Finding Your Personal Tribe

So you’re out of treatment, and you’re ready to take on the world! That Pink Cloud feeling is in full effect and you’re ready to dive into the world of recovery. And why not? You’ve spent time at a well-respected facility with highly capable staff members who’ve guided you on to a path of spiritual awakening. And a key component of being on that path is having a solid support group around you for this journey, even after treatment. So what does this support group look like? I prefer to call it “your personal tribe”… those people that you vibe with… the people that seem to be as fired-up about following the path to recovery as you are. And most importantly, the people that are able to speak up (hopefully in a compassionate tone) when you are “screwing up” or out of alignment with your higher power.

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Where To Find Personal Support After Recovery

Where do these people come from? In my experience: people I continue to run into over and over again at meetings (almost like the universe plans for me to keep bumping into them) is a great start! Or maybe a housemate from your sober living… or one of your sponsor’s sponsees that you’ve been introduced to. Your higher power will put them in your vicinity, it’s up to YOU to take the action.

Read More: Why Aftercare Is Important To Success In Recovery

That’s one of the many beautiful aspects of the recovery community… you meet a lot of people that are on a similar path as you. Which is a good thing… because we need them! One school of thought says “get as many phone numbers from as many people as you can.” While I’m not opposed to this, in my own journey this just caused me to have a ton of phone numbers that I never called. So I began to slow down and get more focused, only exchanging numbers with people that I truly intended to reach out to.

How To Find Personal Support After Recovery

Most people in recovery are used to exchanging numbers, so while it may seem awkward at first, you’ll probably be surprised at how readily people are willing to trade their contact info with you. After the second or third time, you’ll realize that it’s quite the norm in our community. People come to expect it.

Don’t overthink it… just do it. For example, when someone at a meeting shares something that resonates with you, talk to them afterward about what they shared and how you related. Then.. here’s the somewhat uncomfortable part… ASK FOR THEIR NUMBER. Here’s some sample dialogue that you can make into your own…

“Brother, this is a really good meeting. Let me get your number in case you ever need me to give you a ride or vice versa.”
“Hey, if I need to “10 Step” with someone during the day while I’m having a hard time at work, can I get your number so I can call you?”
Or even “Man, you seem like someone I should stay in contact with so we can help each other stay sober… let me get your number.”

Read More: The Importance Of Human Connection

How many people should be in your personal Tribe? Obviously, it’s going to be a different number for each person, but as an overall figure, I would shoot for between 3-5… and better to OVERSHOOT that number and be left with only a few than to have it dwindle to nothing (and as you will soon find out if you haven’t already, people can drop fast if they’re not staying connected).

How Important Is Personal Support?

Finding your personal tribe

How important is a personal tribe? I would say it is up there with getting a sponsor. It may not happen overnight or be as easy as getting a sponsor, but it has been vital in my recovery. Make no mistake, it does take EFFORT on your part and you have to be willing to get out of your comfort zone. But put away the excuses, humble yourself, and REACH OUT to build your recovery network. The end result will be well worth the energy spent.

Not everyone knows how to initiate the process of finding like-minded peers in their area, and that’s okay. To learn more about options you, your patient, or a loved one can pursue in order to not only start but also stay connected with one’s tribe.

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Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness
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