#SelfCare Sunday: Get in the Middle
How Support Groups Help Recovery
Recovery is an intensely personal experience. A time spent in deep reflection — getting to know yourself and the how and why of your substance abuse and subsequent sobriety. Recovery is also about forming a clear picture in your mind of the person you’d like be, and drawing up a roadmap for getting there. Not an easy thing to do, with a lot of unknowns. You may need some help, and a support system in the form of a support group can play a vital part in the recovery process. Coupled with a rehab program, the value of surrounding yourself with individuals on the same journey to recovery — or that can act as a guide on your own path to recovery since they’ve been through it themselves — cannot be underestimated.
A healthy community = a healthy individual
Leaving behind those in your life that either enable or trigger your substance abuse can be one of the most difficult parts of recovery. A 12-step program or other kind of support group surrounds you with individuals on the same journey, people who understand what you’re going through, and that will help you avoid triggers to relapse.
These people get you
Recovery is not a linear process – there will be ups and down, progress and setbacks. A support group of your choice allows you to voice these struggles to people that are going through, or have gone through, the very same thing. Hearing how they cope with similar issues can help you find ways to get through yours.
Support groups do just that: support
Life doesn’t always go as planned. Nobody knows when sadness, anger, frustration, and doubt might creep into your conviction to recover from drug and alcohol abuse triggering a relapse. Turning to your support group can help prevent you from succumbing to this kind of temptation.
Peer pressure isn’t always a bad thing
People in your life can trigger, or enable, drug and alcohol use. It can be very difficult to escape a social structure built around substance abuse. Support groups are full of people working to make healthy choices in their own lives. Put yourself around these people, and you’ll make healthy choices too.
How do I find a support group in my area?
There are all sorts of support groups out there, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-anon, and even a support group of sorts in the form of the Federal Government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Other options for finding a support group include 12-step meetings, religious organizations, local support groups, clinical settings with therapeutic group therapy options, or, here at Serenity Lane, the alumni program.
A strong support group is not be all that is necessary to recover from drug and alcohol abuse. They should be considered a part of a comprehensive treatment plan that also includes psychiatric services, behavior modification therapy, addiction treatment, professionally monitored detox, and professional counseling.
Nevertheless, there should be no doubt in your mind: on the path to recovery, support groups really do work.