Addiction is a very isolating disease. Many people who struggle with addiction find that going through recovery alone is a very difficult task to complete. Building community and finding support from people around you can help you to overcome your addiction.
Asking for help is not easy for everyone, but it’s necessary for recovery. You can take advantage of many resources during your recovery process, including entering treatment centers or becoming a part of support groups. You may feel alone, but there are plenty of avenues to lead you to others struggling with similar issues.
If you’ve wondered how support groups work or can help, keep reading to find out more.
What Is a Support Group?
A support group doesn’t always have to be geared toward addiction or substance use. When a group of people comes together to offer emotional support and care to others struggling with a similar challenge, that is considered a support group.
You may have support groups for grief, mental health disorders, disabilities, or caregiving on top of groups dedicated to addiction. A support group offers a safe space for people who may be struggling with the same issues.
It can be hard for outsiders to fully understand the struggles you face with addiction, but others who have gone through or are going through addiction are more likely to relate. Here you can be offered support services, tips, anecdotes, and information about how addiction can manifest and how to treat it.
You may learn coping skills or methods from group members who have practiced them. It’s also a way to feel justified and comforted if one pathway doesn’t work out for you. You’d be surprised at how many support groups there are for issues you didn’t think anyone else struggled with!
Types of Support Groups
There are various support groups, and you might find some more helpful than others. The main three that you can enter into are a 12-step program, often geared towards drugs or alcohol, mutual support groups led by peers, or therapy groups led by mental health professionals.
Additionally, there is the ability to enter online support groups where you can find support from all over the world and build connections without leaving your house. Whatever works best for you and will help you on your path to recovery!
Twelve-step programs are often associated with drug and alcohol rehab because there is an emphasis on the 12-step program created by Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups will sometimes be led by peers or sponsors who once struggled with addiction.
In these groups, you can work together to enter into recovery with the support of individuals searching for the same outcomes. This approach can be more structured, which might be helpful to those looking to get back on track. It allows you to follow a path and take your time getting to the destination.
Mutual Support Groups
In mutual support groups, you may not get professional advice from someone, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less invaluable. Mutual support groups are run by peers trained in how to facilitate and lead these groups but aren’t medical or mental health professionals. Instead, they are facilitators who are or have dealt with similar issues.
In these peer-led support group settings, members will share their stories, what their goals are, what has and has not been working for them, and work to inspire and uplift everyone else in attendance. Here you can form great connections with people struggling with the same issues and not feel pressured or judged by anyone in the circle.
If you attend a treatment facility, you might be entered into a therapy group led by mental health professionals and therapists specializing in mental health care. These groups are more geared towards specific issues, such as mental health conditions and mental illness, and are put together by a specific provider.
You may not be in treatment but still want to attend a group therapy session. This might be covered under your insurance, and you can talk to your primary care physician about finding a therapy group for your specific needs.
Online Support Groups
Not everyone can dedicate hours of their week to traveling and attending a group meeting, but they still want the benefits and social support that come with it. We have access to the wonderful world wide web in today’s society. Online support groups are gaining more popularity due to their flexibility.
This might not be the most preferred method of support groups because there can sometimes feel like a lack of connection due to being online, but do what’s best for you. Whether on chat functions or zoom, online groups are out there! If you cannot attend in-person meetings, doing the next best thing can still allow you to gain that sense of support in these online communities.
Benefits of Support Groups
Getting help for your addiction can be scary; the last thing you want to feel is isolation. Being vulnerable about your issues and opening up to others can help you to relieve stress and gain confidence. Addiction can lower your self-esteem but finding community is a great way to build it back up.
You can learn a lot from joining support groups that will help you on your path to recovery.
An ideal part of joining a support group for your addiction is the community that you build from it. If you are the only person struggling with addiction in your friend group or among your family members, you might not always feel like they understand your struggles and where you are coming from. In a support group for addiction, you meet individuals with similar experiences who know exactly what you’re going through.
Community and support are key in the recovery process. People can confide in strangers who have undergone similar struggles and learn how to lessen their emotional burdens. You might have many unanswered questions, but you are encouraged to ask them in support groups. This is where you can learn a lot from other people struggling with substance abuse.
Learning Coping Strategies
You will likely try several coping mechanisms throughout your recovery to get through your addiction. Not everyone responds the same to each mechanism, so it’s about finding what works for you.
What’s great about support groups is that you are thrown into a space where other people have tried out things you’ve never even thought of to help you cope. You learn a lot about what works and what doesn’t work for others going through a similar issue. This allows you to try out methods that have worked for others.
Having this open dialogue and discussing what others have done to help their recovery process can open up a path you may never have tried to take.
Support groups are there for one thing: to support you. Many people think they have to go through addiction and addiction recovery alone. If you’re thinking this way, isn’t it likely that someone else out there is too? You can find these people and then work towards encouraging them and providing unwavering support. When you act this way for others, it begins to reflect back on your own journey.
Keeping up with momentum is really tricky when it comes to recovery. Relapsing is very real and happens to many people throughout their recovery process. Support groups help to maintain this momentum and encourage people to keep pushing forward.
Promoting self-care and advocacy
Support groups also promote self-care practices so that you can recover and live your life! These groups help to teach you about preserving yourself with self-care tips, organization and management tools, resources in case of emergencies, and other care services.
It can be difficult to advocate for yourself and your own happiness, but support groups teach you to be kinder to yourself. The outcome of a support group is to enter into the world confidently, knowing that other people have your back just as much as you have your own.
Getting Help at Soba Recovery Center
If this sounds like something you could benefit from, consider entering an addiction recovery treatment center like Soba Recovery in San Antonio, Texas. Along with other services like detoxification, inpatient, and outpatient, Soba Recovery offers therapy group sessions with other individuals struggling with similar addictions.
Here you can connect with people in your area who are looking to enter into recovery but just need more support to succeed. Building each other up and helping along the way is what Soba Recovery’s support groups aim for.
Reach out to a representative if you are interested in learning more about the recovery services offered here at Soba.