Recovery alone is far more difficult than recovery with support. When someone decides to end the cycle of substance abuse, an ally can be an essential tool in achieving the best outcome. An ally can help to keep the person in recovery motivated to stay the course.
An ally is far more than just a friend or companion; however, and they do more than simply encourage people to become or remain sober. They are partners on the recovery journey, perhaps on a similar path of recovery themselves. They can be the proverbial light when the chance of recovery seems impossible.
An Ally Is a Lens
Recovery is a reflective process. The person in recovery needs to identify the causes for their addiction and the potential triggers for relapse. An ally can help a person look at themselves in a balanced way.
It’s easy to avoid hard questions, and this is where acting as the lens is necessary, ensuring that the person seeking sobriety looks at these questions and answers them accurately and honestly. However, as a lens an ally needs to reveal the whole picture, delicately acknowledging the parts that need confronting, while keeping the person seeking sobriety from only focusing on the negative. When someone is recovering from addiction they are trying to move away from an unbalanced and dark place that could negatively affect their self-esteem and self-image. It can be easy to slip into the negative space of their past and this is where an ally can help keep them focused on the present and moving into the future in a positive way.
An ally as a lens can help bring in to focus the things that are most important for that person’s recovery process and help them move in the right direction for positive change.
An Ally Is a Confidant
A person in recovery can have a lot to get off their chest - years of guilt, self-doubt, trauma, and more – and an ally as a confidant can be a safe space for this person to confess anything they need to say. A good ally should be a person who can listen without judgement and without trying to provide solutions or fix the person. Simply be a safe sounding board and listening ear.
This can be one of the hardest roles as an ally. Allowing the person in recovery to get things off their chest, some of which may be hard to hear and listen to, while not judging or offering advice. But it’s important to remember that this can be a crucial step in healing and moving on from the past.
An Ally Is an Honest Friend
As an honest friend, an ally cannot be afraid of speaking truth and telling the person in recovery things that may be hard or uncomfortable to say. An ally may be hesitant, not wanting to hurt the person, but it is sometimes necessary to be blunt and honest when a person is seeking recovery. The person in recovery needs to hear the truth or may need a wake-up call, and sugar coating or avoiding the truth will never benefit someone’s recovery process.
Being an Ally Does Not End With Recovery
Recovery is an ongoing process. A sober friend might still need an ally years down the road. This does not mean that an ally is obligated to supporting the person in recovery forever though. If you become an ally to someone you may find that, over time, you have also gained an ally for yourself when times get tough.