What to Expect From a Support Group

Finding a good support group is key to your rehab aftercare. Depending upon your needs, you might opt for group therapy, which is led by a licensed therapist and tends to be more structured. Or you may end up in a more loosely-structured support group. Either type of group will offer you the opportunity to form connections with people who understand you within a safe and comfortable environment. But what else should you expect?

There will be rules. Yes, a support group is a place where you can fully be yourself and find understanding from others. However, there will be certain ground rules that you will be expected to follow. These may be obvious, such as not bringing weapons or illegal substances to therapy, or they may seem little more specific or even unnecessary to you. Remember that the rules are there for a reason, and they are for everyone’s benefit.

You will learn coping skills. Sometimes all the one-on-one therapy in the world won’t teach you the coping skills you can learn from others who have been in your shoes. Group therapy is no replacement for one-on-one therapy, of course, but it is a valuable supplement.

It will motivate you. You will meet people who are in all stages of recovering from addiction. Those who have been in recovery longer and have been successful will help you stay motivated to reach the same goals.

It’s a safe place to vent your frustrations. Sometimes it will seem like friends and family do not understand your struggle, even if they really are trying. Support groups allow you to vent any anger or frustrations in a supportive environment, with people who have similar feelings.

It’s not just for those in rehab aftercare. Your loved ones may also benefit from a support group geared toward their needs, and it will ultimately help them support you better.

Watch out for enablers. Most of the results from a support group are entirely positive. However, since it is a place to meet other people who are in rehab aftercare, you may occasionally run into an enabler. These people may talk about how they went off the wagon last weekend and all the fun they had, or invite you to a party where drugs and alcohol will be present. It’s important to be aware that these people risk your entire recovery, and to talk to the group leader or therapist if anything inappropriate happens inside or outside the group.

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