Everyone needs help sometimes, especially when it comes to recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). In addiction treatment, you will be around others who are also working to overcome SUD or other co-occurring disorders. This sense of peer support can be extremely valuable to the recovery process.
What Are SUDs?
SUDs are recurring disorders marked by a physical or psychological dependence on substances. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), in 2021, 16.5% of the population had SUD. To put it into perspective, that is 46.3 million people in the United States alone who struggle with alcohol and drug use.
Having SUD can feel like an isolating experience. However, you should not hold onto your shame. There were many factors that contributed to the development of your disorder. It is important to remember that you are not alone. Actively seeking support and treatment can help you overcome the emotional distress that often accompanies a SUD diagnosis.
What Is Peer Support?
In addiction recovery, peers are individuals who also have SUD and are going through treatment. Peers are valuable throughout all parts of the recovery process. They can understand you and your experiences, cravings, and fears because they have gone through some of the same things. Additionally, they can also foster feelings of acceptance and validation.
Oftentimes, feelings of shame surface from judgemental stigma. In treatment, you are surrounded by others who also feel judged for their struggles. Peer support creates the acceptance and validation that an individual needs to challenge feelings of shame and establish their recovery.
Peer support varies. Some examples can include:
- Helping a peer find hope for recovery
- Setting treatment goals with peers
- Dispelling stereotypes of what living with a disorder looks like
- Sharing sober hobbies with others
While in treatment, you are going through group therapies and skill-building groups. In either group, you can expect to share your experiences and perspectives. It may feel weird at first, but talking through your thoughts and experiences can help with the healing process.
Being heard by someone who understands your experiences can give you a sense of relief and offer validation for any struggles you have experienced. They also bring their own experiences of living – and thriving – with SUD or mental health disorder.
Limitations of Peer Support
Peers are individuals with life experiences that can provide you with guidance and hope for recovery. However, peers are never meant to replace your therapists or other members of your treatment team. You must find a balance between utilizing peer support and professional support to ensure lasting healing and sobriety.
While peer support cannot provide you with all the healing help you need in treatment, the support can be crucial to your success. Likewise, sharing stories with other peers can provide vital life lessons and emphasize the power of recovery.
How Can Peers Support You Along the Way
Throughout treatment, the peers that you interact with will change. You may continue to work with certain people throughout residential treatment or group sessions. Still, some may complete their program before you, and others will join in at different times throughout your treatment journey. No matter where others stand in their recovery, each person will have experiential information that can help you navigate through your own healing.
Through each step of recovery, you can receive or give peer support. By giving peer support, you build your own confidence in your recovery.
Many different treatment programs and timelines exist, but at Lighthouse Recovery Texas, the first step of recovery and sobriety is sober living. Sober living can provide a stable environment for individuals as they enter treatment and transition to different treatment stages throughout recovery.
Lighthouse Recovery focuses on building sober communities with a supportive environment. By living with peers and having staff around, you get accountability and support through the hard parts of the evenings. Additionally, through group life-skills training, group programs, and clinical therapies, peers are able to support and comfort one another for sustainable sobriety.
When it comes to outpatient services, Lighthouse offers a partial hospitalization program (PHP) in Dallas and a Dallas intensive outpatient program (IOP). These programs are for only part of the day. After treatment, a person returns home. Outpatient services are often used as a transition out of residential treatment or for individuals that have personal responsibilities, such as work or school.
While participating in an outpatient program, peer support can be crucial to your success. If you live alone or go home to people who do not understand what you are going through in recovery, it can be discouraging and counterproductive. Having peers to turn to for support in those situations can influence lasting treatment engagement and lasting recovery success.
Have you gone through treatment before, but it didn’t help? Have the previous services you have tried failed to support and guide you through treatment? Find an individualized, goal-oriented, unique treatment program at Lighthouse Recovery Texas. We provide beautiful and tranquil sober living communities with peers who are healing and learning to manage SUDs, emotions, and behavior, just as you may be. At Lighthouse Recovery, we are here for you, not our profit. We want to make sure you succeed in your sobriety, which is why we offer sober living, extended care, and recovery coaching on top of our partial hospitalization and outpatient services. Contact us at (214) 396-0259 to find a program that will help you succeed.