When you deal with addiction, it often feels like you’re battling it alone. The people in your life may not be understanding of your struggle, and it can sometimes be hard to articulate what you’re going through.
When an addict enters and successfully exits a rehab program, it feels like they’re starting from a fresh slate. But sobriety is not guaranteed when you complete the program. In fact, staying clean can be particularly difficult.
This is why getting involved with support groups can be a smart decision. Temptation doesn’t simply fade when you’re in the real world; it often intensifies. Many of our graduated patients need support groups to fight through these temptations and work out lingering issues.
But not all support groups will adequately help you overcome addictions. Many of them may even do more to harm your efforts to grow. So, the support group you choose is important for your long term recovery.
What’s The Purpose Of A Support Group?
A support group is a meeting where groups of people join together to share stories and give each other support as they recover. The purpose of any support group is to help its participants stick to their goals and maintain their sobriety.
The people in these groups are often in the same position in life. Many of them have struggled with substance abuse in the past, and they may be really trying to adjust to living a sober lifestyle. Having people in the same position as you can help you better cope with what you’re going through. It makes your struggles relatable to others, and it gives you an outlet to express your fears, hopes, and frustrations as you grow.
By participating in these groups, you’re able to connect with others in a non-judgemental environment, while learning what has and hasn’t worked for other people.
For many people, recovery is a long process. And it can get lonely. The people in your life may not care to take time to understand what you’re going through, and sometimes they’re just not capable at helping you work out your issues.
Getting involved with support groups will give you the helpful push you need to continue in the right direction.
What To Expect From A Good Support Group
A lack of judgement. As we mentioned, addicts go through a storm of emotions when they recover, and people tend to pass judgement when you’re going through these issues. A good support group, on the other hand, does not criticize you for your mistakes or what you may be going through. The support group should have open ears without a critical eye. For you to grow, you must be able to express yourself without worrying what other people think. If you attend a session, and people seem judgemental, ditch that support group and find another.
A safe haven. People often attend their support sessions when they had a bad day, or when they struggle with temptations. A good support group should insulate you from the pressures of your everyday life, and keep you motivated to move forward— even in the face of adversity. By hearing other people’s struggles, voicing your own, and getting the support you need, you should leave that session feeling like you’re accepted by a group of people who can help you fight through your personal battles.
A sharing community. Part of the beauty of support groups is the way people freely share stories, their struggles, their hopes, and ideas. When people share, it gives you a better understanding of how you can progress through your own recovery. When other people who are in a similar position as you share their life experiences, it can give you a clear roadmap to navigate a post-addiction lifestyle
An environment of positivity. Yes, people will share their struggles and failures. People will discuss the problems they’ve endured on their path to recovery. They will talk about their doubts and fears. None of this means that the meetings will be purely negative. There should be people there who have successfully recovered, and this should give you hope that recovery is indeed possible. It’s also important to know that these meetings are not always serious. Sometimes there’ll be a birthday celebration. Other times there’ll be a potluck meal. This is to help participants relax, create camaraderie, and have a safe space to have fun and be themselves. This environment will helps people see that there is life beyond addiction, and that this life is accessible to them if they put in the effort.
Finding The Best Support Group For You
12-step programs are the most recognized support groups. At the heart of each 12-step group is an admission of addiction and of powerlessness. This is followed by finding a “higher power” to turn your life around. This higher power can be religious, it can be found within yourself, or it could come from the group itself.
The common 12-step groups include:
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Cocaine Anonymous
- Dual Recovery Anonymous
Every support group is different. These groups all have their own little quirks with how they conduct meetings, and how the group operates will vary based on a number of factors, including your local area.
Don’t commit to any group without checking it out yourself for a few sessions. Many make the mistake of going to a support group because it’s nearby or it’s the first one they went to. If there’s something you don’t like, find another group. You can do this by searching online for groups in your area. Or if you know others who have dealt with addiction, ask them if there’s a good support group they’ve attended.
Getting involved with support groups is essential for a long term recovery, but it’s not the first step. If you’re still addicted, detox and rehab are exactly what you need. Gratitude Lodge can help you take the steps to turn your life around. Contact us today to begin your recovery.