Why Support Is Key to Alcohol Recovery

RISE Recovery & Integration Services is a national organisation providing services to adults struggling with drug and alcohol problems, along with their family members and the professionals they work with in recovery. The organisation has been offering pop-up cafés at various locations around the country, but now they are planning to open a permanent café in Exeter to support those in recovery. Their efforts provide a perfect illustration of why support is necessary as a key to alcohol recovery.

RISE officials say the new café is all about providing a place at which people can come together and access a network of resources. Café patrons will not only be able to use RISE facilities to seek out and access treatment, but also to meet and interact with others who are struggling with the same problems. They hope the café will be used by people on both ends of the recovery spectrum – those whose journeys are just beginning and those who have already completed the formal part of recovery via professional treatment.

The Risk of Isolation

RISE has no illusions that establishing a permanent recovery café in Exeter will ultimately wipe out drug and alcohol abuse in that community. They are doing what they do based on their understanding that the isolation experienced by substance abusers is a frightening enemy. When users are isolated, they are significantly less likely to seek treatment for their problems. The same is true after rehab has been completed. Those who return to a life of isolation are more likely to relapse.

Why is isolation such a problem? Because it encourages substance abusers to focus their attentions on the negative rather than the positive. Isolation also prevents most substance abusers from finding an outlet for their emotions and energies, further encouraging them to plunge deeper into abuse. Bringing those in recovery into a community of mutual support changes that dynamic.

Support Takes Many Forms

Using support as one of the many tools of successful alcohol recovery means allowing it to take a number of different forms. For example, one of the most common forms of support is the 12-step recovery model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. This model establishes a fellowship group in a local community, inviting those struggling with alcohol to participate. The 12-step model helps by offering group counselling and mutual accountability and support for men and women all struggling with the same issues.

Support may also take the form of monitored work programmes for those who have already completed professional rehab. There are plenty of examples of this kind of support all around the country. For example, you might find a local coffee shop staffed primarily by recovering alcoholics transitioning back into everyday life. On the other side of town, there may be a small manufacturing company that regularly finds places for recovering alcoholics who need work.

The whole idea of supporting those in recovery is to focus their minds, efforts, and energies on a new life free of substance abuse. A refocused mind is much more likely to stay away from alcohol in the future because that refocused mind finds meaning and purpose for life outside of substance abuse. This is exactly what RISE and other similar organisations are trying to accomplish.

Professional treatment is something the UK needs to concentrate more resources on in order to help alcoholics and drug users. Yet we should also give equal attention to support. When support is readily available alongside treatment, those in recovery stand a much better shot at permanently overcoming their substance-abuse problems.


  1. Express & Echo – http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Exeter-home-permanent-recovery-caf/story-26848615-detail/story.html
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