The topic of support groups carries a lot of baggage. For starters, a recovery support group immediately conjures the image of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. This is something that many people contemplating recovery are keen to avoid. Another reason this topic can be difficult is that many people consider their recovery a distinctly private matter, one they do not wish to discuss with anyone much less total strangers. However, there are tremendous benefits of support groups in recovery and there are many of these groups that have nothing to do with 12 step programs.
Spending regular time with people who are dealing with the same or similar struggles as one makes their way through recovery is important. The isolation that comes with addiction can continue into the recovery process and this is potentially dangerous. Part of what fuels addiction is the feeling of hopelessness that comes from extreme isolation. If perpetuated into recovery, people are in danger of returning to the same feelings of hopelessness. They eventually return to the one thing they know makes them feel better in the short term. Having a group of people to check in with from time to time can prevent this. Others who are struggling with similar issues can lend reassurance at the very least. And they can offer perspectives that are not obvious to a single individual.
Support groups are also a good source of appraisal. They offer insight on how individuals are doing in recovery. We all can be our own worst critics in many instances. Where we see ourselves as coming up short in recovery, an outside appraisal can show us we are in better shape than we realize. This type of outside validation and encouragement can be priceless in addiction recovery.
More minds are better than one when it comes to finding information. Having more people looking for resources to help with the recovery process allows us access to more information than we would find on our own. Becoming aware of new methods for coping skills and relaxation techniques. Even financial help can all come in the form of a recovery support group.
Speaking of financial resources, a support group can often be the helping hand one needs during a time of material need. That we have a group of people dedicated to offering help with a common struggle can mean people are available to help if one needs real and tangible help with a crisis.
Support groups also keep us honest. As much as we are our own worst critics, we are also often capable of lying to ourselves at times. One of the real dangers in recovery is convincing ourselves that we are doing better than we really are. A good support group will offer not just criticism but also constructive opinions. Opinions on where we may be going astray in the recovery process.
DARA Can Help
Far from the old smoky rooms of AA meeting, support groups now consist of a variety of meetings of all kinds of people. It is a matter of consulting with treatment professionals and agencies to find the group that speaks to you. Support groups can make all the difference in successful and healthy recovery.
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