Just as we need help and support from other humans in our everyday lives, we need it, even more, when we’re trying to recover from something, whether it be a past traumatic experience, physical injury, or any sort of addiction. Apart from the person’s own willingness to recover, addiction demanded higher intervention and specialized care from others. Substance abusers have a higher chance of relapsing, which makes recovery from it very difficult. Fortunately, support groups are there to help.
Support groups are also known as “self-help” groups. These groups assist those involved in substance abuse, known as the misuse of drugs and alcohol. Typically, they fall into three categories: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and SMART recovery. A person’s family, church, or community members may also provide recovery support—addiction recovery support groups aid people in many different ways.
1. Educating the Individual
Education is the first step towards change. The purpose of support groups for addiction is to educate the participants on a reasonable level about the consequences of substance abuse. A good understanding of possible side-effects leads to a better understanding of oneself. If the participants’ literacy level allows, they may also share research-backed education material and resources. In addition, group members often have the chance to learn from others who have experienced similar successes.
2. Providing Treatment
Sometimes, the only thing that an individual needs to overcome their substance abuse is proper addiction treatment. Addiction support groups also provide life-long recovery support. Many health groups such as the Delphi Health Group have a core mission to treat drug addiction through personalized treatment plans. An individual’s treatment plan ensures that all the needs and requirements are met in order to aid with their recovery journey.
3. Teaching Coping Skills
Support groups provide education to aid the recovery process and take a very practical approach. Participants learn the purpose of the program and how it will change their lives for the better.
Using tried-and-true techniques, they teach people to refrain from substance abuse. Sometimes, these coping skills are tailored to the individual’s needs. In the process of managing the challenges of his addiction, one builds self-efficacy, which further supports the process of recovery.
People who suffer from substance abuse can find support through organizations that advocate for them. However, when accessing healthcare and other basic human services, these individuals face many discriminatory challenges.
Support groups combat discriminatory policies to ensure that all people suffering from drug addiction have access to quality healthcare. They provide a sense of hope to the addicts. Support group leaders can also refer their participants to healthcare facilities that provide better treatment based on improved/new policies.
5. Increased Self-Awareness
By learning new and better ways to deal with challenges, individuals develop an increased sense of self-awareness, enabling them to understand themselves, their bodies, and their minds. As a result, they know what they need to do to move forward effectively with their recovery. Increased self-awareness also allows participants to stay focused on their recovery goals.
6. Emotional Support
Substance abuse and the path to recovery often leave people feeling lonely, uncomfortable, and distressed. Their feelings go beyond what they can comprehend, which frustrates them to the point of relapse. Support groups help them cope, providing a safe and non-judgmental space to express themselves.
Once they begin sharing their concerns and feelings, they begin to see that they are not alone in their suffering. Working through various issues helps individuals feel less anxious and learn to ask for help from group members.
7. Making Friends
Those suffering from addiction tend to withdraw from sober friends and develop friendships with substance abusers. The loss can be to the extent that they may find no one by their side once they wish to recover. Support groups are a safe haven for these individuals to practice their social skills and overcome social anxiety. Friendly group cultures that are welcoming and inclusive often work out well. The purpose of a support group is to help participants make new and better friends who are non-judgmental and passionate about getting them back on track to recovery.
8. Helping Others
Recovery from substance abuse often leads to individuals wanting to help more people in the same situation.
Most Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) groups are led by former drug addicts who now wish to help others. Many people learn this during their association with support groups.
Participants usually provide emotional support to each other and share tips that help them reach their recovery goals. Seeing themselves and others in the group recover from addiction instills hope for others. As a result, they are driven to help as many people as possible.
Surprisingly, support groups for addiction recovery carry out a holistic approach to help those suffering from addiction. The groups work to make both direct and indirect impacts on the participants and society. The different sizes of support groups and the variety of services they offer make it much easier for individuals to find the right kind of group to meet their needs. From medical treatment to emotional support, advocacy and education to social support, and teaching coping skills to teaching helping others, support groups play a vital role in drug addiction recovery.