Over the last year things have been hard. I started a new job, lost a pregnancy, and had unforeseen events happen with my family that has caused my family of four to grow to five in my household. This year has been hard in many ways, and while the thought of using never entered my head, the thought of giving up did. Too many changes, too much loss has wanted me to give up. That is not a feeling I have felt since the height of my substance use, but this time it wasn’t the substance use, it was the inability to speak up for my needs.

The feeling of shame has a way of entering the mind in ways that people do not normally think: pride. I felt as though I should have been able to power through a pregnancy loss the way that I have done other things so many times in the past, but that was not possible this time. Then I closed myself off from feeling things because it was just too hard to feel. I never cried once during this time, but I was angry. Angry because my dream for this year was effectively over before it even had a chance to begin.

My home and work life has suffered because I have been unwilling to lean on my support network. I did not want to burden them, and this was wrong. When we have love and compassion for others, it means that we suffer together. I swallow my pride and ask for help, especially when it is hard. The alternative is not enjoying my life.

Community Support: You Are Not Alone

Being in recovery for the last five years there have been so many changes. I do not go to as many meetings as I did in the beginning, and my recovery is based upon service, and I go to therapy for my mental health, but the most important thing I found in recovery is community.

And community support can come from anyone: a spouse or partner, family, friends, coworkers, church, support groups, teammates, online communities…anyone who can share your burden and lighten your load is a support. Not only do they help you through difficult times, they help you celebrate the good times, help fight loneliness, and feel connected.

To know that I am not alone and that no matter what I am going through someone will be there by my side means more to me than anything else.  Life ebbs and flows, there will be good years and bad years that come along with life, and if it weren’t for my community, life would be so much harder. They do not need to know what it feels like to go through a certain struggle, but they are willing to suffer with me through my trials, and I will gladly do the same for them.

Giving Back by Being a Support

Showing up and being present for the good and the bad is what it means to be in community. Sometimes it will not fit into the schedule, but we make it work. Sometimes a simple “I love you” text brightens a friend’s day. Letting someone know that they are seen and are heard can be the difference for them. Life is made up of little moments, and just like those moments a simple gesture of love is enough to last a lifetime. I tend to let my sadness consume me, but I know that my friends and family will walk alongside me till I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I will gladly do the same for them. No amount of shame, pride, or guilt will stop the love that a good community has. As long as the people in it stay open, kind, and understanding.

Miranda HobsonMiranda Hobson is a peer recovery coach with Youturn Health and helps people who struggle with substance misuse and stress. To learn more about substance use disorder (SUD), please visit our Substance Misuse page.