Imagine that you had an app on your phone that helped you to manage everything else in your life. You used it when you first got your phone, but then you slowly used it less and less, and eventually forgot about it. How amazing would it be to discover it again and have it to help you keep your life together?
Your support network may be a little like that. Maybe you used it a lot when you completed treatment, stayed in contact with everyone and leaned on them for support. But as time went on, you may have used your network less or forgotten about it altogether. So how amazing would it be to have that support again? Maybe there are even other people in your life that you can add, just like updating an app, to optimize your life experience.
Who is In Your Network?
Do you remember the people you chose to be in your support network? These are the people who know you, love you, and can be there for you when you need them. You can check in with them, and they can help you to notice if there are mood or behavioral changes you might not see.
Some of the people who may be in your network include:
• extended family, like grandparents or aunts & uncles
• life coaches
• spiritual leaders
• school staff
• personal trainers
• therapists and medical providers
• close family friends
This is just a partial list. Anyone that you love, trust, and feel safe with can be a member of your support network. They should be people who have a vested interest in you and your success in life, people who can show up for you, and with whom you have a good relationship with.
How Can You Be Supported?
One of the most valuable assets of your support network is a group of people that you can talk to. They know you, they love you, and they don’t judge you. They know what you have been through and they want to support you in everything you do in life. Having people that you can trust to talk to about whatever you need is priceless.
Another way that they can support you is with accountability. You can report to them how you are doing on your mental health and recovery skills. You can set goals and report to them, or if you need more support, you can have them contact you to give a report. Having people to be accountable to adds an additional level of safety in your recovery.
Some of the people in your network may be doing their jobs in supporting you, such as personal trainers, school staff, and medical or therapeutic providers. However, just because they are getting paid does not mean that you cannot rely on them to help support you. Most of these jobs are altruistic by nature, which means that they do care about you and they also care about supporting you in all that you do.
Accessing Your Network
You will know the people, such as parents and guardians, whom you can call or text around the clock. There will be other people whom you can reach out to within reasonable daytime hours. Others will be available by appointment, and you will know how to schedule those appointments.
Knowing how to access your network and the boundaries that you have with each individual is important. For example, you wouldn’t call your favorite teacher while they were having dinner with their family to tell them that you got a new job. That news would be more appropriate to share the next day at school, even if you go in a little early to chat before class. You could, though, possibly interrupt your Aunt Betty during dinner to tell her the good news. Thinking about how each person in your network is related to you and knowing the boundaries within those relationships will help you to successfully receive the support you need.
Support Network 2.0
It may be time to update your support network. Who else could you add? Do you have new teachers or coaches that you have a strong connection with? Are there members of your extended family who have recently moved closer to your home that you could add? Do you have new sponsors, therapists, life coaches, mentors, or others that you could add to your list? As people move in and out of your life, be sure to move more people into your network. The more people you have to support you, the greater your chances at success will be.
When was the last time you used your support network? When was the last time you thought about your support network? Is it time for an upgrade? Remember that by creating and accessing the support you need, you are empowering not only your own success, but other people to be a part of your success. Just like you update your apps, be sure to update your network. You can have all of the wisdom, accountability, and love that all of the people in your life to offer, you only need to ask for it. Let them help you and be a part of your journey.
Your support network can be your lifeline. For help with your support network call Embark Behavioral Health 1-855-809-0409. Update your network and optimize your life.