Long Term Addiction Recovery Requires A Village: Here’s How To Make It Work
It takes courage and determination to choose the path of addiction recovery. It means giving up deeply ingrained destructive habits and choosing a whole new way of life. People in recovery experience stigma and grief over their past and the issues drinking and using created for them and their family.
We think everyone in recovery is a hero and needs respect and dignity. Why? Because recovery is a challenging time, and it can be even more difficult when you feel like you have no one in your corner. Your recovery should help you feel safe in all aspects of your life, so you should also strive to help others feel welcome and accommodated in their safe spaces. Inclusivity is the best way to help everyone feel seen, so by implementing ways for everyone to feel welcome and accepted at recovery meetings, you may help them on their journey through recovery.
1. Offer Childcare
People with children often miss out on opportunities they want or need to attend to because they don’t have childcare options. It’s speculated that many parents drop out of school because they don’t have time to do the work. Without free and affordable childcare, many people aren’t able to do certain things, even if those activities would be best for them.
If you want your recovery meetings to be inclusive, consider offering free childcare. Someone may volunteer to watch children during the meeting, or you could hire someone to take care of them. You want everyone in recovery to be able to focus on themselves during your time together. Offering childcare is just one of the many ways to make healing accessible for everyone who needs it.
Once you notice how many social functions revolve around alcohol, it’s difficult to ignore. Still, you can create an environment of fun without including any alcohol in your plans. You can schedule a day for everyone to go out and have fun at an arcade or restaurant. You might also want to emphasize that mocktails can be just as great as drinks loaded with alcohol. Show people they don’t need certain substances to have a good time, and they should feel included in the scene, no matter where they go in the future.
Sometimes, if it’s easier for everyone, you may choose to host your meetings online. That way, everyone can make it to the meeting without worrying about a ride or finding someone to watch children or pets for them. If online meetings aren’t an option for everyone, consider at least having a way for people to tune in if they cannot make it. Even if they’re not there in person, they can still listen to everyone and contribute their experiences.
Choose to host your meetings somewhere that everyone can access. Following ADA compliance guidelines can ensure that everyone can make it to your meeting without any issues, no matter how they get from place to place. ADA compliance is short for the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design must be accessible to those with disabilities.You might want to take ADA compliance a step further and find accessible areas for childcare as well. The space you choose for your meetings should be accessible for both children and adults, whether they might have physical or cognitive difficulties, so families don’t need to be separated.
You might have people in your meetings that don’t go by standard gender pronouns. To help everyone feel included, try using the pronouns “they” and “them,” even when talking about a single individual. That way, you aren’t assuming anyone’s pronouns, and everyone can feel more included than if you used the phrase “him or her.”
Stay away from offensive terms. If you’re unsure whether you should remove something from your vocabulary, research it first. See what people have to say about the term and whether they’re okay with it or if they prefer something else. Language is always evolving, so you should try to stay on top of the most accepted terminology and seek to help everyone feel accepted.
6. Offer Translations For Addiction Recovery
At one of your meetings, take note of people who speak another language or can’t communicate in English well. Learn from them, then take action. You might need a translator who can work with one of your members one-on-one, so they can still contribute to the meeting and understand what everyone else is saying. You may also want an ASL translator to help people who are hard of hearing communicate with others.
7. Provide Educational Addiction Recovery Resources
Consider bringing pamphlets or having online resources available for attendees to look at to understand more about how they can promote inclusivity during times of recovery. Having educational resources available to those who want them can help people from minority groups feel seen and heard.
While someone may never understand the difficulties of a certain group unless they’ve lived through their experiences, they can understand the challenges they might face every day. From there, they can strive to help people feel included in every aspect of life, not just recovery.
Each individual is bound to experience different roadblocks on their way to recovery. Your job is to provide them with a safe outlet that allows them to express themselves fully and feel included in the safest place they can be. By ensuring that others feel included, you can be sure that they’ll participate in discussions and share their recovery stories with everyone. After all, the most important thing that everyone needs during recovery, no matter their background, is support.
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life.