Building Your Social Support Network

4 categories of social support network

Professional care team

Working with a trusted team of doctors, mental health professionals, nutritionists, etc., helps to ensure that our physical and emotional health is well cared for. Many practitioners operate on a sliding-scale fee based on income, if these services feel out of reach to you financially. These professionals are often also helpful to turn to when you need guidance about something you don’t feel comfortable sharing with those you are close with.

Alcohol-free peers, teachers, + mentors

There are so many alcohol-free communities ready to welcome you with open arms! There’s a wide variety of traditional 12-step programs like AA and NA. There are also many communities outside of the 12-steps, like SMART Recovery and Refuge Recovery, and Women in Recovery. There is a vibrant alcohol-free community on social media, with people from all walks of life. Young, old, parents, students, professionals, LGBTQIA+, and everything in between. In these communities, you’ll find supportive peers who understand what you’re going through. You may even find mentors and teachers among those who have traveled this path for longer than you have. We often feel alone and isolated when we choose to quit drinking, but the truth is, there are so many folks out there just like us.

When we’ve found “our people” and have determined who among our friends and family we can lean on in this time, it’s important to communicate openly with them. Let them know how they can best support your choice to live alcohol-free, and what warning signs to look for when you’re feeling stressed or might drink again. Establish which forms of communication (like text, phone call, email, etc.) are most supportive for you. Have a communication plan in place -- know exactly when and how you’ll reach out to them when you need a hand.

And then return the favor for them in their time of need, if that feels like something you can safely hold. Becoming someone our friends and family can count on again is one of the richest rewards of alcohol-free living.