Community is an important part of a recovery for many reasons. Almost every spiritual and self-growth tradition has community as a part of the program. One Mind Dharma has a great page on The Importance of Sangha in Buddhism, fellowship is important to twelve-step, and most Christian traditions encourage interaction with the community. There’s a reason that so many different traditions stress the important of community! Here are a few benefits of community in recovery.
First, community offers us the opportunity to have a support network and a safety net. When we are struggling, we can turn toward our fellow sober individuals. We never have to face anything alone in recovery. This is one of the great benefits of support groups. We get the chance to find some safety and comfort.
In using, we are often alone. Even if we aren’t alone, we FEEL alone. In recovery, we have the opportunity to not feel so alone. As we build a new support group, we find that we have the opportunity to turn toward them in times of need. Unlike many of our old friends, people show up for us in times of need.
Learning to Have Healthy Relationships
In recovery from addiction, we often have to change the way we interact with others. In using, we lie, cheat, and steal. We hurt others even when we don’t intend to. When we get sober, we need to learn to engage with our fellows in a new way.
A community in recovery gives us this opportunity to interact in a new way. We can learn to support one another, learn what it means to have friends, and connect with others in a true way. These are things we don’t always learn in our using, and in recovery we can work with our fellows to learn what it means to be a member of a community and have healthy relationships with one another.
Encouragement and Accountability
The community we find in recovery can give us encouragement to grow and accountability when we make mistakes. Often, we shy away from facing our mistakes, and surround ourselves with people who encourage our using. As a clean and sober individual, you can use your community to help encourage you to grow, rather than to keep using.
When we have a healthy support network, we are held to standards. When we make a mistake, we have to take accountability. When we are working to stay sober, we are doing so not just for ourselves, but for our community. The community can greatly help us to be responsible and accountable as we see we are part of something important and bigger than just ourselves.
Having Fun in Recovery
Finally, a community in recovery can help us to have fun without drugs and alcohol. When we get sober, we may not know exactly what to do for fun without substances in our system altering our minds. A community can help us see that we can have fun, enjoy ourselves, and interact with others without drugs and alcohol.