Support group membership can be an important part of your recovery from addiction. Experts agree that there are several important elements to effective treatment for addiction. One of those elements must address the social needs of the addict. You can and should go through individual counseling and other types of treatment, but you also need social support. A support group is a great way to get that aspect of treatment.
Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Support Group
When you join a support group, make sure you make the most of the experience.
1. Finding A Support Group
The first important step in having a positive support group experience is finding the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to try a few meetings with different groups to choose the one you like best. There is no rule that says you have to commit to a group after attending just one meeting. Contact community centers, religious organizations, your local library and the local newspaper to find available support groups. You can also speak to your doctor or search online for available groups.
2. Participating In A Support Group
Once you have found a group you like and in which you feel comfortable, start attending meetings regularly. You won’t get much support if you only go to meetings sporadically. You need to develop a rapport with your fellow members, get to know them and let them get to know you, even if it is anonymous. Participating is important too. It’s ok to just listen at first. You may not feel comfortable speaking up right away, but push yourself to start participating after a few meetings. You will get the most benefit from your group when you start to talk and share.
3. Be Honest And Open
An important reason for anonymity in support groups is that it helps everyone to feel better about opening up and sharing. You will get the most out of your experience if you don’t hold back. When it’s time to tell your story, be open, tell the truth and share as much about your experience as you can. Speaking out loud about what you have been through is a powerful tool for healing. The experience of being supported and comforted by those around you is restorative.
4. Work With A Sponsor
Support groups offer more than just a crowd to hear your stories and to which you can listen. They also offer the possibility of developing a meaningful relationship with a sponsor. Working with someone who has been in your position and who has more sober years than you is a wonderful tool for your own sobriety. This relationship can be long term and can be something you turn to in your times of need.
5. Get Involved
A support group is also a great way to get involved in something positive. Replacing your old, bad habits with new activities that have a positive impact on your life is an important step toward long-term sobriety. Get involved in organizing meetings and other events. Volunteer your time and talents to making the group more successful. When you’re ready, volunteer to be a sponsor and help someone else who desperately needs it.
Support groups are powerful instruments for lasting change, but only when you immerse yourself in the experience. Sporadic attendance and weak participation will only take you so far. To really get the most out of a support group you need to attend regularly, get involved, work with a sponsor and open up to your fellow members while also listening to their stories.
I Think I Feel Better … How to Know If Your Therapy Is ‘Working’
01 Sep 2014
Addiction is a complex disease that starts in the brain and affects the entire body. It includes components of mental and physical health and requires an individualized treatment plan that addresses all the patient’s needs. A complete program of treatment for addiction should include some type of therapy or counseling, but with so many options available, it can be confusing. Learn about therapy and what it means for addiction to be sure you are getting the kind of treatment you need in order to heal.
Addiction Therapy Types
Individualized Treatment For Addiction
The first and most important thing to realize when getting treatment for your addiction is that the most effective plans are individualized. Addiction is both complex and personal. Everyone is different and responds differently to treatment approaches. Make sure that the therapist, counselor or rehab facility you work with will take this into account and has a philosophy of individualizing care.
Outpatient vs. Residential Therapy
Receiving therapy on an outpatient basis means that you can stay at home and visit your treatment center at convenient times. This option works well for people who need to continue going to work and who have a strong support network at home. If your addiction is severe and you have no one to support you in your sobriety, you might want to consider getting therapy in a residential setting. This means staying overnight for a period of a week or up to several months in a facility dedicated to addiction treatment. Both types of care will allow you to get the therapy you need, but one may be better suited to your needs than the other.
The type of therapy that you are most likely to encounter while being treated for addiction is called cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. A therapist practicing CBT will help you to learn what prompts your drug use or drinking. CBT helps you to recognize these motivations and teaches you how to change your substance abuse behaviors. CBT is sometimes also combined with a type of therapy called mindfulness. This means learning how to be more aware of your mood, your physical symptoms and external factors so that you can recognize triggers and avoid relapsing and using drugs or alcohol after a period of sobriety.
Group Therapy And Support
Another important component of treatment for addiction is social therapy. When you can work with other addicts, people who understand what you are going through, your treatment becomes more powerful. Group therapy sessions are common in residential rehab facilities, but you can find groups to attend on an outpatient basis. The experience of sharing your struggles in a safe environment, and learning from others, is powerful and can advance your healing. The support of these other people can lead to lifelong relationships that help you to stay sober.
Addiction often starts at home; working with your family as you go through therapy can be helpful. If members of your family are willing, a therapist will work with you as a group and consider the family as a system with its own special dynamics. Being able to open up with your family and getting to the root of some of your issues is not always comfortable, but it can go a long way toward helping you get and stay sober.
Therapy is an essential component of addiction treatment and one that you should consider carefully. If you have no idea where to start, let your physician refer you to a good therapist. From there you can plan your course of treatment, decide whether you need a residential facility and begin to work toward your goal of recovery.
