Following drug or alcohol rehab, informal 12 step support groups can be a valuable post-treatment resource. What goes on in these groups? More importantly, how can they help you stay sober?
Why People Attend Informal 12 Step Support Groups
Whether you’ve been in recovery for 20 years or 20 minutes, relying on emotional support is vital. Sobriety can get lonely. Moreover, you know that spending time with friends who are still using isn’t in your best interest. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with like-minded peers in recovery can keep you on the right path.
12 step support groups help individuals who have finished treatment maintain a level of accountability. Life after rehab can be difficult, especially while living outside of a structured rehabilitation environment. 12 step program meetings promote camaraderie in recovery. For instance, AA or NA sponsors can lend a compassionate ear to individuals regardless of the situation. While they may not have the expertise of licensed therapists and counselors, they can still be guides on your road to recovery.
How Group Therapy and Support Groups Differ
At rehab, you went to group therapy. There, a therapist facilitated meetings. Throughout the duration of your addiction treatment, group members worked toward a common goal.
Addiction support groups are typically open. People come and go. The groups continue indefinitely, and the facilitator regulates interactions rather than providing a framework. There’s little formality.
Rehab Prepares You for Support Group Attendance
High-quality addiction treatment programs know that people who graduate from rehab might seek out support groups. For example, the best rehab centers offer integrated clinical care approaches that prepare you for post-treatment life, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy that helps you identify and change dysfunctional patterns
- Dialectical behavior therapy that helps address overwhelming emotional responses
- Dual diagnosis treatment for people with co-occurring mental health conditions
- Group therapy sessions that introduce you to joint learning and healthy interactions with peers
- Family therapy, which can help with the establishment of boundaries and productive communication patterns
Experiential therapies, in particular, can be instrumental in preparing you for support group attendance. These therapeutic settings focus heavily on peer interactions. Examples might include ropes courses, art sessions, and hiking. Because you interact with others in recovery, you get to hone your coping skills.
As you undergo extensive counseling, you’ll identify areas that need more work. In many ways, living at a rehab center is practice for independent living. Once you begin going to an informal 12 step program following treatment, you’ll have the tools needed to maintain your sobriety.
Are you ready to start changing? Ashley Addiction Treatment wants to help. Call us at 866-313-6310 today.