Whether we realize it or not we all have support groups of many kinds. We surround ourselves with people that validate us, and who help us in various ways.
When you get on the road to sobriety, one of the first things you are told to do is to cut ties with those people who are a bad influence. These are people that enable your addiction, validate your behavior, and encourage you to make bad decisions.
Once you begin treatment for addiction, you may rid yourself of bad influences, but then you will find a hole, or something missing. That something missing is a support group that can help you on the road to recovery.
Why You Need A Support Group
It is true that the journey to sobriety, and staying sober, is an individual journey you must take for yourself. Even so, that does not diminish the importance of having a support group. We need other people no matter what we are doing.
We all need a support group. Many of these are formed unconcsiously as we select a group of friends to associate with. This group will influence you for the good or bad. When on the road to sobriety, you can choose the support group you need intentionally. Choosing new friends is just one part of the road to recovery.
A support group gives us a sense of community. It is a social network where you can get support, friendship and hope that you will indeed overcome. Seeing other people struggle and overcome can inspire us to keep trying when the road gets rough. We can also be helped as we help others with their struggles. It is easier to fight against an enemy when you feel like you have allies in the struggle. Being alone, or feeling alone, is one of the things that makes addiction hard to beat, and makes sobriety hard to achieve.
One of the main benefits of a support group is sharing with each other. As you listen to other people’s stories, and as they listen to yours, you can become inspired to keep going. Part of the problem of addiction is seeing yourself as alone, which makes the addiction worse. Having that group around you helps you realize you are not alone. You may also learn something from the stories of other people, which also helps with recovery.
When you were under the control of addiction, you had friends that shared a similar interest and maybe even the same addiction. You may not have been aware of it, but they were influencing you to make bad choices. With a positive support group, you can have other kinds of friends, the ones that support you and encourage you to make good choices.
The friends are there every day, and you need that support. There are also times when the going gets rough and you need more than a casual friend. In those times you can get the encouragement you need through your support group or network. They are there to help you when you are struggling most. Another benefit is mutual support which gives motivation. You can help motivate others in your support group, and they can help you. By talking about issues you help and encourage each other.
Accountability is another aspect of having a support group. Encouragement and validation that friends provide is great, but there is another side. You need to have someone in your life who will question you when you start slipping into old ways that could lead you back to addiction. The group supports you and encourages you, and it also holds you accountable and points it out when you do not do well. You will be doing the same for other members of the group. There is then, both a benefit and a responsibility in a support group.
Being part of a group gives you a chance to be around individuals who are struggling just like you are. it also gives you a chance to be around people who are recovering and they will be a great inspiration. It is easier to relate to people who are either in or have been in, the same situation you are in. It is easier to relate to each other on many levels.
The group also gives you someone to talk to who can understand your struggles. it is very discouraging to try to talk to someone about your struggles if they are judging you or giving you simplistic answers, which is what you do not need. The more you talk about your addiction, the better you will be able to control the addiction. Secrecy is part of what makes it so strong, so talking about it defeats that before it has a chance to grow.