Ready To Begin Addiction Therapy? Call Us Now To Learn More
17 Dec 2013
Promises Austin is a luxury rehab center just outside Austin, Texas that treats men and women ages 26 and older who are looking for the most advanced and effective treatment available for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. We are able to provide extraordinary personal attention and a superior staff-to-client ratio because we treat a maximum of 24 clients at a time.
Located on a private, nine-acre estate nestled in the scenic Texas Hill Country, Promises Austin is a Joint Commission-accredited luxury rehab. Our programs are comprehensive, customized, evidence-based and effective, encompassing everything from medical detox to 35- and 60-day addiction treatment programs. We provide personalized treatment plans that are designed to address our clients’ physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs.
At Promises Austin, we recognize that depression, anxiety, trauma and other mental health issues often accompany substance abuse. Our team of experienced counselors, a physician, and 24-hour nursing staff addresses these underlying issues during rehab.
Unique Addiction Treatment Programs
What can you expect during your stay at Promises Austin? Our approach includes more than a dozen holistic and traditional therapies merged into one luxury rehab experience. Our goal is to help you heal. Our addiction treatment programs offer a variety of therapies including:
- Aqua Therapy
- Drum Circles
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Integrative Breathwork
- Expressive Art Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Medicine Wheel
- Personal Training
- Recreation Therapy
When you come to Promises Austin, you enter a luxury rehab center that is part of the Promises nationwide family of addiction treatment facilities. This means that each and every client receives Promises excellence – our promise to you.
After you leave Promises Austin, having completed your personalized addiction treatment program here in Texas, you’re not thrust out into the world with no resources. Our goal is to help you achieve lifelong sobriety. To that end, we provide one year of recovery coaching with your primary therapist so that clients who have completed the Promises Austin residential addiction treatment program may return for additional support as needed within the first year – at no cost.
Discover what it truly means to heal out here in Texas, call us today and begin your journey to recovery and freedom from addiction!
Maybe you’ve been feeling a little down lately, or maybe you’ve noticed that you are getting upset or angry or nervous too often. Your friends and family supported your decision to try therapy and you are finally giving it a shot. After being in therapy for a few weeks or so, it isn’t brand new any more. You have learned some coping skills, and the crisis that brought you to seek therapy in the first place is noticeably moving toward a resolution. Now that you’re in the “work” part of the process, how do you know when it is working? Is feeling better enough?
Absence of Symptoms
For most people who start a therapy program, getting rid of symptoms is probably the single most important thing they hope to get out of therapy: most people want to stop feeling unpleasant or uncomfortable feelings and they want to stop doing things that make them feel worse. Gaining control over emotions and behaviors often top the list of therapy goals.
Depending upon the specific details in your situation, gaining control may happen fairly quickly. Most people enter therapy bec
ause of a crisis, and any given crisis tends to flare up and then resolve. While it might seem like “hey, I went to therapy and things got better” the truth is that sometimes things just get better on their own with a little time.
It is normal to feel at least a little better fairly quickly after starting therapy, partly because it is a real relief to feel like you’ve stepped on the right path and that you’re doing something to get help
. Most people begin feel like their therapists are allies. Just telling your story and feeling like you’ve been heard can reduce feeling of anxiety and hopelessness.
Though in order to reduce or eliminate your symptoms on a more long-term basis you’ll need to work with your therapist over time to:
- Identify triggers
- Develop coping techniques for in-the-moment management
- Develop prevention strategies
Things Get Worse Before They Get Better
You might find that as you settle into the work of therapy—identifying your triggers and working on coping strategies—you end up feeling worse again. Why does this happen? One thing that therapy does for you is it helps you become more self-aware. You are likely to pay more attention to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to start wondering about connections between all three. Having time each week to focus on yourself, and having a therapist that pays attention to you tends to help you turn inward and be more self reflective.
So how does that make you feel worse? Well, before entering therapy, you had ways of making yourself feel better when you were feeling anxious or sad or out of sorts in any other way. Often these old coping behaviors (the ones you used before you entered therapy) were less than ideal—and in some cases they can be downright dysfunctional. Using food, sex, relationships, shopping or any other distracting behaviors to manage emotions is very common, and for a while, it seems to work.
Preventing Symptoms Before They Happen
You’ve heard the old story repeated in addiction treatment or self-help groups: you walk down a road and fall into a hole. The next time you walk down the road you are more careful, but you still get distracted at the last moment and fall. Over time you learn to walk more slowly down that road, to anticipate the hole and maybe even to walk around it. Eventually you can choose to walk down a different road.
Preventing symptoms of anxiety, depression, or even distractibility or irritability can happen by paying attention to your triggers and ultimately learning to make different choices to avoid putting yourself into situations that are likely to make you feel bad. Therapy can help you learn to think ahead and predict how certain behaviors will make you feel. Over time, you will be able to make choices based on these predictions, and ultimately feel better and better about yourself and your life. Life will keep handing you challenges and difficulties, but you’ll find yourself better and better equipped to manage them.
Therapy can be a wonderful and important part of getting healthy. It might not be comfortable every step of the way, but it is always worth the effort.