One stereotype of recovery centers is that they are places where people hide to get better. People view recovery as a time where a person with addiction sequesters themself from society for treatment. The fear is that interacting with “regular people” will only tempt the person with addiction. However, the truth is that isolation from the community only encourages shame and worsens recovery. People who are recovering from addiction benefit more from human interaction than solitude. Here’s why community is important to our program and why we believe that not only is community integration safe, but it’s also a lifesaver.
Shame Only Becomes Isolation
Many know of the negative stigmas attached to addiction. These negative stereotypes and opinions tend to make others live in denial about their addiction. Those who think they might have an addiction hide it because they’re afraid of being judged. Being afraid to share or talk about their addiction, they find themselves feeling even more alone. People who are ashamed of their addiction are less likely to get help when they need it. The shame they feel ends up causing them to isolate themselves, leaving them without anyone to reach out to for help.
Having an addiction often co-occurs with other mental health disorders that can cause a person to feel isolated. Having an addiction can be damaging to relationships with friends and family. Isolation could be the worst-case scenario for someone struggling with addiction. Once a person begins isolating themselves, they can find themselves in a seemingly never-ending cycle.
The Cycle of Isolation and Addiction
The isolation caused by shame only worsens a person’s addiction. Someone with addiction is unlikely to reach out to others. Their brains tell them not to seek help. The only way to end this cycle is to engage with their community. A solid support system is fundamental in maintaining recovery. However, this becomes difficult for a person who’s alone.
When they are experiencing addiction, they feel judged by society and might feel scared to seek help or support. They feel guilty about what they are dealing with but are afraid to reach out for fear of rejection. The only thing that can really end the cycle of shame and isolation is community engagement.
Recovery Hinges On Community Engagement
A vital part of recovery is connecting with others. During treatment, clients make real human connections with those in the Jaywalker community, as well as those who we serve in the community. Long-term recovery has a higher chance of success through community partnerships and community-driven activities. This is why we include service as an important part of our programs.
Through our transitional Solutions program, our clients are encouraged to engage in the local community either as part-time students or by securing a part-time job. We recommend reconnecting with the community during recovery as a way to build a positive support system outside of treatment. Interacting with the community improves the lives of our clients by giving them room to grow. At Jaywalker, our residents are able to engage with our community and feel like they are a part of the family.
Community Connection Ends The Stigma
Involvement in the community helps those in recovery be seen. They aren’t at the margins of society. Our community of Carbondale is familiar with the Lodge and its positive impact on our community. Visibility helps end the negative perceptions that people often have towards those with addiction. The connections our clients make in the community help humanize those with addiction. They aren’t perceived as burdens to society, but full-fledged people who want to get better. The engagement felt in the community can be life-changing and life-saving.
People Who Give Back
Those at Jaywalker are known in the community as people who give back. They help in any way they can, from local charity events to rebuilding areas around the country struck by natural disasters. One of the ways we connect with the community is through service. Doing things for others helps our clients connect to the bigger picture.
Service is an enormous part of the 12-step philosophy because of how much of an impact helping others can have on someone’s addiction. The power of service can change the perspective of others on that person, as well as how they feel about themselves. Doing something good for others can leave someone with really great feelings. The shame and guilt felt begin to feel like humility instead. A person who serves their community can feel the joy of giving back to others.
Community and human connection are vital parts of the recovery process. Those who have a healthy support system are more willing to reach out when they are in need of help. Shame is a huge reason why many are afraid to seek help, but unfortunately, addiction can cause those with addiction to isolate. The best way to break the cycle is through human connection. That’s why Jaywalker Lodge feels so passionately about community connection. Forming a healthy system of support becomes the basis of long-term recovery. Those your clients meet in the community become those who are there when you need them. Community interaction removes the barriers that a person might have for wanting to seek help. They feel secure and safe because they have a community that cares. If you’re interested in learning more about how Jaywalker Lodge serves the community and how you can help, contact us today at (866) 529-9255.
As Chief Executive Officer Bill provides leadership and manage all day-to-day operations of Jaywalker Lodge, an extended care residential addiction treatment program for adult men.