When you’re suffering from an addiction, the world often feels cold and lonely. You may feel that nobody really knows what you’re going through, and you may be reluctant to trust anyone who says they can help.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you are struggling with drug abuse or addiction, it’s important to realize that you’re not alone. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 20 million people suffer from these very things every year in the United States. Sadly, only a small amount end up seeking treatment (around 10 percent), largely due to unjustified social stigma and lack of awareness. But by realizing that you are not alone in your addiction struggle and accepting help, you can avoid becoming another statistic. There’s no better time than the present to start working toward the healthy, happy life you deserve!
Today’s addiction treatment options offer a variety of ways to help you feel more comfortable with tackling your issues and moving forward. For example, group counseling (also known as “group therapy”) is a form of treatment therapy filled with people who have actually been in your shoes. You can also pair group counseling with other forms of addiction treatment to make sure you are getting a well-rounded approach and are addressing all of your needs.
How Group Therapy Works
In most group counseling setups, one or sometimes more therapists, lead discussion in a group of people dealing with similar issues. This discussion is often focused on specific subjects that can prompt self-reflection and better insight. That said, it’s not uncommon for related conversations to start naturally flowing as group members become more comfortable with each other. Some group therapy setups are done in a seated circle so everyone can easily view and hear each other, while others are done in a classroom or auditorium-style setup, where speakers take turns going to the front of the room for better focus.
You will meet with your group multiple times (often weekly) over the course of several months, though the exact amount of time can vary. Many people even end up meeting with their group for a year or longer, after they have left initial addiction treatment and moved into recovery. Meeting regularly with a group can help keep you more focused on sobriety and can even keep you more accountable for the choices you make.
It’s worth noting here that group counseling is different from a support group. Group counseling takes place in addiction treatment centers, hospitals and other medical facilities, whereas support groups are often in churches, community facilities or anywhere that meeting space is available. While you can conveniently find support groups just about anywhere, they are best saved for later on once you have achieved sobriety and are fully in addiction recovery. This is because support groups are generally not run by professionals and exist primarily as an outlet for people to talk about their struggles of everyday life. They can be great as part of your support system, but when you are struggling to recover from addiction you will be in need of more focused care with professional guidance.
Learn to Open up in Group Therapy
While sharing your story in a group can seem intimidating at first, you’ll be far from alone. Many people find that it is actually easier to share their own story after listening to others go into details about theirs. Hearing similarities in the stories of others and relating to their experiences will help you realize that your own issues may not be so isolating after all. And by sharing your own stories and talking through your problems with others, you can gain fresh perspective. Many people even feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders after getting to finally tell their story to people who have been there themselves.
Learning to open up and express your feelings in a healthy manner is actually one of the biggest benefits of group therapy. In time, you may even find yourself becoming a role model to others just starting down the path of addiction recovery.
Other Benefits of Group Counseling
In addition to being comforted by others going through your experiences and learning to express your feelings in a healthy way, there are a variety of other benefits group counseling has to offer:
- Practice social skills and learn to make connections with others in a healthy way that does not involve substances.
- Be receptive to new ideas from others who have been in your shoes.
- Motivate yourself by seeing how others are tackling addiction treatment and recovery.
- Gain confidence in social settings by both giving and receiving support.
- Pair group therapy with other forms of addiction treatment for the most effective program available to you.
Is Group Counseling Right for Me?
Is group counseling really the right choice for you? To learn more about group therapy and how it can fit within your addiction recovery plan, get in touch with our team at Atlanta Recovery Place, located in Dunwoody, Georgia. We believe that, with the right care, all individuals suffering from addiction and/or struggling with substance abuse can learn to make healthy choices and improve their lives. It’s not too late to achieve a happy, productive life of sobriety. We invite you to reach out to us today to learn more!