10 Nov Discover The Importance of Community Support During Recovery
Coping with a substance abuse disorder (SUD) can often feel isolating. Some people experience feelings of shame or guilt that keep them distanced from family and friends. However, in order to have a successful recovery, those in active addiction need a community of medical professionals, peers, and others to help them find their path to recovery. Those already in recovery need support from others to help them maintain their sobriety.
It does not matter where you currently are on your journey; community support is vital in recovery success.
While support groups are great, it takes more than just showing up to a meeting to help maintain sobriety. It takes commitment and participation. Be committed to getting better, show up, share your experiences, and you’ll find the help you need and help others in the process.
What Does Community Support Look Like?
Community support groups or peer groups are groups of individuals who share the same therapy or the same disorder and are seeking to reach shared milestones. The individuals in these groups meet often to share their experiences, knowledge, and coping strategies to help them remain sober. They also offer support and encouragement to others in the group.
Peer Group Categories:
- Group Therapy: This is the most common type of peer group. These groups are usually led by a therapist or a counselor and consist of individuals who are at similar points in their recovery process. These groups have a definitive treatment plan in mind for members.
- Peer-Led: These groups are informal, and members can be at any stage of their recovery. All are welcome to join this group even if you are just entering recovery or have been in recovery for a length of time. In these meetings, individuals share their stories and coping strategies in an effort to help others—as well as themselves—stay committed to their sobriety.
Are Peer Support Groups Effective?
Research has shown that peer groups are effective. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also known as SAMHSA, offers a free downloadable peer support guide. Peer support groups offer some of the following benefits for the individual:
- Increased sense of control over one’s life
- Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
- More inclined to believe that substance abuse treatment is effective
- Increased hope
- Better engagement in self-care
Examples of peer support groups include:
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- Al-Anon Family Groups
- Parents of Addicted Loved Ones
- Cocaine Anonymous
Why Support Groups Work
If you do not have friends who are sober or in recovery, you may experience a relapse. Peer groups will help you form new bonds with people who understand what you are going through and will be there to support you when you may feel alone.
Peer groups also provide a sense of community. Having relationships and knowing you are not alone is essential to gaining and maintaining sobriety. These groups will provide you with the support, hope, and friendships you need.
While sobriety-specific support is key, these groups are not the only ones that offer you a chance to connect with peers. Find groups or clubs that also speak to your outside interests. Like to run? Join a running club. Like to garden? Join a local gardening club. Remaining active and making new connections through hobbies will also support your recovery.
A few questions to ask yourself when you are considering if you’re ready to join a peer support group:
- Do you work well in group settings?
- Are you ready to face your challenges and discuss them honestly?
- Are you ready to accept help or listen to others going through similar circumstances?
- What kind of group therapy would work best—one that has a specific treatment plan or one that is more casual?
If you cannot physically attend a meeting, there are resources to help you find online peer groups. Let us know how we can help.