Life’s been hectic and uncertain this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No doubt everyone has felt some higher levels of anxiety or stress. Of course, for those dealing with addiction struggles, that added stress can seem monstrous.
Maybe you’ve been struggling in recovery and wanting to drink or drug. You don’t want to relapse, but sometimes the thoughts come flooding in. It can be helpful to remind yourself why you got into recovery in the first place. It seems that the brain forgets the misery that you once lived in when you were in bondage to addiction.
The many times that you vowed to give up drinking but couldn’t or wouldn’t. The people that you hurt. The damage that you did to your body. The laws that you broke, the time you did in jail, the fines that you paid. The disgust you had with yourself when you went on a bender or said or did something that hurt another person. The self-loathing that you felt.
The brain will try to get you at times to think that all your time spent in addiction hell was happy. That it was good times all the way around, but the reality is that it wasn’t. Maybe that first buzz or that first initial High felt great, but what about after? What about how the addiction zapped your money and dried up the life within you? What about the things that it stole from you? Is your brain reminding you of those things?
You might have to remind yourself. You might have to make a list and keep that list with you at all times so that when the cravings come, you can get that list out and remind yourself why you’re in recovery. Why you refuse to take even one sip or take one drag or even entertain the thought of ever using again.
The sobriety path is paved with various modes of recovery. One module that gets overlooked is therapy while sitting among others in similar situations and struggles.
Group therapy is an additional tool for those in any recovery program. Therapy groups are directed by qualified recovery advocates and help guide those in the group through the recovery process.
Group meetings can be intimidating for some people, especially for those that consider themselves introverts. Admitting one is in recovery can be embarrassing and uncomfortable and can add stress to an already stressful situation. However, the group dynamics can ultimately help you learn a lot about addiction, recovery, the supportive aspect of recovery, and sobriety.
Sessions may address many issues. Clients exchange stories, offer advice, and support one another. The facilitator will keep the group on track, encouraging members to be real, vulnerable, and honest. No one is forced to share but is highly encouraged.
Individuals share their triggers with the group, such as high stress, toxic relationships, lack of money/job, anger, guilt, etc. Others may share how they recognize and tackle the triggers. Others may ask the group for advice on how to handle triggers when they occur. Hearing how others handle stress and anger is often discussed, as well as what coping mechanisms work.
Role-play may be used in group settings. This offers the opportunity for everyone to get involved. The group can act out situations –from how to react to peer pressure to avoiding situations that may lead to a relapse. With the interaction of those involved, role-playing is one way to have individuals see different sides from the perspective of family, friends, etc.
Other topics in group therapy can include the importance of developing healthy eating habits, starting and staying with an exercise program, practising positive thinking and stress relief exercises. Sessions may centre around one topic for the meeting; other sessions may cover several topics.
It’s important in the therapy/recovery process that the group is open to discussing various aspects of addiction and recovery.
It helps when members share their frustrations, fears, as well as their success stories. A group that feels connected and on the same path toward a better life can be a source of great healing for every member. Friendships can develop and maybe even flourish, outside therapy, thus offering another support avenue.
You may be struggling with sobriety, feeling stuck in active addiction cycles. Or, you may be walking the recovery path, but struggling with intense cravings. You fear a relapse down the road.
Know that you’re not alone and help is available. Addiction recovery treatment is available in various forms and routes. From residential rehabs to outpatient settings to various support groups, there are recovery modalities to choose from.
The key is to navigate your path to recovery, taking that first step to reach out for help.
If you are interested in attending group therapy, search for groups in your area. Many inpatient and outpatient rehabs offer group therapy settings. If you are attending a 12-step program, ask those in attendance if they are aware of any. For those already seeing a therapist one on one, ask your therapist for recommendations. Group therapy can offer many benefits to gain for those in a recovery program.
Life is far better on the other side of addiction. Don’t let any lies deter you from seeking help and believing that you can get your life back. If you’re already in recovery and fear a relapse, trust that there are helpful tips, techniques, and supportive measures you can use to stay on the road of recovery.
Don’t let bad moods and bad days get you thinking that your ticket to happiness is through a substance, because it most assuredly isn’t. Stick with your commitment to living a life free from the bondage and misery of addiction.
And if you need help, simply reach out. You’re not alone and people really do care.