Facilitating recovery with peer support

2007_0118walpole0167I emphasise three main elements to helping people recover from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Firstly, we must empower people, as recovery comes from the person (not the practitioner). They do the work in overcoming their substance use problems. We can empower people by providing hope, understanding and a sense of belonging.  

Secondly, people need internal resources (e.g. self-esteem, resilience) and external resources (e.g. family support, peer support) – recovery capital – to help them on their journey to recovery. They also need the basic essentials of living, i.e. roof over their head, money, someone who cares about them.  

Thirdly, recovering people need to be connected to other people who can help them gain necessary resources for their recovery journey. It is very important to connect recovering people to other recovering people who can inspire and teach them, and provide support.

Being connected to other recovering people is also important because it allows a recovering person to help other people – ‘giving back’ is known to be therapeutically beneficial.  

I always encourage people who are starting their recovery journey to find a peer support group. In the Resources section of this website, I have provided a set of links to well-known peer support groups. If you are in the early stages of your recovery journey, please use these links to find out where the nearest peer support is to you. [And please do the same if you are further along in your journey and need support).

These peer support have their own ‘philosophy’ underlying their form of support. I’ll be discussing these in later blogs. Other forms of support are available (e.g. recovery communities) that are not specifically linked to a particular philosophy. They recognise that recovery can be achieved by a multitude of different pathways. In fact, some people use various different forms of peer support to get better.  

I’ll be talking about recovery communities in future blogs. I’ll also be looking at the factors that enable peer support to facilitate recovery from addiction. There is some information about these factors on our peer support web page.

I hope you find this web page useful. Do let us know what you think, please.