Effectiveness of Sober Social Support Systems in Addiction Recovery

Odyssey House of Utah
2 min readMay 3, 2016


The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says, home and community are two major components that support a life of sobriety for individuals in addiction recovery. Home refers to the need to have a “stable and safe place to live” and community “having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.”

Reinforcing Healthy Behaviors and Providing Emotional Support

Individuals working through addiction recovery need a social, sober support system to succeed. Support from family members, friends and neighbors provides encouragement and stability during a time of intense transition. As a result, it is imperative that these individuals are reinforcing the healthy behaviors learned in rehab programs.

Recovery is a long process — filled with personal upheavals, trials and emotion. Although professional care and involvement in rehabilitation programs is a key element of addiction recovery, friends and family members are crucial for navigating through this tumultuous time — especially when the individual transitions back into his or her home and community.

SAMHSA says, “Research has shown that peer support facilitates recovery and reduces health care costs. Peers also provide assistance that promotes a sense of belonging within the community. The ability to contribute to and enjoy one’s community is key to recovery and well-being.”

Lack of Sober Support System Derails Recovery

Friends and peers reinforce sober living principles and serve as role models for those in addiction recovery. Conversely, individuals who do not have these positive and sober support sources make the process of recovery extremely difficult.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information, in an article published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reports, “Lack of a stable, alcohol and drug-free living environment can be a serious obstacle to sustained abstinence. Destructive living environments can derail recovery for even highly motivated individuals.”

Multiple studies show that individuals who have social support networks consisting of abstainers or others in recovery were more successful at maintaining sobriety, reports NCBI — reaffirming that sober support systems are crucial for addiction recovery.

Nicole Donaldson is a health writer for Fusion 360, an SEO and content marketing agency. Information provided by Odyssey House. Follow on Twitter.