What is a support network? Well, in recovery, it’s a group of people that you incorporate into your day to day to help you remain abstinent. Every person you include can help you deactivate your triggering events, be a person to vent to, cry to, laugh with or whatever.
Remember, who you add is up to you. Sometimes you need to watch and listen before you add ANYONE to your network. Keep this in mind, everyone in treatment or in the rooms may not be serious about recovery! That’s why you have to watch, listen, screen, ask questions of the person you choose to include. YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON ADDING WORTHY INDIVIDUALS. And this could include people that you would like to work 12 steps with, to mentor you, spiritual leaders or friends, therapists. . . Any person that you think will add value to your group.
Again, before making these choices, complete a pros and cons list for the people. Act like you are hiring these people. Ask serious questions about their lives and their recovery. Ask how long they have been clean, who is their sponsor or mentor, how are they staying abstinent.
Here is a hand out that you can print and use for building your own group.
And yet again, you can use this one as a guide to create your own flow
It took my oldest daughter years to forgive me for my heroin addiction. When she was between 6 and 7, I started using morphine (in Baltimore, we call it raw dope). Everything was okay for the first 5 years. Then I started losing jobs and going to jail. As I slipped farther and farther into my addiction, my mother and step-father had to take over the parental role as her guardians’.
While I am thankful for all they did for her, it actually allowed me to slide farther down the rabbit hole. They were my main enablers. They took over the responsibility for her allowing me to run the street and do what I wanted to do. I knew she was well provided for and I took advantage of their love for her as I steadily got worse.
I didn’t realize the impact that my addiction had on that precious little girl. She was so beautiful and bright! I thought that I had done the right thing by letting my parents step in. But in the end, she wanted her mom so desperately and I was unavailable to her. I was dead to all but the call of my lover, the one who numbed all of my pain; heroin.
When we get our lives back, one thing that we cannot do is make up for all those years of hurt and pain. We can only ask for forgiveness. Sometimes it is given freely and sometimes it takes years of hard work to earn back some semblance of trust. Between my daughter and me, well, it took years. Now, it’s 16 years later and I can say that we have a good relationship.
But, hon, the first 5 years was hell on earth for me. Every time she felt hurt or slighted in any way, she would lash out with the fury of a woman scorned. Her words were weapons, and she was a master at arms. I would try to remain calm, but we all know that sooner or later, when we are reminded of the heinous acts and lack of action, we snap. While we can start at the point of our recovery and try to build from there, don’t expect to earn their trust over night.
We were both raw, sensitive and when the dust cleared, we were both broken and bleeding. The good news is that eventually, we came to an understanding. The knock out, drag out fights happened less and less and a truce arose. One thing that we both learned was that we were a lot alike. We feel things deeply and powerfully. We know that we can’t talk about things that we disagree on, because that opens the door for war.
She learned over time, that I had really changed. I could be motherly, a shoulder to cry on, a cheerleader, an advocate and someone she could finally trust. I learned that if I needed an ear, she would listen….mostly. She still aggravates me when I call and think she is listening only to find out she’s not. I get mad and hang up. But should she need me, I come a running.
So, yeah, it took years and years of me showing up in our relationship. It took me walking out my recovery before her eyes, in word and deed. I had to put the work in. I had to prove to her that I was worthy of her. Eventually that mother daughter thing took root and began to grow into a beautiful and living thing.
But make no mistake, I had to earn that trust. Was it easy? Hell to the no it wasn’t easy. Was it worth it? Yes!!! Every argument, every derogatory remark, every knock down drag out, every tear, every “I’m so sorry” all of it. I wouldn’t change one thing about it, because it has made us stronger, better mothers and women in general.
If someone she knows is struggling with addiction, she is confident in my ability to counsel, give advice and just listen. I love that too! I look at it as her ultimate stamp of approval of what I have evolved into…that drill sergeant that can whip a recruit into a lean mean recovery machine. So….this is for my miracle baby that allowed me to gain the trust of those wretched years! This is a tribute to my Jennifer Marie.
Because of my kids, I fight on! I show up every day 24/7/365! It’s a lifestyle not a profession. And I fight on for your kids, your moms and dads, husbands and wives as well as your brothers and sisters. I take a stand in the trenches so that one day, you will have the opportunity to gain the trust of all those that prayed and cried over you as you did your dirt.
As always, press in, hang tough and just do it! Until next time.