What is Fellowship?
A fellowship could be any type of support group that you join in recovery. You’ve probably heard of some of the more well-known organizations, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery. Lakeside-Milam even has its own alumni network for this purpose.
Everyone in these groups has the same goal: life without addiction. By attending meetings and building relationships with other members, you grow together in sobriety. Read on to learn what a difference fellowship can make in the recovery process.
Breaking Through Isolation
While drugs and alcohol may initially propel their users into becoming social butterflies, it’s rare that they stay that way. The progressive disease of addiction eventually pushes its sufferers into increasing levels of isolation. Relationships with friends, family, and coworkers become strained as substance use takes over. Old hobbies or interests are second to using, and it’s difficult to connect with others. For this reason, it’s commonly said that addiction is the loneliest disease.
This is why it’s imperative to revisit your relationships in recovery. As you make amends and remove toxic people from your life, there will probably be gaps that need to be filled with new acquaintances. Loneliness and isolation are two of the biggest risk factors for relapse – it’s important to surround yourself with people who understand the reality of addiction, and who can support you throughout the recovery process.
Let Others Help You: Joining a Group
If you’re new to the fellowship, you’re in the perfect position to open up about your experience and receive support in return. Don’t worry about keeping score or trying to pay others back for their kindness – that will come with time. Your job now is to stay sober and keep attending these meetings. As you work the steps, you’ll acclimate and begin to give back to others (and even support more newcomers yourself).
At first, the outpouring of support in early recovery may feel overwhelming. You may even feel guilty that so many people are going out of their way to help you. This is completely normal. As time passes, you’ll grow to understand that service to others in the group strengthens sobriety.
Benefits of Fellowship in Early Recovery
Support – One of the key features of fellowship is emotional support. Early recovery is a turbulent time for everyone, and it can feel like your life has completely changed overnight. To put it simply, sobriety is a lifestyle change. You’ll experience a wide array of new feelings and will have to navigate complex social situations to maintain your recovery. When you feel yourself weakening, you’ll have a whole group of people to lean on. They’ll be there for you in times of stress and success, cheering you on.
Insight – By making friends and connecting with others, you’ll be able to turn to them for guidance and feedback. They’ll hear your stories and concerns, and will be able to provide insight to patterns you can’t see yourself. They may also have experienced similar challenges and could have valuable advice for your situation. This close-knit environment, combined with open communication, can help you to catch relapses before they happen.
Motivation – Being part of a sober support network will also inspire your recovery. By associating with people who are very established in their sobriety, you see that it is possible to sustain recovery for years to come. You can also learn tips and tricks that have worked for other members of your group. These environments inspire mutual accountability, keeping you from becoming complacent in your recovery.
Who Needs Fellowship in Sobriety?
The answer to this is simple: everyone, regardless of how much time they have, can benefit from joining one of the above groups. Fellowships in sobriety are comprised of people just like you, who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.
Choosing to associate with others with your same values can be one of the most rewarding choices you’ll make in recovery. By surrounding yourself with sober friends and neighbors, you’ll keep prioritizing your sobriety and working on it every day. You’ll also avoid falling into old traps, including reacting to triggers or spending time with old using friends. Put yourself first and stay on the path to a sober life.
Seattle-Area Sober Resources
Social support is one of the biggest factors in maintaining sobriety. If you or a loved one are interested in joining a fellowship group in the Seattle area, we encourage you to reach out to Lakeside-Milam at 800.231.4303 or browse our extensive resources section for more information.