No matter how far along you are in your addiction recovery journey, remaining clean and sober in spite of life’s challenges can be difficult. Fortunately, it’s not a challenge you need to face alone. Recovery support groups can provide a vital safety net at any stage of sobriety.
What Is a Support Group?
Loosely defined, a support group is where people meet to discuss common issues and offer companionship. Examples include groups for those struggling with addiction, cancer survivors, and grieving spouses.
Types of Groups
Just as groups meet for different reasons, they also vary in structure. In general, they fall into the following categories:
- Peer or self-help groups: Outside professionals don’t facilitate these groups. Instead, peer members band together to help each other with similar issues. Alcoholics Anonymous is an example of this type of meeting.
- Professionally facilitated groups: As the name suggests, medical professionals, clergy members, corrections officials, or similar known authorities lead these groups. These are generally the most organized and productive support groups.
- Online groups: Via email, video chat, or forums, individuals meet in a virtual space. Anonymity is both the blessing and the curse of this modern arrangement. While it allows people to be less embarrassed and more forthcoming, it also lowers inhibitions and can lead to uncensored or hurtful comments.
How Support Groups Aid in Substance Abuse Programs
Support groups have evolved in order to meet the needs of individuals working to overcome addiction. Examples include the following:
- Psychoeducational groups: A facilitator educates members about the related behaviors and consequences of substance abuse. The goal is to educate members about the multiple issues around addiction and help them become motivated to recover.
- Skills development groups: These groups provide a forum where members can develop or enhance strategies that will enable individuals to remain sober. Topics may include teaching individuals how to avoid destructive behaviors or control strong emotions.
- Cognitive behavior groups: These groups help members recognize dangerous triggers, help them avoid these stimuli, and learn to become less sensitive to them. The idea is that addictive behaviors will change if perceptions, beliefs, and thinking patterns are modified.
- Substance abuse self-help groups: With the help of other members, recovering individuals can learn to manage their emotions and thoughts in a healthy way. These groups can pertain to particular steps in the recovery process, or they can be more free-flowing depending on the therapist’s style and the group’s culture. Regardless of their focus, all aid in fostering sober living in an environment of peers who understand the particular challenges.
Who Can Benefit from Support Groups?
No matter where individuals are in recovery, support groups can be beneficial. The key is to find one that meets individual needs and preferences.
At Crest View Recovery Center in Asheville, NC, we offer several different support group options during our rehab treatment program. If you or someone you love is ready to put addiction behind you, contact Crest View Recovery Center today at 866.327.2505 to learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs.