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5 Reasons Recovery Is Best Done with a Group

Duke City Recovery Toolbox offers a wide range of services to help our participants successfully start and continue their recovery journeys. While we do offer individual counseling, we encourage our participants to join in the many group opportunities we provide because a group approach to addiction recovery affords some benefits you just don’t get when trying to go at it alone.

#1: Support

There are biophysical and social aspects of substance abuse and addiction. Addressing these takes courage and perseverance, and those qualities are hard to maintain without a cheering section. Group recovery strategies place you in a team where at once you both have a support network and are part of others’ support networks.

What makes the support of groups forged from recovery efforts different, perhaps more meaningful and/or effective, is that the support from your cohorts arises from empathy. People who understand firsthand the challenges you face are the ones listening and encouraging. There are no empty that must be tough’s or you can do it’s; your fellow participants really get your pain, your frustrations and your challenges. And because they do, you can take heart when they tell you, “You are stronger than this’”

#2: Shared Strategies

No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “learn from your mistakes.” It’s valuable advice but learning only from your mistakes—or even from only your successes—is limiting. In a group, you can benefit from the shared experiences of others—their missteps and successful strategies. You get ideas that real people have tried to see if it can work for you, how you may modify it to better work in your situation or what to avoid altogether. Think of how much time and heartache you may spare yourself when you have a head start provided by people walking a similar path as you!

#3: Social Outlet

One of the hardest realities of addiction recovery is that many of the people you called “friends” are no longer friends. When you no longer have addiction in common, you may find that there is nothing else on which to base a meaningful friendship. And that can leave you lonely and/or bored a lot of the time, and loneliness and boredom can easily lead you to relapse.

When you’re part of an addiction recovery group, you have a social outlet. We do not mean to suggest that you will be fast friends with everyone in your group(s). However, groups do give you a pool of acquaintances to explore social scenes and activities with to pass the time and stave off loneliness and boredom. These casual acquaintances may develop into deep and meaningful friendships. And healthy friendships by nature expand your social circle as you are introduced to friends of friends, giving you even more opportunities to meet people who enrich your life and vice versa.

#4: Realistic

At Duke City Recovery Toolbox, we understand that just because participants may be in individual and group therapies to achieve the same goal does not mean that everyone is going to like each other. In fact, there may be people in your group who really get under your skin. That’s actually a good thing because it gives you the opportunity to practice new coping strategies.

Part of what makes addiction recovery so challenging is the fact that “real life” doesn’t stop to let you just deal with the bio-psycho-social aspects of addiction. There are always going to be difficult people in your world. It’s best to learn to handle your emotional responses to them in an environment that promotes the use of new (substance-free) tools and strategies.

#5: Accountability

To be effective, addiction recovery requires that you be honest with yourself. So, let’s be honest: left on our own, we often go easy on ourselves. And that’s a slippery slope. One “gimme” leads to another…and another…and another, and soon, you may find that you are right back at the start of your recovery journey—admitting you have a problem. Groups can help prevent that backward progress by keeping you accountable. When you know someone is expecting you to be at some place at some time and to have conducted yourself in a certain way between meetings—that may be the positive peer pressure you need to start creating and sticking to new, healthy habits.

Duke City Recovery Toolbox offers a number of group therapy options. If you have not yet explored a group-approach to recovery or the current group you are in is not meeting your needs, please talk to a member of our clinical team to help you find the best fit.