Abstinence-Specific Social Support

Will changing your social network help, you stop risky behavior or even adopt healthy behaviors? The answer is, “Yes.”

Drug injectors with more frequent social contacts with non-injectors engaged in lower levels of injecting risk behavior. When researchers looked at social networks before and after quitting, they found that those who quit had a significant change in the composition of their social network.

Social support for abstinence promotes abstinence among persons with substance use disorders, and personal investment in abstinence-specific social support is seen as the best predictor of recovery from substance use. This support is often gained through mutual aid societies (e.g., 12 Step, Celebrate Recovery, or Rational Recovery), but research shows that engaging in multiple networks can have an even greater effect.