How an Appropriate Wrap-Around Support Network Helps with Substance Abuse Recovery


Our social network determines not only our outlook in life but also our outcomes. Think about two or three of your closest friends or acquaintances; chances are, you will be similar to them in how you view the world, how you view yourselves, maybe even the type of language you use. 

Taking the first step toward recovery or re-entering a recovery program following a relapse takes courage. You may also recognize that you cannot do this among your current group of friends or even your family members. 

Family and Friends 

There are multiple reasons why family and friends may not support your journey toward recovery. They may lack the emotional insight or skills to provide emotional support, especially if additional family members are dealing with addiction issues or other mental health challenges. Friends may also be part of your addiction problem, enabling your substance abuse through their own consumption and possibly provision. Whatever your situation, it is possible to develop new, healthy relationships meant to guide and support your recovery. 

The Inner Layer–Professional Support 

Your mental health specialist, physician, case manager, or social worker all fall under this heading. You won’t be asked for coffee and a catch-up, but you will be given all the professional guidance, tools, and support you need during your different recovery phases. Also, your professional support network may change over time. This is normal. Through each recovery or therapy phase, you may encounter new therapeutic activities ranging from talk therapy to hiking. 

Take advantage of these contacts.  They are the inner layer of your professional support, especially at the start of your transitional program. They should feel within arms reach as you make a habit of daily contact through one-on-one and group therapy sessions. 

This Is a Judgement-Free Zone

Offering a neutral ear for your anxiety and challenges, your professional support network will hold you accountable without judging.  During therapy sessions, you may discuss painful aspects of your life for the first time.  Again, professional counseling and support can safely introduce new thought processes that you can draw upon when you are faced with triggers that could lead to a relapse. As you move beyond the initial, intensive treatment, your professional support network can provide you with contacts and information appropriate to your recovery’s next phase. Take advantage of these contacts; they are critical to the success of your ongoing recovery

Meeting new people can be challenging, especially in new, unfamiliar environments.  For many, meeting new people can cause anxiety, which could be a trigger. For some people, group therapy can seem intimidating at first. At times like this, reach out to one of the professionals in your first layer of support. One of these trusted professionals can help you work through those fears while encouraging you to take the first steps into group therapy. You may be reminded that you don’t always need to talk–that sometimes, merely listening brings clarity and can offer therapeutic qualities in and of itself. 

Second Layer of Support

Your peers experiencing similar issues and challenges can be tremendously validating and will become your second level of support.  The realization that other people share the same anxieties and have faced similar struggles during recovery can provide incredible bridge-building moments toward trust and mutual respect. You will realize that you are not alone.

Listening to others can be a great learning tool.  Knowing that others have walked in your shoes and made it to the other side can be encouraging when you feel anxious about your ability to succeed. 

Staying Cozy 

As new acquaintances become friends, your new peer group will offer invaluable support to one another and accountability as you face similar challenges.  Within this group, you will find people that you can call during difficult times. Talking through setbacks helps avoid isolation which is important, because isolation may trigger feelings of low self-worth and depression, placing you at risk of returning to using drugs or alcohol.

Healthy Support

Just as unhealthy people may drive you to use drugs and alcohol, a sober support group creates pressure to make healthy choices. Knowing some people do not want you to relapse can help you in your commitment to a substance-free lifestyle.

Although you may have a supportive family, being honest with family members can be difficult, specifically as it relates to actual drug and alcohol use or triggers.  Your support network provides an avenue for open discussion and can help alert you during moments when you may be at risk for relapse.


Wrap-around recovery in the form of an understanding network of friends and professionals can increase your odds of staying on track during times of significant transition. Reaching out and accepting help increases the chances of long-term recovery.  When you know the time is right for you to make a committed change, the Detox Center of Colorado is ready to partner with you. Offering care for both substance abuse and mental health issues and surrounded by the world-renowned natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains, we provide a specialized care model that includes support and aftercare planning following your stay. Our solution-based transitional residence program teaches you coping skills aimed at accountability and recovery.  No matter where you are in your recovery, we look forward to exploring the range of supportive treatment options available to you.  Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035.  It may be the best thing you do for yourself today.

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