Family and Social Support in Helping Veterans Maintain Sobriety
“Strength and Honor”
Family and social support can play a critical role in helping veterans maintain sobriety. Substance use disorders (SUDs) are often connected to social isolation, lack of social support, and difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships. Therefore, family and social support can be essential in helping veterans establish and maintain a support system that promotes sobriety.
Research suggests that family support is one of the strongest predictors of successful recovery from addiction. Families can provide emotional support, help with daily living activities, and even participate in treatment alongside the veteran. The involvement of family members can also help to reduce the risk of relapse.
In addition to family support, social support from peers and community members can also be critical in helping veterans maintain sobriety. Peer support groups, such as Veterans in Recovery, can provide a safe and supportive environment where veterans can connect with others who have had similar experiences.
Community organizations and programs that promote social engagement and activities, such as volunteering or participating in sports teams, can also help veterans maintain sobriety by providing opportunities for positive social interaction and a sense of purpose.
Social support can also be effective in addressing co-occurring mental health conditions, which are common among veterans with SUDs. Social support can help veterans cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and provide a source of motivation and encouragement to seek treatment.
However, it is important to note that family and social support may not be effective for all veterans, and some may require additional treatment or support to maintain sobriety. Family and social support can be particularly challenging for veterans who have experienced trauma, such as sexual assault or combat-related trauma, which can affect their ability to form and maintain healthy relationships.
In these cases, mental health treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), may be necessary to address the underlying trauma and improve the veteran’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships.
It is also important to note that family and social support can sometimes be a source of stress or trigger for veterans in recovery. Family members may unintentionally enable substance use or have difficulty understanding the challenges of recovery, which can create conflict and hinder progress.
Therefore, it is essential that family and social support are provided in a safe and supportive environment that promotes healthy communication, understanding, and education about addiction and recovery.
Family and social support can play a critical role in helping veterans maintain sobriety. However, it is important to recognize that family and social support may not be effective for all veterans and that additional treatment or support may be necessary in some cases. Creating a safe and supportive environment that promotes healthy communication, understanding, and education about addiction and recovery is essential to helping veterans maintain sobriety and achieve long-term success in recovery.