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Resilience in Recovery: Why Supportive Relationships are Valuable

It’s no secret that relationships play a powerful role in our recovery. While building resilience starts at the heart of wanting to overcome challenges and the desire to bounce back from relapse, having a strong support system is what often guides us back to health. If resilience is a reflection of who you are at your core, then relationships act as the mirror that allows you to see your true self. 

In this conversation, Dr. Jason Powers is joined by co-host George Joseph, with special guest Dr. Robert Hilliker as they discuss the power of asking tough questions, recognizing Post-Traumatic Growth, and why resilience in recovery is heavily influenced by our support system.

Get to Know Our Guest

Dr. Robert Hilliker’s extensive 20-year career in addiction and mental health is marked by his profound dedication to fostering hope within clinical settings, co-founding The Lovett Center and Ethos Behavioral Health Group. In his educational journey, from earning a Master’s degree at the University of Houston to completing a Ph.D. at the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago, Dr. Hilliker has laid the foundation for his influential roles across several renowned institutions. 

Notably, his collaboration with Dr. Brené Brown at The Daring Way LLC and his leadership roles at The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston and The Menninger Clinic highlight his significant contributions to the field. Currently, as the Chief Clinical Officer of Ethos Behavioral Health Group, he continues to shape the future of mental health care.

Honesty, Self-Reflection, and The Power of Asking Tough Questions

Dr. Hilliker shares, “The people who make it continue to ask tough questions, continuously evaluate how they want to show up in the world, and determine whether their behaviors align with those values.”

Self-reflection is a fundamental aspect of the recovery process that serves as both a tool and a pathway to deeper personal understanding and healing. In the recovery journey, taking the time to examine one’s thoughts, actions, and motivations through an objective lens is crucial for genuine growth and sustainable change. This process of self-reflection helps individuals take an honest look at their behaviors and helps to identify the underlying causes of their challenges. 

By being willing to ask tough questions, this practice allows individuals to consciously make choices aligned with their values and long-term goals, fostering a more intentional and mindful approach to recovery and life. Engaging in this reflective practice encourages a proactive stance in one’s healing journey, making it possible to navigate the complexities of recovery with insight and grace. 

Why Post-Traumatic Growth Matters in Recovery

One of the significant key takeaways from this conversation was the ability to recognize post-traumatic growth in your recovery journey. 

Post-traumatic growth represents a profound shift in personal development and insight because it allows us to accept our past rather than be a slave to our mistakes. It shows that no matter how challenging life may seem, growth and lessons are still learned along the way. After enduring hardships, we have the ability to realize that even a potential relapse doesn’t dictate the journey, and it reminds us that these challenges are merely stepping stones toward resilience. 

In fact, Dr. Powers highlights this in a previous video where he shares a common expectation individuals have where they may think one treatment episode or a single attempt to quit drugs or alcohol is enough but that relapse is more often a part of the recovery process than one might think. 

Post-traumatic growth matters in recovery because it helps us realize that we may have made mistakes, but they don’t define us. It gives us hope that we can recover. 

Dr. Hilliker shares, “Hope is a relational construct, just like resilience. While hope and resilience are inside of me, it’s through relationships that I get there. Like the phrase, I have hope because we have hope, the same is true for I am resilient because we are resilient. The internalization of resilience is because of the reflection of who you are.”

Resilience in Recovery: Why Supportive Relationships are Valuable

While honesty, self-reflection, and recognizing our post-traumatic growth are essential to a successful recovery, relationships play a key role in ensuring that when we have moments of weakness or feel like we aren’t making progress, they can extend their love, kindness, and strength when we need it the most.

We aren’t meant to do life alone, and we’re certainly not meant to walk the road to recovery alone. By understanding what we’re going through and encouraging us to pursue a life of meaning and purpose, our community helps us maintain our resilience, no matter how hard life may seem. Like Dr. Hilliker shares, resilience starts with the personal desire to overcome challenges; however, relationships are the fuel that keeps us going. 

As Dr. Hilliker points out, “Resilience isn’t the absence of struggle but the ability to cope more effectively. Just like getting sober doesn’t take away your problems, it ensures that you are more well-equipped to deal with them.” This notion highlights the purpose of a supportive network, which isn’t to remove obstacles, as these challenges often help us grow stronger, but that relationships provide us the tools and support needed to face them head-on. 

Our supportive network mirrors our capacity for growth and resilience, whether it’s therapists, support groups, and/or loved ones. Like Dr. Hilliker shares, “Resilience, in many ways, has to be thought of relationally. You are as resilient as you are supported in your community.” 

Loved This Conversation? We’ve Got More Like This One!

If you loved this conversation and want to learn more about the importance of relationships and how they help us build resilience in our recovery journey, you can listen to the full episode, or you can connect with Dr. Robert Hilliker on Instagram!

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