The Value of Support When Coping with Depression and Anxiety

When you are in recovery, having adequate support can literally be the difference between staying clean or going into relapse. This may sound extreme, but it is the truth. Support is absolutely essential to recovery and in many ways, it is the foundation of recovery. As an alcoholic, you will likely face more challenges and temptations than someone who is addicted to say, heroin or methamphetamine. This is because alcohol is a legal substance, there are many more commercials for alcohol found on billboards, in magazines and even seen as sponsorships for various events.

When you struggle with depression and/or anxiety, it is very important to have a healthy, open support network in place. As a default, many alcoholics drink alcohol as a way of coping with stress. The problem is stress does not go away when you get clean. It always exists and will always exist as a part of life. If you struggle with depression, while alcohol may seem to help the problem—at least temporarily—but over the long-term, alcohol actually makes you more depressed because it is a depressant. According to David DiSalvo writing for Psychology Today, depression can even lead to a relapse for those who struggle with alcohol. The depressive symptoms from alcohol are greatest when an individual first gets sober, so those in recovery with a history of depression should be carefully monitored during the early stages of withdrawal. In addition, those who are alcoholics and also have depression are at a higher risk for suicide as alcohol can exaggerate depression, increase impulsiveness, and impair judgment. Here are some specific ways that support can help you in your recovery.

Support Gives You Encouragement

When you have support, you also have encouragement. At times this can be shown in many different ways, from just spending time with a friend at the gym for accountability or having an individual stay over when he or she is struggling with thoughts of relapse. Encouragement also leads to hope. Hope is very powerful and lets the person in recovery know that the future is brighter. He can not only survive without alcohol or any other addiction, but even thrive and live a happy life. Support also gives additional lines of defense during times of temptation.

Support Lets You Know You Are Not Alone

Without support, an individual must rely solely on their own willpower and their own emotions. Research has shown that our brains are prone to overestimating our amount of willpower at the points where we are most liable to fail and our bodies naturally deplete the amount of self-control left as the day goes on. If you are depressed or anxious in the evening and by yourself, you are going to face more struggles. But if you have support with you who is fighting for you and cheering you on, you will do better.

Support Can Help Hold You Accountable

When you have a support, you are held responsible for the actions you take. If you decide to make bad or unhealthy choices, those in your support network are there to ask the difficult questions. If it is just up to you and how you feel, you may try to rationalize a relapse or even ignore some choices you have made. This is why it is so important to stay open and honest with those who are aiding in your recovery. You must maintain constant communication with those in your support group. When you do, you strengthen your relationship with each individual and you also are going to have more safeguards against relapse.

One of the most important parts of living a sober life is having a support network in place. If you do not have one yet, please immediately call a family member or close friend so you can start getting the support you need. But don’t stop there, go to a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous and talk about how you feel. You can find great support there with fellow alcoholics who face the same struggles. Connect with the individuals there and over time you can find a sponsor who can give you personal attention regarding your recovery. Don’t forget about your doctor and your therapist either.

Find the Support You Need Today

There are many different options available to find support today to help you maintain your sobriety and get healthy. Don’t make excuses, just dive in and get connected with others so you can build your support network.

If you need some help in finding support, please call our toll-free helpline and talk to one of our counselors anytime, 24 hours a day. They have been trained specifically in the area of substance abuse and can answer all of your questions. There is no obligation and the call is absolutely free. Don’t hesitate—take the necessary steps to move forward.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email