Building your Support Team

Building a recovery support team is a key part of MAT. Your team can get you through the tough stuff and help you celebrate your successes.

Professionals play an important role. But your recovery also depends on what happens after you leave the doctor’s office, treatment center, or methadone program.

Strong allies may include friends, relatives, other recovering people, and others in your community.

It is also important not to let shame or the fear of disappointing your family and others close to you hold you back from having the support of those who love you unconditionally. Sometimes, people manage to keep their family from knowing about their opioid problem, so they are hesitant to let them know about treatment and recovery. But, chances are the people who are close to you know something is wrong and will probably be relieved to know about your decision to get help.

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Professionals

Professionals offer intensive services and support that help people to stop using and move into recovery. They know about treatment approaches and how to minimize risks. They provide structure and check on your progress over time.

Doctors

  • Can give methadone for addiction treatment only through a registered opioid treatment program.
  • Can prescribe buprenorphine for addiction treatment if they complete special training and certification.
  • Can write a buprenorphine prescription at their office that can be filled at a public pharmacy.
  • Can administer injections of long acting naltrexone or prescribe the pill form without any special training.

Addictions counselors

  • Are licensed or certified by each state.
  • Are required to keep up with new addiction research.
  • Are trained to encourage and support clients.
  • Are required by law to keep information about your treatment confidential.
  • Are trained to help people prepare for situations where they may be tempted to use.

Treatment programs

  • May offer more than one approach.
  • May work with doctors who prescribe buprenorphine or naltrexone as part of treatment.

State drug and alcohol offices

  • Offer information about all available treatment programs in the state.
  • Have a designated staff member in charge of MAT.
  • For a listing of contact information for state drug and alcohol offices: dpt2.samhsa.gov/regulations/smalist.aspx

Advocacy organizations

  • Support people in recovery.
  • Look out for the interests of people in recovery.
  • Have websites with helpful information.

Mental health professionals

  • May be familiar with MAT.
  • May help you find treatment.
  • May help you consider your options.

Recovery support specialists

  • Are usually people with personal experience in recovery or members of families experienced in dealing with addiction.
  • Are usually given additional training or are certified.
  • Are not professional counselors.
  • Are knowledgeable about recovery, and support all recovery pathways.
  • May work in a treatment program or through a Recovery Community Organization.
  • May be volunteers or paid employees.

Families, friends, allies

Friends, relatives, and allies can be important sources of emotional support and practical help. Research shows recovery is more likely when clients invite the important people in their lives to take part in treatment activities.

“Family” means the people in your life that understand and support you. This may include your relatives or others you are close to. Who do you like to spend the holidays with? Who do you call when you want to share good news?

Your friends, family, and other people you are close to can become part of your support team. If they would be pleased to see you stop using, then they can become allies in your effort to get in and stay in recovery. Research shows that this type of support is a huge advantage in treatment and in recovery from opioid use disorder.

Recovery community

Being around clean and sober people can help you feel less alone and more hopeful.

You do not have to be best friends or hang out all the time. But, you may want to get to know some people by visiting a Recovery Community Center near you, and by attending support groups or meetings.

Here are some recovery organizations and resources to check out:

Community resources

Recovery is the beginning of many things, not just an end to using. There are usually resources to help people making a new start.

But, many people are not sure what is available in their area. Helpful resources can include job training programs, community health centers, housing programs, and public libraries. Legal aid and advocacy groups may also be available.

People in recovery need the same things as anyone else. They need a home, health, purpose, and community.

Home: It is important to have a place to live where you can feel safe and at ease, and are not tempted to use. There are some housing resources specifically for people in recovery. You can find out about housing by contacting local recovery centers, state or county housing agencies, and treatment providers.

Health: One benefit of treatment can be feeling healthy and energized again. Eating healthy meals and getting regular sleep help the body get back to normal. Many people find that exercise helps with mood and energy. Most areas have community programs, public health and recreation departments, and hospitals that offer wellness programs and health services.

Purpose: People find purpose in their lives in many ways. Some get a job they like or take care of a family. Others volunteer or connect with a faith community. Often, people try different things before they find out they have something to contribute. A good place to start is with the local recovery community.

Community: People are drawn to others when they have something in common. Recovery communities are one way people can feel connected with others. Many people in recovery also find acceptance and support in the general community. For example, they may become members of faith groups, political parties, or sports teams, or get involved in music and the arts.

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I would like to be a part of my community again. I have friends and family that would do anything for me once they know I am not using.