Are you suffering from substance abuse and want to seek treatment? If so, you have likely heard of one-on-one treatment and group treatment options, and you may feel group treatment is a scary endeavor. Perhaps your fear stems from communicating with strangers about your life or past, or it may be that you have an introverted personality or you are shy. A treatment center will likely offer both forms of treatment to their patients, but at some point, you may need to consider the benefits of group therapy to help you to achieve long-term sobriety. The following points can help you better understand how group therapy can help you.
Many group settings inform participants that it is essential to protect the anonymity of other people in treatment. This usually does not mean that you cannot tell others that you are in treatment, but you are not supposed to tell who else is in group treatment with you. Based on this premise, you can openly share and participate without the fears of being "outed." Beyond clinical treatment, you will find that some 12-Step organizations also practice the same rule.
Your group therapy will likely involve setting goals for yourself. Some facilities may require their participants to outline concrete goals with deadlines. This means that you may have to form short and long-term goals and share them with other group members. This is an effective way to ensure that you strive to meet your goals. Other members of the group and your counselor will be able to hold you accountable. Accountability may also keep you off of the wayward path of relapse due to not wanting to disappoint yourself or others.
You are the only one who can label yourself as an addict, and you may still think of yourself as merely a substance abuser. Group therapy participation will allow you to engage with others who may have decided that they have an addiction. You may be able to see similarities in their lives that convince you that you are an addict, or you may identify with them enough to realize that if you do not make the decision to abstain from substances, you may become an addict.
If you decide to call yourself an addict in a room full of people who are already in recovery, you will likely find that you are welcomed rather than shunned. This is because they can identify with you and want to help you. That kind of understanding might be hard for friends or family to understand or accept until you have established significant sober time. As you can see, group therapy is not scary, it is often a necessary step in recovery and relapse prevention.
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