shared norms, values, and life struggles which are what often makes them so appealing and effective. It’s not just about one professional telling everyone how to heal themselves; these are actual people discussing their triggers and off-days as well as their successes. They also offer a plethora of advice which can be constructive, provided the group is monitored by a qualified moderator. Above all, support groups offer a sense of belonging which is essential to the healing process.
Finding the right support group can be a difficult task. In order for change to occur and a new, sober identity to rise, destructive behavior patterns must first be identified. The right support group will not only help those behaviors come to the surface and be an environment that creates a sense of belonging so that you can share your experience successfully, but also provide guidance and advice on what the next step could be. Creating a new identity and working towards a sober life is a difficult process, but as billionaire Narayana Murthy truthfully stated, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong.”
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.