Struggling with a substance use disorder can feel quite lonely. As your drug or alcohol use continues and worsens, you may well find yourself cut off from more and more people.
That might be because you are trying to hide your problem from others. It might be because your drug or alcohol use has led to rifts in some (perhaps many) of your relationships. It might be because you are consistently choosing drugs or alcohol over the social activities and responsibilities you previously attended to. In any event, a substance use disorder can lead to isolation and loneliness.
Recovery, on the other hand, is often most effective and long-lasting when thought of as a group activity.
Let’s take a look at three groups that can help you find success in recovery.
Group One: Your Group Therapy Community
Many times, group therapy is a key component of the rehabilitation portion of treatment for a substance use disorder. For some people, that feels odd—or even uncomfortable. After all, your substance use disorder is yours and yours alone, right? So what can be gained from group therapy?
The answer, it turns out, is quite a lot.
A group therapy session under the guidance of a trained counselor allows each individual to realize they are not, in fact, alone in their struggles. Here is a group of people who have similar struggles with drugs or alcohol, who have made a decision to get sober and work to stay sober, and who may have insights, uncertainties, and questions that are similar to your own.
By getting together and talking these challenges through, a sense of mutual support can develop. And that support can play a crucial role in helping you to overcome cravings, stressors, and doubts about whether you really will be able to maintain your sobriety.
Group Two: Your 12-Step Meeting Community
In many ways, your 12-Step (or other recovery program) meetings are similar to group therapy. A group of individuals with similar stories, goals, and challenges come together to support one another as they all work to maintain their hard-won sobriety.
While there is not a professional substance use and mental health counselor present for 12-Step convenings, the gatherings still offer benefits in that they remind you that others are doing the same hard work you are doing to stay sober. Some days, the stories shared in a meeting might offer a new perspective or renewed hope to you; other days, your story might offer the same to someone else.
These meetings offer everyone the opportunity to keep showing up for one another—and that can be a truly powerful thing.
Group Three: Your Supportive Family and Friends
The first two groups we have examined are likely to be made up of individuals you do not know in any other context. That can be powerful because you all have a shared set of experiences that are at the center of your time together.
But your family and friends are people who have had your back for a long time—and as a result, they can provide truly essential support to your recovery. These are the people who will answer the phone in the middle of the night when you are struggling with cravings, who will make sure no one bombards you with questions when you turn down a drink in a social setting, and who will always remind you of their love and support no matter how tough the going gets. These are the people who will rally around you and keep loneliness at bay.
Of course, these relationships are also about much more than your sobriety. These are the people who bring you joy—and to whom you bring joy—simply because they are your closest companions and you have shared history. These things are important in and of themselves—and they support your sobriety, too.
We Are a Group of Committed Professionals—and We Can Help
At Bel Aire Recovery Center in Kansas, we have the empathy, the experience, and the expertise to help you regain your sobriety and begin your recovery journey with confidence. We offer personalized care (after all, groups can be beneficial, but you are still an individual) grounded in evidence-based practices. And we can address co-occurring mental health disorders—depression, anxiety, trauma, and the like—that may be contributing to your substance use disorder (or be worsened by that disorder).
Sobriety and recovery are challenging, but you do not have to do the work alone. Let the staff of Bel Aire Recovery Center support you as your recovery gets underway.