As social creatures, we rely on close, loving relationships, and the support of others for our happiness, particularly during recovery.
A strong social identity is useful for reducing relapse and for long-term addiction recovery. You have to ask yourself, “Do I have a recovery identity or an addiction identity?” Supportive social relations can provide a first step in developing the essential recovery identity. With this identity, recovery addicts will feel less stigmatized. Their social network can provide emotional support, education, and guidance needed for success.
So often, we define ourselves by the company we keep, and for those in recovery, nurturing trusted friendships and relationships of support is crucial, not just for here and now, but for the future. - Alan Oviatt
At Access Foundation we promote and measure “Recovery Capital”. This is a term that was coined in 1999 by two researchers, Robert Granfield and William Cloud. It refers to the sum of resources that a recovering person has at their disposal to assist them in their recovery.
We measure social skills in Recovery Capital, including:
- Resilience: the ability to overcome difficulties
- Coping skills: skills that help us adapt and meet challenges
- Self-esteem: confidence in one’s own self-worth
We also measure social interactions, including:
- Intimacy: having connections to family, partners and friends
- Validation of new, positive values: receiving reassurance, support and acceptance as one’s values and morals are reassessed and updated
- Opportunities for learning: having mentors, advocates and teachers
Loneliness and isolation are the enemies of recovery
For those in recovery, engaging in social interactions can be outside their comfort zone. But no matter how awkward or painful it may be, it is social support that can make the difference between relapse and recovery.