Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction
As humans, we always tend to seek support from people close to us for various matters. However, battling addiction does the opposite by making you feel lonely, as if you’re up against the whole world. And when you get no help, you further sink into your vulnerability. It can become so drastic that you may pull away from people and do something dangerous. Such as becoming violent, start self-harming, or become suicidal.
So, what should you do and why? Start by joining a peer network as guiding hands, so as they gently take your hand in theirs, and when you stumble, they’ll catch you. So, if you’re in treatment for addiction, here are some benefits of opting for peer support:
1. It’s A Safe Space
Everyone present at the peer support groups isn’t there to judge you. They’re not there to look down on you. Instead, you get the time and space to say what you need to say, especially if you feel ashamed. The group will also not interrupt you or interrogate you.
When a facility takes care of you and provides you a safe space, you know you’re in good hands. You get a chance to share your story unfiltered and raw. There are many great examples of peer support groups. A leading example is the Delphi Behavioral Health Group which accommodates you according to your needs.
2. You Learn Perspectives
When you deal with problems on your own, you get limited by your perception. However, sitting and allowing other people to share experiences similar to yours helps you learn. When you’re in the process of battling your addictions, you may not be gentle with yourself. Different perspectives help you look at your addiction in another light. You may also not see it in a stereotypical light. You also don’t associate it with being a failure and work on yourself.
3. You Learn Different Coping Mechanisms
Coping mechanisms keep you from immersing yourself in your problems. These help you deal with any negative emotion you may feel, including dealing with urges. If you wish to find your coping mechanism, allow your peers to guide you. Listen to what methods they tried and worked for them. When you have a list of mechanisms, you can find what works and keeps you centered. For example, you learn new meditation techniques and how to cope with depression and get rid of anxiety.
4. You Don’t Feel Alone
You may feel like you’re the only one struggling. Sitting among your peers helps you understand that there are more people in a situation similar to yours. Acceptance is pivotal for recovery. When you have a feeling of belonging, you feel motivated to try. Those who have no acceptance struggle to find help. They feel judged, shunned, and guilt for getting addicted. Isolation can get lethal, and you may start hating yourself and push yourself into doing something drastic. Isolation also makes you withdraw from people till it gets harder to cope.
5. There Is Endless Support
Battling addiction is not a linear process. When you’re part of a support group, no matter how small you think you made progress, it counts. Your peers will keep you on track and help you see that you’re making a difference in your life. You may have some bad days, but these support groups are your pillar of strength during those days. They may remind you how far you’ve come and how far you need to go.
6. You Learn About Mental Health
In a peer support group, a counselor is essential for mediating the session. While they listen to you and give you advice, they also provide practical knowledge. A counselor may dive into what mental health is and how your addiction gets intertwined with it. Learning about mental health may encourage your fellow peers to talk about their problems. You may know more about mental health and even seek out active counseling.
7. You Get More Resources
You never know who may be the researcher of the group. While you sit and discuss addiction, there are always peers who research more on addiction. They may bring it up during sessions and even bring books with them. The resources may help you learn more about yourself and your addiction. You may even know why addiction happens in the first place. Knowledge is power. The more you’re informed about problems associated with addiction, the more you can help yourself.
8. You May Find A Friend
Don’t think that you’re going to a session to get treated. You may even find friends in the group you attend. So when you leave your support group, you can still enjoy their company. Friends from a support group can also help you monitor your food and drink. You can ask them to go with you to events where they serve alcohol, so you don’t drink. You get a chance to make new memories and replace your horrible addiction ones.
What Are The Different Types Of Support Groups?
There isn’t one type of support group, and not everyone is comfortable speaking to a large group. At the same time, there are multiple versions of support groups. So when you check into a support group, you can find what you’re looking for right away. Here are some of the support groups you should look into:
- Self-Help Groups. Trained peers run these groups to focus on bonding with people. You get a chance to share your experiences with other people. You even tap into the emotional and educational aspects of your problems. There is no limit to how big a group is.
- One-on-One Support. If you aren’t comfortable with a large group setting, a one-on-one session may help you see beyond your perspective. You can set goals for yourself and discuss with your friend how you can achieve them.
- Online Forums. You don’t need to limit yourself to a physical group. There are groups online that can work just as well. You can find a server that connects you with other people. Online forums can function as online chats, video chatting, and even a question and answer session. You can start a group thread and invite people to leave comments. If you feel like talking, there are video chats available for you.
Addiction is not easy to carry on in the long run as you may struggle to give up old habits. One way to battle addiction is to join a peer support group. You learn more about addiction, mental health, and even coping mechanisms. At the same time, you find support, shared experiences, and a friend as you work on recovering. In the long run, having help pays off. As a result, you may find the help you need to recover. So if you’re struggling with addiction, you may need to look into peer support.