Why Group Recovery Works
Often acknowledging that it’s time to seek treatment for addiction can feel shameful and isolating. When you’ve admitted to yourself and your loved ones that you have a problem, it’s not uncommon to have a low sense of your self-worth and to feel that no one could possibly understand the burdens of your addiction. It’s for that very reason that many addiction treatment facilities offer group therapy to connect you with others struggling with the same issues that you are.
Group therapy is an incredible tool which can instill a sense of confidence, hope and reassurance that you are not alone in your journey to recovery. While the effectiveness of group therapy on its own may be limited, evidence suggests that, when used in conjunction with other clinical treatment methods, there is great value in group therapy as a core component of the recovery process.
Addiction can often be a perpetual cycle of loneliness and self-medicating through the use of drugs or alcohol to numb feelings of depression or isolation. It’s quite common for substance abusers to feel alone and cut off from the outside world. When treatment includes regular group therapy sessions, recovering addicts begin to feel comfortable sharing their experiences with others who are also working through recovery and learning to cope with the triggers and emotional distress associated with addiction.
The ability to communicate feelings is a critical step in overcoming external factors that may enable your drug addiction and substance abuse. Because there are often underlying triggers for substance abuse, it’s important for recovering addicts to develop an awareness for what those factors are and how to cope with them. Having a safe place for sharing, listening, and learning in confidence from others who are in similar situations can help you to understand those issues and how to overcome them.
It’s also not uncommon to form bonds and companionship with others in your group as you realize that the struggles of addiction aren’t only exclusive to you. These relationships can be leveraged down the road to hold you accountable in your journey to sobriety. The comfort of knowing that someone who understands what you’re going through is available to talk you down from temptation can be a great resource.
While group therapy is recognized to be quite effective as a tool throughout the recovery process, its value depends heavily on how it is used within a complete treatment program. It’s reassuring to know that there are others who can empathize with you and support you in your journey to sobriety, so don’t underestimate the healing properties of community as you work to overcome your addiction struggles.
Reviewed and Assessed by
Taylor Brown, B.A.Com., MAADC II
Tim Coleman, M. of Ed.