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Sharing the Addiction Story: Addicts Helping Addicts in Recovery

Isolation. Hopelessness. Shame. These feelings are common among individuals who are or have been addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s easy to forget these feelings are common among addicted individuals. As a former addict, you can help an addict feel welcome in the recovery community by sharing your unique story. How You Can Help It’s a fact of life that hearing others share stories that are similar to your own is a tremendous comfort. When you share your addiction story, you lessen the feelings of shame and isolation that others are experiencing — just as yours were lifted after a trusted recovery friend shared his experiences with you. Feeling alone and isolated are known factors in substance abuse, but when you help others feel a part of the recovery community, you increase their chances of staying sober. You also put a friendly human face on addiction recovery. There are other ways you can support a fellow addict, such as:  Listening without judgment. You already know how lousy being addicted feels. Don’t make the problem worse by blaming a fellow addict for his problems. Listen attentively, and don’t judge. Offer your opinions when asked, and not before.  Creating camaraderie. Life is more fun when you’re among friends. Don’t hesitate to share when you recognize a recovering friend’s emotions. Spend time together doing healthy activities, and help each other avoid the triggers that lead to relapse.  Avoiding trouble together. Be there for your friend, day or night. Try new activities together that don’t involve drinking or using. Make a habit of exercising or eating together regularly. Your time together doesn’t always have to involve talking about relapse prevention or managing stressful feelings. Sometimes, you can just have fun. The more you have fun, the easier staying sober will be. Recognize Trouble Signs You already know that most addicted individuals lapse or fully relapse at least once. If your recovering friend falls off the wagon, pay close attention for signs that he might be using again. When one lapse turns into a week-long bender, it’s time to reevaluate whether going back to rehab is necessary. Remember, friendship goes both ways. If it’s you who has started using again, you should be prepared for your friend to confront you about it. When an addict helps an addict stay sober, it’s all about honesty and accountability — and that road is a two-way street. The Ranch PA Can Help You 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week If you’re concerned that your friend has started using again, The Ranch PA is here. Call us for more information, no matter if it’s day or night. From intervention to helping your friend enroll in our residential rehab program, we are here to help. (Photo via)

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