In recovery from addiction, it is often necessary to give up old relationships and make major life changes, but going it alone is not a good idea. “Loneliness hangs over our culture today like a thick smog,” wrote Johan Hari in his 2018 book Lost Connections in which he sought to uncover “the real causes” of depression. Elsewhere the author of the bestseller Chasing The Scream, provocatively stated that “’the opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”
Recovery means connecting with your peers for mutual support and connecting with your local community. To that end, Futures Recovery Healthcare recently sponsored the inaugural Jupiter Recovery Day. The event brought members of the South Florida community together to honor and celebrate individuals in recovery from substance use or mental health disorders.
“Jupiter Recovery Day brought local businesses and community members together to highlight that recovery from substance use and mental health disorders is possible,” said Laura Kunz, Outreach and Community Liaison at Futures Recovery Healthcare. “There are many people living happy, healthy, and sober in this community. They are parents, employees, business owners, and students—people like you and me. It’s important that we all come together to spread a message of hope to the many in the Jupiter area who still need encouragement to recover.”
An event like Jupiter Recovery Day connects people in recovery with the rest of the community. It helps raise awareness of the disease and overcome the stigma still attached to it. Community events like these may also encourage people with substance use disorder to feel more confident about seeking treatment and less afraid of being judged because of their disease.
“It shows people that it is okay to be open about their recovery rather than hide such an important piece of themselves due to shame or fear of judgement.” said Kunz. “When people show up at these events, it shows others that they are not alone.”
Overcoming addiction is aided by connecting with supportive people, especially peers who have been going through similar experiences. Research shows that peer support and being part of a community significantly increase the chances of sustained recovery from addiction. The founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) realized that early on. The fellowship of peers is one of the central tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous since the foundation of the mutual support group in the 1930s.
Helping Others Is A Primary Theme in Recovery
Alcoholics Anonymous made service a major component of its system. Members are expected to take on responsibilities and help newer members on their path to recovery. Helping other people tends to put your own problems into perspective, something that can be of enormous benefit for a recovering addict. Rather than continuing to focus on your own troubles and the physical aspects of recovery, your attention turns outward focusing on other people’s needs.
One way of helping each other recover from addiction is by joining community-based recovery housing. Staying sober and living in a recovery residence among peers can help stabilize people in their early recovery. Such housemates may also hold each other accountable, another benefit of recovery residences. Futures has established partnerships with certified recovery residences within our local community and across the country to assist clients who would benefit from safe, supervised sober living.
Another way for Futures clients to stay connected is to become part of our vibrant alumni community upon completing treatment. The role of alumni relations and program participation plays a significant role in our treatment approach. Alumni programming helps active patients plan for ongoing care, establishes a supportive network, facilitates additional treatment if needed, and collects data on outcomes to improve program performance. Futures holds frequent alumni meetings, sober activities, and volunteer opportunities attended by Futures alumni and others in the local recovery community.
Isolation and lack of genuine support can be dangerous, especially if you are recovering from the disease of addiction. When it comes to our social species, “every human instinct is honed not for life on your own, but for life … in a tribe,” Hari wrote. Belonging to a “tribe” is particularly important for people in recovery.
Chasin a Dream, a charitable organization with the mission of providing individualized, life-changing assistance to families with children battling cancer, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and other life-threatening illnesses, was the primary beneficiary of Jupiter Recovery Day. Futures Recovery Healthcare would like to thank the partners who helped make the event successful, including Kula Yoga Shala, Blueline Surf and Paddle Co, F45 Training Jupiter, and The Woods Jupiter. We also thank our event sponsors Abaco Pools, The Snyder Group, Jupiter Island Estate Management, Eating Recovery Center, and Empower Therapy & Wellness. Stay tuned for announcements for next years’ Jupiter Recovery Day! #jupiterrecovers