Establish a Support System
Let’s be honest: Reentry is not going to be easy, and it is going to be even harder if you attempt to go through the process alone. As you navigate through the reentry process, understand that you can set your own path. Right now, you can set yourself up for a successful reentry process, or risk returning to potentially problematic environments and falling into unhealthy habits that increase your risk for recidivism. To overcome the overwhelming barriers to your reentry, perseverance, transparency and accountability will be continuously necessary. While establishing housing, employment and your basic needs are all critical to reintegrating into society, it is equally important that you are part of a program or community, official or not, that can provide you with support as you go through this transition. Professionals working in the reentry field are adamant that a social support system is critical to success. Due to the nature of your offense(s) or parole restrictions, it can be easy to feel like you are going through this struggle alone. While each person’s story is unique, it is important to keep in mind that you’re not alone. In 2016 alone, according to the Oregon Department of Corrections, an average of 393 inmates were released each month. This means that, every month, there are hundreds of individuals starting, or preparing to start, a similar journey as you; a journey towards reclaiming control of your life.
A consistent and reliable support system will be of significant value to you as you address any obstacles or setbacks during the reentry process. You can find, or create, social support in a variety of ways. Locating an already-established group of peers that discusses the general struggles of reentry, focuses on mental health, or is tailored to individuals with unresolved substance abuse are just a few of the many options available to you. What works for one person, isn’t always what works for another. If you aren’t finding an already-established group that meets your needs, consider starting your own! It’s likely that, if you aren’t finding the support you need, there are others who are experiencing the same dilemma.
While locating a supportive peer group is critical to the reentry process and its success, a support system will be most beneficial to you if you are transparent with yourself and others. The stress and anxiety that comes with reentry will be significantly alleviated if you allow yourself to be honest about what you need to get through this transitional period. It is entirely possible that this transitional period will force you to confront things you haven’t had to confront in a very long time, if ever. Feelings surrounding life events that you thought you had resolved may return and need to be readdressed. If this is how you are feeling, or come to feel along your journey, it’s okay. Often, as you experience new situations and circumstances, there is a need to adapt and find new, healthy ways to cope with the past as it relates to the present. Because the reentry process is a period of considerable change, the need for support as you transition back into society should be both expected and encouraged. Whether you need support or advice as you adjust to a new routine, are frustrated with the challenges of securing housing or employment, or are dealing with an unresolved or recurring substance abuse problem, there are people and organizations committed to helping you maneuver through this process; but it is on you take advantage of those resources.
To find a support group near you, contact:
MetroPlus Association of Addiction Peer Professionals (http://www.maapp.org/treatment)
Using this search engine, you can find Treatment Centers throughout the state of Oregon by selecting different criteria, counties or cities.
You can find resources either by dialing 2-1-1 and seeking Mental Health services, or by following the link, input your zip code or city and select “Mental Health.” (http://211info.org/search-resources)
Oregon Area 58
Find AA meetings near you by following the link and selecting your county. (http://www.aa-oregon.org/find-meetings)
If you need immediate assistance, contact:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 or text “help” to 741-741
Alcohol and Drug Help Line
(503) 244-1312 or 1-800-923-4357
Alcohol Anonymous Hotline
Narcotics Anonymous Hotline
Veterans Crisis Line