Having support through addiction is essential, but you need different kinds of support for different situations. Even if you have a family full of people who want to help, they aren’t necessarily the help you need.
When you’re in the deep pit of addiction and need help to avoid using, you want someone who understands because they’ve been there. They know how to get you out of where you are. This is when support groups become vital.
What Are Support Groups?
A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine made it clear that the use of support groups improves the quality of life of those suffering from chronic disease.
The goal of support groups is to bring people together who need help and reassurance. Those in attendance are going through similar experiences and can offer a unique perspective that a therapist doesn’t have, family lacks, and even friends can’t see.
Support groups for those with alcohol and drug addiction tend to revolve around dealing with crisis situations or triggers that could put you at risk of relapsing. But you can also use them to share successes and triumphant moments when you want to tell someone who truly understands.
In support groups, you have the opportunity to listen, share, express feelings, talk about struggles and learn strategies for dealing with day-to-day life. Support groups don’t replace your doctors and therapists. They supplement the help you receive and, in many cases, provide a constant outlet for your emotional and physical well-being.
Types of Support Groups
Support groups exist for many needs and follow various formats or treatment methods.
Depression Support Groups
If you’re being treated for depression, having a support group can help you get firsthand knowledge and encouragement from those who are also battling this condition. You can talk openly about how you feel and discuss the strategies you use to overcome challenges. If you are feeling scared or overwhelmed by the day’s events, a support group may give you the knowledge you need to reassure yourself.
Anxiety Support Group
An anxiety support group can be an excellent opportunity for you to stretch yourself further. When you attend a meeting, you’re in a room full of others feeling the same way you do. There’s no pressure and no expectations.
In this type of group, getting encouragement is key, but sharing strategies about how to manage situations or navigate high-anxiety challenges can give you the footing you need.
Alcohol Support Group
Perhaps the most well-known form of support groups, alcohol-related groups, including AA, focus on both the good and bad. If you feel like having a drink, this is where you want and need to be.
When the day is truly difficult, this is where you can go for resources and potential understanding of your situation. There’s no judgment here.
Drug Addiction Support Group
One of the most powerful forms of support, drug addiction groups provide the immediate, supportive environment you need if you are thinking about using. Because those who have drug addictions tend to carry a significant amount of self-blame, this environment can provide immediate help from others who know how withdrawal feels and how challenging it is to live clean.
What Standards Do Support Groups Follow?
When choosing any type of alcohol, drug or mental health support group, a key factor to consider is the standards they follow. For example, some organizations are very religious, while others offer peer support. Some common standards include Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART and LifeRing.
When choosing, aim for an organization or standard that you believe in. If possible, choose one that’s following the same basic model of type care that you are receiving through a licensed therapist. Feel free to explore different programs, as long as you can verify the benefits of the standard they follow.
Support Groups Have Limitations
Support groups are incredible opportunities for those in need. Yet, they cannot provide you with all the care you need if you are battling addiction or mental health challenges. They can offer immediate help in a situation where you are considering making the wrong decision. However, they cannot:
- Help you to detox; they are not meant to provide you with support for detoxing
- Support your immediate crisis, especially in situations of potential drug overdose or suicide risk
- Provide you with a comprehensive plan for long-term recovery.
Support groups can provide you with insight, real-life support and guidance. All you have to do is reach out.
How to Find a Support Group
Most communities have numerous free support groups. A good place to start looking is through your current doctor or therapist.
They may have a list of nearby facilities and organizations supporting these groups. Here are a few additional resources to help you find the care you need:
- Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the largest groups for those working the 12-Step Program.
- SMART Recovery provides self-help addiction recovery tools and resources in local communities and online.
- LifeRing Secular Recovery offers meetings in person and online for a constant level of support. This is an abstinence-based program, but it is not 12 step.
In addition, turn to your local religious organization, community resource center, hospital and doctor’s offices for assistance in locating a local program for your needs.
Ready to Make a Change? Start With FHE Health
Your life depends on creating new opportunities with a comprehensive care plan designed just for your substance abuse or mental health needs. FHE Health offers private, customized treatment plans. To learn more about how we can help you, call our compassionate counselors 24 hours a day at (833) 596-3502.