| Peter Cook
From our previous blogs, we now know that groups, in general, are great! But group therapy also provides benefits to people with substance abuse.
According to the 'Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration' (SAMHSA), when you are part of such a group, you identify with others. Yes, the group might confront you, but they will also support you.
Group therapy is core to help cure any addition. People in groups have a high rate of accountability toward others, which helps change their behavior. Meaningful relationships always come out tops!
Why is a group so effective?
- There is peer support from people in the same boat as you.
- There is also a type of peer pressureat work! Everyone wants you to succeed in abstaining from your preferred substance of abuse.
- You can feel that you are not alone.
- When you see how others succeed, you are enabled. ‘If he can do it, I can too.’
Group therapy for an eating disorder
Let’s look at eating disorders, for example. Although professionals recommend you work with a doctor or certified therapist, joining a group will help you make connections and insights that you might not have had before.
(We are using an eating disorder as an example here, but the general facts in this blog are, of course, real for any support group.)
How do I get into a group?
There are several ways to become part of a group.
- You can join a support groupfor your eating addiction. Support groups are looser and more flexible than therapy groups. Here, peers support each other. The number of people attending may fluctuate every week (so-called 'drop-in' groups), and such a group can be led by a recovered addict or a community member. (Why not start your own group?)
- A group led by a therapist has more structure. You’ll be able to really get to know your group mates, as this type of group usually has the same members coming every week.
- There are online support groups available. This is not the same as a face-to-face setting, but it works well for some people.
The eating disorder help website https://mirror-mirror.org/ states they also rely on 12-steps groups for recovery, just like the AA.
The 12-step group approach is accessible to all types of addiction. (Binge- and compulsive eating disorders are addictive, too.) In fact, if you can’t find an eating disorder group in your area, but there is a regular AA meeting, it can be just as good to attend. Behaviors might differ, but the steps are still the same.
A 12-step program focusses on the fact that, for recovery, one must look at the whole person. Healing must be physical but also emotional and spiritual. When you are part of such a group, you will often work with a mentor who can help you work out your issues.
(For more detailed eating disorder help, find some group resources here.)
Why don’t you want to go?
It can be intimidating to face a group and discuss your innermost feelings. It takes courage to take the first step.
Many, many others before you can attest that a group can be an incredible resource in your addiction recovery. We are social beings, after all. In our next blog, we shall look at some group therapy success stories.
At Largest Heart, we encourage you to harness the power of a group to recover from addiction! It is within us: we want to share and connect with others. Not only will you help yourself, but you might also help someone else.
Please connect with us if you need some more help.