There are times in our recovery in which we feel we alone are travelling a solitary path–and to a certain degree we are.
It is true that in our recovery journey we must do the heavy lifting as far as doing the things necessary to stay clean and sober. However, we also must keep in mind that we do not recover in isolation. From our first tentative days in drug treatment, we learn the importance of leaning on others who are travelling similar paths to our own.
Having the support and encouragement of our peers who share our victories and setbacks in recovery is a tremendous benefit in helping us stay positive and motivated to stay on the right path. Because of that fact, drug and alcohol rehab centers feature group therapy as one of the crucial components in a comprehensive drug treatment and aftercare program.
Group therapy has been the backbone of drug treatment programs of all types for one simple reason—the peer interaction, support and empowerment that is derived from that support can be instrumental in helping those addicted to drugs address and overcome the underlying issues that keep them firmly in the grip of substance use
The following are 7 ways group therapy helps you get sober.
Perhaps one of the biggest ways group therapy helps you get sober is due to the encouragement you receive from those who walk a similar path to your own in sobriety. When we were active in our drug and alcohol addiction, our behaviors shut us off from family, friends and others that we love and care about. When we start the process of recovering from substance abuse, we continue to feel loneliness and isolation and can often feel overwhelmed with the sometimes raw and visceral emotions we feel.
In group therapy, we realize that we are truly not alone and that other people just like us are going through the same thing. The group shares their stories, cheers each other’s small victories and provides a collective shoulder to lean on when someone falls short. This support gives us the confidence to move forward in our recovery.
Another of the big ways group therapy helps you get sober is the fact that group members can be open in sharing their struggles in an environment which is safe, supportive and free of judgement. When we share our struggles and learn from the feedback of others you are better able to create healthy solutions to your own problems. When you share your problems with the group, there will be a peer who probably had gone through a similar experience and found a way to resolve that challenge. You will start seeing things from a different perspective and you may find easy solutions to problems that seemed insurmountable.
The Development of Life Skills
Group therapy is also an excellent way to develop the life skills that you will need to adequately interact with your environment when you leave treatment and resume your daily life. Life skills such as employment coaching, money management, and the development of a healthy daily schedule are an essential part of your relapse prevention and long-term recovery plan. Group therapy will also give you the chance to put into practice life skills such as anger management and other coping techniques that will help you deal with stress in a healthy manner. Additionally, Group therapy will help you learn to communicate with others is a healthy and respectful manner. Additionally, you will learn how to truly listen to others and develop empathy.
You Can “Try Out” New Behaviors
An additional benefit of group therapy is the fact will give you the opportunity to try out new behaviors and ways of thinking that are recovery oriented. In a supportive and empowering environment, you are also able to confront your old and maladaptive ways of thinking and myths about addiction and recovery that you may have held when you first came into treatment. If you try out a new way of behaving or thinking and it doesn’t work out, you have the support and guidance of the group to give you encouragement and feedback.
One of the main benefits of addiction therapy in a group setting in the fact that you learn about the underlying causes of addiction. You will learn about the physical, social, emotional and spiritual consequences of substance abuse as well as the coping techniques you need to avoid those consequences in recovery.
You Learn to Change, You Begin to Grow
Another one of the ways group therapy helps you get sober is that experienced staff can utilize specific therapy methods that can dig down to the deepest roots of your addictive behaviors. A common therapy approach that is used in this type of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With CBT, people identify negative behaviors that keep them stuck and give them ways to modify those behaviors. In a group setting, you will learn to change your behavior in real time and transform them into healthy and beneficial behaviors. The added elements of peer feedback and support reinforces those changes.
Group Therapy is a Safe Environment
As stated earlier, an important of group therapy is that it provides a safe and secure place which is free of judgment. As you progress in drug treatment, your peers become your family and you share in each other’s joy as well as sorrow. You are free to share any and all of your feelings and feel a sense of empowerment to confidently step out in the world as a clean and sober person.