How to Build a Sober Support System

sober support system

Your time in rehab is complete. You championed through detox and inpatient care and came out stronger on the other side. Ready to start life anew, fresh and clean. You’ve likely covered it during your treatment or, at minimum, thought about it already but who you’re going to surround yourself with after you get back out and into the world is a decision that carries a lot of weight. Developing and having a sober support system makes a huge difference in the lifelong journey that is recovery. Keep reading to hear why Newport Beach Recovery thinks it’s important to have a sober support system. 

Why Having a Sober Support System Is Important

First and foremost, a sober support system can help you deal with triggers and the stress they can cause. If left to your own devices those could easily lead to a potential relapse.

There’s an old saying that has a few variations but the most popular versions are; “show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” and “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”. The meaning is essentially the same in both, who you hang out with or surround yourself with dictates a lot about you and what you do. If most of your time is spent with people struggling with addiction you’re much more likely to find yourself doing the same.

If your network and support system is populated with sober people, you’ll find it significantly easier to stick with a sober life.

How to Build a Sober Support System

Is this a classic case of easier said than done? Not so much, sure meeting new people isn’t the easiest thing for everyone but neither is acknowledging you need help and entering a treatment program. Now that is tough. Making friends is a breeze after that.

A few recommendations though:

Attend Outpatient Treatment

The continuation of your inpatient experience, outpatient treatment is the logical next step in your recovery. You still get the benefits of hands-on, proper and in-depth treatment but with the convenience of not living in the facility.  This is a good resource for building your network because much like inpatient care, outpatient treatment involves plenty of group work from counseling to activities. 

Go to 12-Step Meetings

A core feature of programs like 12-step is the emphasis on group work and being present with other people. Going to regular meetings becomes a staple of your schedule and as you get more and more comfortable, friendships start to blossom.

On top of that, and perhaps most importantly, in these programs you’ll find a sponsor, someone who fits with your personality and that you get along with well, who will take you through the steps and that you can lean on. This becomes a monumentally important relationship and you’ll learn immensely from their perspective and the fact that they’ll be further along in their recovery.

Eventually, after enough time in a program, you’ll be in the position to sponsor someone newly sober. Which leads to the following great option.

Help Others Who Are Struggling

This is actually part of the 12-step programs and they often sum it up as “you can’t keep it unless you give it away”. In other words, helping someone else who has struggled with drug or alcohol addiction can, in turn, help you stay on your path of recovery. It serves as a reminder of how far you’ve come and knowing you’re helping and creating real change in someone’s life can lift your self-esteem tremendously as well.

Get Help With Addiction at Newport Beach Recovery

At Newport Beach Recovery we understand the incredible importance of helping you or your loved one develop a sober support system after finishing treatment. Get in touch with us to learn more about the variety of group work we offer as part of our outpatient treatment program as well as additional resources for making your transition to sober living a long term success.

Do Drugs & Alcohol Affect Women Differently Than Men?

drugs and alcohol affect women and men differently

Maybe it’s not something you’ve considered because you’ve always been under the impression that drugs and alcohol are just drugs and alcohol, so the same substances should have the same effect on all of us. Logically speaking, that makes, taking or drinking the same thing should yield the same result. Well, like with most things related to the sexes, there are differences in how our bodies deal with these toxins, some slight and some severe.

These subtleties serve as a reminder that while we’re all in this recovery together, men and women, it’s important to understand our unique differences. 

How Drugs and Alcohol Affect Women Differently Than Men

In general, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institute of Health, “women are more sensitive to the consumption and long-term effects of alcohol and drugs than men. From absorption to metabolic processes, women display more difficulty in physically managing the consequences of use”.

Now that we know that there is, in fact, a stark difference, what exactly is it?

 

Drugs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes these nuances in effects that run the gamut of drugs;

  • Marijuana –This impairs spatial memory in women more than men. Women also tend to have more panic attacks and anxiety disorders related to cannabis use.
  • Cocaine and meth – Women tend to be more susceptible to the rewarding effects of these drugs and that serves to hook them faster. With meth specifically, not in terms of effect, but in usage motivation, weight loss is a huge motivating factor in why they started using.
  • MDMA – The hallucinations experienced on MDMA are said to be stronger for women.
  • Heroin – Women are more likely to overdose in the first years of use than men.
  • Prescription opioids – Studies point to the possibility that women are more sensitive to pain than men so end up taking prescription opioids at higher rates, misuses leading to fatal overdoses.
  • Prescription anti-anxiety and sleep aids – Women are at higher risk for insomnia and anxiety and are thus prescribed these drugs to help with central nervous system issues more frequently. Women are thus at higher risk of dying from overdoses from meds for mental health.

 

Alcohol

Women, without question, are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than men. Alcohol is simply processed differently in the body based on variations in our body types. Women’s bodies, on average, contain less water so the concentration of alcohol is higher in women after consuming a similar amount than men. In other words, women tend to get more drunk from less alcohol than men.

Women also tend to be more vulnerable to liver damage and brain damage related to prolonged alcohol use. Drinking increases the risk of having unprotected sex therefore open up the possibility to potentially unwanted pregnancy or disease transmission. Increased risk of being a victim of violence comes with increased alcohol use. Alcohol is also associated with a higher risk of breast cancer in some women.

 

What to Do If You Think You Have an Addiction

Given the vast differences in how we experience drugs and alcohol, and the effects they have on our bodies, it’s important to reach out to people and professionals that understand your specific needs as a woman. Just like there are differences in the effects of drugs and alcohol there are also differences in how we can go about treating those addicted to them.

If you think you or your loved one, a friend, mother, daughter, aunt, etc. have an addiction to drugs or alcohol or are concerned you may be going down the wrong path, get in touch with us at Newport Beach Recovery Center. Providing robust treatment options specifically for women is what we know best.