How Do Support Groups Help Substance Abusers?

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Treatment and recovery for substance abusers can look very different from one person to the next. In order to ensure successful outcomes, people are often encouraged to look for programs and support services that align with their unique needs. Whether you plan on completing a long-term, inpatient program for substance abuse or intend to rely solely on outpatient care, support groups can be an invaluable part of your efforts to both become and remain sober. These groups are designed to offer a sense of camaraderie among like-minded individuals who are equally committed to reclaiming and rebuilding their lives.

They are an excellent form of relapse prevention, an integral part of the healing process, and an outstanding source of guidance, advice, and motivation. When meeting with support groups, people have the opportunity to both share their own personal stories and listen to the stories of others. Participants can talk about their past experiences, their current struggles, and their hopes for the future. These conversations help people deal with difficult emotions such as shame, guilt, fear, and grief, and they provide the tools that are necessary for dealing with temptations and cravings. There’s a vast range of impressive benefits that can be gained by joining a support group for substance abusers whether doing so during or immediately after your treatment.

Learning How to Socialize in Safe and Healthful Ways in Support Groups

One very important part of every person’s recovery process is learning how to identify unhealthy social connections. Toxic relationships and toxic environments can both encourage and support drug and alcohol addiction. If you complete your treatment on a closed, inpatient campus, you’ll have sufficient time away from these triggers for detox and learning about the underlying causes of your substance use disorder. However, as you reenter the outside world, you’ll have to take special care to avoid co-dependent relationships, stress-inducing relationships, and other relationships that undermine your efforts to get well. Addiction counselors work hard to ensure that patients learn how to set firm boundaries and that they’re able to rebuild their confidence and self-esteem.

These efforts prevent people from caving to peer pressure and from using drugs or alcohol in an effort to appease others or fit in. Support groups are the perfect place for learning how to build healthy relationships, establish boundaries, and develop good communication skills. Experiences in these environments help people to become both better listeners and better at expressing their own thoughts and emotions. Good social skills are key for thriving in any real-word environment and for avoiding relationships and partnerships that promote relapse.

Using Support Groups as Relapse Prevention

People within support groups often pair up and act as sobriety partners for one another. In so doing, they help keep each other accountable. This is done by making sure that sobriety partners:

  • Make it to support group meetings on a regular basis
  • Have someone to connect with when temptations and cravings arise
  • Seek out additional forms of support when they need it

The sense of camaraderie that exists in these groups keeps members from ever feeling completely alone. As a unique individual, you’ve likely endured a number of hardships and circumstances that are completely your own. However, in support meetings, you’re virtually guaranteed to encounter others who’ve faced similar struggles and who’ve used courageous strategies to overcome them. These encounters can be very inspiring. Knowing that others have successfully dealt with the same battles that you’re facing can promote hope and perseverance.

Establishing Life Balance During Recovery With Support Groups

Support groups can also help people find the resources they need for establishing life balance after treatment. Some of the biggest barriers to long-term recovery include homelessness, financial instability, and social isolation. In groups, people can talk about the challenges they face, obtain advice from fellow members, and get referrals or recommendations from group leaders. These services perfectly supplement those that are received from sober living homes, relapse prevention centers and programs, and other services that recovering individuals use after exiting formal treatment.

In support groups, many participants are at varying stages of recovery. This allows members to connect with people who’ve already successfully overcome common hurdles and who are capable of offering knowledgeable guidance and help in an empathetic and truly understanding way. In fact, many support groups are even led by people with colorful tales of addiction and recovery of their own. If you’re interested in starting the path to recovery and need help in finding the right treatment center, sober living home, or post-treatment support group, we can help. Call us today at 833-285-1315.

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