Addiction can be a difficult battle that involves not just the addict, but also friends, coworkers, and family members. When someone is dealing with substance abuse, they likely feel alone, disconnected, and helpless. Thankfully, with a good treatment program, addiction can be beaten. One of the key elements to a quality rehabilitation process is group therapy or meetings. So, how can going to meetings help you in recovery? Read on to learn more about this integral part of recovery and sobriety.
What Happens in Meetings?
While every program is different, most group meetings are scheduled by the patient’s specific recovery plan. These meetings usually involve one or two therapists or group leaders along with other addicts. Meetings can occur weekly, monthly, or less frequently depending on a variety of factors. During the meeting, all patients are encouraged to participate and talk about their struggles, their current status, and their feelings. The mediator or therapist is there to help guide the group and to ask important questions. It’s a good way for addicts to vent their concerns and frustrations without feelings of judgment.
You are Not Alone Throughout Recovery
When you’re dealing with addiction, the feelings of isolation can be overwhelming. Meetings can help you feel much less alone since you’re surrounded by others who are struggling with similar situations. Often addicts won’t reach out to people they know for fear of being judged or turned away. With group meetings, you'll hear other peoples’ stories and soon you’ll discover that you are not alone. This fact can do wonders for the psychological state of an addict. In any situation, feeling alone tends to make the problem worse. With meetings, you’re allowed to connect with others who understand the struggles you are going through.
You’ll Learn New Coping Skills
Of course, meetings are a great way to connect with others, but it goes much deeper than that. The recovery meetings will teach you new tools and how to cope with a variety of situations that can arise in daily life. Some people in your meetings are likely much more experienced and will be happy to share some advice about the way they handle things. Getting good advice from those who have already been in your shoes can give you the confidence and the information you need to recover more effectively. You may also hear some stories from former addicts who want to help you in the meeting. These people are an incredible source of inspiration and will encourage you to continue down the road to recovery so you can lead a more fulfilling life.
The Odds of Relapsing are Lower
Attending addiction meetings helps hold you accountable for your actions. Once you’ve met your fellow group members, you will probably feel a sense of responsibility to them and to yourself not to go into relapse. And, if you do relapse, you’ll at least have the understanding that the group is still there waiting for you. This can be highly effective at reducing the odds of relapsing altogether. When you’re held accountable by others, you may feel much more apt to try harder to stay sober. Since addiction is a chronic disease, these meetings provide you with an ongoing tool you can use whenever you need it.
You will Experience Compassion
While the behavior of some addicts can be appalling, compassion is still required for a successful recovery. In your meetings, you’ll be able to spend time with those who understand your struggle and can offer you a helpful shoulder to lean on. Just by having some level of empathy and compassion in your life, you will feel much more support during difficult times. Being able to garner some emotional support can do wonders for your self-esteem, and it may motivate you to try harder. You will also be given the chance to show compassion toward others, which can make you feel stronger. Meetings offer a place where you can experience a non-judgmental environment which prompts you to open up more about your problems without fear.
You’ll Make New Friends
Friendship is especially meaningful when you’re coping with addiction. This is particularly true with younger addicts like teens and young adults. Attending regular meetings can help you meet new people who are not only going through similar situations, but who could probably use a friend, too. Over time these friendships get stronger and you can spend time together in a sober environment. Depending on the format of the meetings, you might also have a “sponsor.” This person is your go-to and your confidant when times get tough. Addicts develop strong bonds with their sponsor since they are people they know they can trust.
Whether you’ve been assigned a meeting through your rehab program or you’re just looking for help on your own, meetings provide a range of benefits that will help you down the road to recovery. Simply knowing that you are not alone is a big relief for many. Combine that with helpful therapy and learning new coping skills, and you can begin your journey to sobriety. Meetings are offered free of charge in many locations, so don’t be afraid to find one near you and reach out for help. With some compassion and understanding, attending meetings on a regular basis can be part of the tools that will get you back on the path toward recovery.
One of the first steps toward recovery is recognizing that you need help. By going to meetings you’re already taking great strides toward handling the problem. Help from other addicts and your meeting leader can give you the strength and encouragement you need to get better. Try to attend meetings as often as possible so you can create a new support system that will provide you with empathy, understanding, and new skills to be successful. The right tools for addicts can mean the difference between continuing the addiction and moving forward to a better, more productive life.