Recovery is an ongoing process that doesn’t end once you leave your rehabilitation program. Even after you’ve completed your inpatient or outpatient treatment, you’ll undergo the journey of recovery.
The idea might seem scary, but it’s easier. You don’t have to do it alone. Medical professionals advise against taking on any leg of your journey on your own. You’ll have a higher probability of success and a lower risk of relapse if you get the support you need.
One essential source of accountability and encouragement is your support group. A support group consists of your peers who are also undergoing recovery. The group regularly gathers, sometimes weekly or monthly, to share their experiences and discuss challenges.
The alums of a specific recovery program may form a support group during or after rehabilitation. Many people find it helpful to connect with others who have been through the same program or with whom they bonded during the more challenging recovery stretches.
However, your support group doesn’t need to be associated with your treatment center to be successful. You can always join an independent group after you’ve left your program.
If you’ve never participated in a support group, you might feel discouraged by the thought of entering a new social situation. It can feel daunting to make yourself vulnerable in front of others. Knowing what to expect from a session with a support group can help ease your nerves. Here are a few commonalities that most support groups share:
It’s important to remember that many people in your support group may feel intimidated or nervous about the experience. You are not alone in your feelings, and you might find connecting with other people can assuage your anxiety over time.
Once you’ve decided to join a support group, you’ll need to find one that suits you. If you attended rehabilitation locally, you could contact them to see if they host their own support groups or have any recommendations.
Depending on where you live, you should have several options to choose from, including:
It’s okay to try multiple support groups until you find the right one. It would help if you felt comfortable enough to share and grow with your group for it to work for you.
If you don’t find an appropriate support group in your area, you might feel motivated to start your own. Creating a support group can be a rewarding experience that strengthens your community and your commitment to recovery.
When you contemplate starting a support group, you’ll need to consider the following components:
If you need more guidance in starting a support group, try reaching out to your treatment center or rehabilitation program. They can offer advice or assistance to help you get going.
Support groups don’t just have to sit in a circle and talk, though that’s always a helpful format you should incorporate into your model. You can also arrange outings and activities to help your group bond and heal, including ideas like:
Studies show that people in support groups reduce their chance of relapse by 7% to 25%. Support groups increase your chances of prolonging your sobriety and maintaining your recovery long-term.
People participating in support groups also report improvements in their values, a feeling of connection and community, and a robust and growing network of like-minded peers.
Support groups are an essential component of the recovery process. Knowing that you’ll be accompanied on your journey by other people experiencing the same thing makes you more likely to complete your treatment program and continue your recovery in the real world.