Every single person battling with drug or alcohol addiction needs a support system. The path to recovery should never be walked alone.
A support group is a critical aspect of a person’s recovery plan because it can help prevent relapse and improve emotional, mental, and spiritual health. Those who do not have a group of supportive individuals to turn to typically become depressed, withdraw from social interactions, and are more likely to go back to abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.
However, growing one of these systems does not happen overnight. For some people, it can take months to develop a solid support system, especially if they are shy. Understandably, not everyone has the ability to be vulnerable and talk about their past experiences with illicit substances. At Ardu Recovery Center, we understand that addiction can impact a person’s self-esteem and ability to create meaningful relationships.
In today’s blog, our experts will provide you with guidance to help you find the perfect support group.
Support System Defined
Often, these groups are comprised of people who are already in your corner. They will not judge or ridicule you, and they will always have your best interests at heart. These people will always have a positive impact on your personal goals. These people can be family, friends, or even acquaintances; you may talk to some of them almost every day, and you may only talk to others occasionally.
Before you allow someone into your support group, however, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I trust this person?
- Do I feel respected by this person?
- Does this person highlight my best qualities?
- Does this person allow me to feel confident about myself?
- Do I end every interaction with this person on a positive note?
Now that we have defined support networks, you may be wondering how to actually build a healthy one.
How to Create a Support System When You Are Shy
One of the main reasons some people lack a support network is because they may be too shy. If you fall under this category, you may find comfort in knowing that you are very much not alone. According to PsychCentral, “ Survey results vary, but conclude that somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of all adults report being shy, or identify more as someone who is shy. Shyness can be a component of being an introvert, but not all shy people are introverts.” Essentially, half of the population considers themselves shy.
In our years of service, we have met several people across Utah who have struggled to find like-minded individuals they can rely on, and this is not their fault. In many ways, creating a meaningful support network is an art, and breaking away from shyness is no easy feat. Below are a few tips to help you open up a little more.
Notice Your Non-Verbal Communication Skills
Take a close look at your non-verbal communication skills: are you coming off as approachable? Make sure you are doing the following:
- Make direct eye contact
- Angle your body and face toward other people you are talking to
- Making sure you are standing close, but not too close
By working on your nonverbal communication skills, you will begin to feel less shy. For nearly everyone, eye contact goes a long way.
Sharpen Your Listening Skills
When you are talking to someone, make sure you are constantly providing affirmations to what they say. After all, communication is not just about talking—listening is equally important. Remember to nod your head to show that you are listening and care about what they say. Allow them to finish without interrupting, and ask follow-up questions to express interest in what was just said.
Ask Open Questions
Come up with a couple of “open questions,” which are questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” These questions are designed to start conversations and keep them going, whereas “yes” or “no” questions may have a tendency of ending conversations on a short, awkward note. Depending on the scenario, you can ask questions such as:
- What is your opinion about this class? What other classes are you planning to take?
- How is your job going?
- I am looking for a new show to watch—what have you been watching lately?
- Do you have any book recommendations?
- What did you do this weekend?
We hope this advice gives you the strength to approach social situations with more conviction. However, you may be wondering: how do I actually meet new people?
Tips to Reach out to New People When You Are Shy
- Take a class or join a club based on your interests so that you can meet similar people.
- Become part of a volunteer organization; this is an excellent way to meet others, and donating some of your free time will also make you feel good about yourself.
- Ask an acquaintance you would like to get to know better to go for a walk or run or to the gym with you.
- Join a religious or spiritual community.
- Start a conversation with someone who is alone at a gathering.
- Plan a movie night with acquaintances or roommates and ask each person to invite a new person.
- Talk to some people from your treatment center who may be facing the same struggles as you. You can reach out to people who are part of your group therapy sessions.
- Leave your phone in your bag or pocket when you are at an event; if you are distracted by your screen, it is unlikely someone will approach you.
How a Healthy Support System Will Help You Become Sober
It is worth repeating again: the road to sobriety will be difficult, if not impossible, without a reliable group of people you can trust. Building a support system that consists of people who care about your wellbeing will also help you hold yourself accountable. The first few months without drugs or alcohol will be an adjustment, and you may be craving the substance you are trying to break free from.
This is when your support group will catch you and guide you through the right path again. They will make sure you become and stay sober. Any time you have a craving, you can easily text or call a trusted member and let them know about your struggles. They will gladly listen to you and help you find healthy distractions from your cravings.
Ardu Recovery Center Cares
You may think that you have your addiction under control, but having a support system by your side to cheer you on will make your recovery exponentially easier. At Ardu Recovery Center, we are all about cultivating a sense of community. When you walk through our doors, we promise that you will never be alone.
Whether you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we promise to get you the help you need through the following treatment modalities: individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, mindfulness activities, and more. Get in touch with one of our friendly representatives today. We are located in beautiful Provo, Utah.