I thought writing today’s article would be simple. I understand connection, I am a connected person in my recovery and in my life (up to a point) but sitting here at my computer I’m finding harder than I thought to write about connection.
Being un-connected or dis-connected means, we are isolated and when we are isolated, whether in life generally, or in addiction recovery, we are vulnerable. Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to health. Lack of social connections can increase the likelihood of early death by 26%. That risk is comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day and is higher than that caused by obesity and physical inactivity.
I think the reason I’m struggling to write about connection is that I have been couped-up and isolated at home for a few days getting the house ready for a decorator. I’ve been slowly plodding through moving furniture and breakables out of the way, and now I’m in clear-up mode getting ready for the next phase of decoration. Those few days of voluntary isolation has resulted in a mild case of feeling lonely and disconnected and affecting my ability to even write about connection.
I’m reminded of the term #GOYA, which I first heard at a conference where Prof. David Best was speaking and where he introduced those listening to the #GOYA concept.
So, what does the acronym #GOYA stand for, what do the letters mean? The term #GOYA is a highly technical term and means – Get Off Your Arse. I need to Get Off My Arse and re-connect with those around me, to the world outside and with myself. So, as soon as I finish this article I’m planning to go for a walk with my wife, maybe down by the river Thames which is not too far from where we live – even the thought of reconnecting is nourishing.
Back to #GOYA
The #GOYA concept is based on the idea that individuals in addiction recovery need to take an active role in their own recovery by getting involved in community resources and building supportive relationships. It encourages people to take responsibility for their own recovery and to actively seek out resources that can help them achieve and maintain sobriety.
Putting #GOYA into practice may mean:
1. Taking action that benefits us in our recovery, i.e., not simply waiting for things to happen or relying solely on others for support. Instead, we can actively seek out resources and take steps to build a strong foundation for our recovery.
2. Getting involved, through community resources, and building connections with others. This can provide a sense of belonging and support, as well as opportunities for socialisation and positive activities.
3. Taking an active role in our recovery to increase motivation and to stay sober. This can help us to stay focused on our goals and to make positive changes in our lives.
4. Getting involved in community resources can also provide us with opportunities to develop new skills or pursue education and training. This can help us build confidence, increase self-esteem, and improve our overall quality of life.
Overall, the #GOYA concept is simple to remember and can be an effective tool for those of us in addiction recovery.
Back to Connection:
What does the word connection mean? In the context of addiction recovery, “connection” refers to the idea that individuals recovering from addiction need to establish supportive relationships with others to help them maintain sobriety. Connection, in addiction recovery terms is also linked to, and helps us build, something called ‘Recovery Capital’.
“Recovery Capital” is the personal, social, and environmental resources that we can draw on to support us in our recovery journey. These resources can include things like supportive relationships, community resources, personal motivation, and financial stability.
So how can we build connection in recovery? Here are some strategies:
1. Attend support group meetings, whether it’s a 12-step programme or another type of recovery group, attending meetings is a great way to connect with others who are on a similar path.
2. Volunteering is a great way to connect with others while also doing something meaningful. Whether it’s volunteering at a local initiative or participating in a service project, volunteering can be a great way to build connections and give back to the community.
3. Taking care of ourselves is essential for building connection. When we feel good physically and emotionally, we’re more likely to be open to connecting with others.
4. Being vulnerable can be scary, but it’s also an essential part of building connection. When we’re willing to be vulnerable and share our struggles with others, we allow them to do the same, which can help build deeper connections.
So, connection helps us build a support system that can help us navigate the challenges of sobriety. It can also provide a sense of belonging and purpose, which can be vital to maintaining long-term recovery.