Addiction is a disorder that leaves millions of people in the United States feeling isolated and alone. This is why we know that getting yourself checked into treatment takes an admirable amount of courage and strength to do. When you’re in the throes of addiction and are torn between what you’re compelled to do and what you know is right, it can be easy to forget that there are other people out there struggling as you are. This is why regardless of whether you choose our Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, or our more casual Outpatient Program, group therapy is one of the critical components of those programs.
Group Therapy is Powerful at Treating Addiction
Group therapy has been proven anecdotally and scientifically to be a tremendously helpful tool for those seeking to treat their addictions or stay in recovery. Why is this? What is it about bringing in a group of strangers (at first) together to discuss their addiction or share experiences about recovery that is so powerful at keeping people on track?
Breaking the Ice in Group Therapy
Icebreakers are common in most group activities even outside of recovery. They help people who are otherwise strangers get to know more about each other and feel more companionship over time. In the case of substance use recovery, many people who are in a program are carrying around their burdens day-to-day and this can be incredibly stressful without us ever realizing it. We grow accustomed to carrying our experiences around with us, our problems and concerns. When you hold a group therapy session, you’re allowing people to share their stories and their concerns they feel are uniquely theirs.
This has a powerful ability to melt down barriers and remedy loneliness. When people come to discuss how their addictions formed, how it has impacted their lives, and what they struggle with in their day-to-day, those who are listening can’t help but connect the dots and see just how much more in common we all have with one another than we have differences.
Group Therapy Helps You Identify Common Triggers
Questions like these can be very helpful in fostering discussion and strengthening a sense of solidarity:
- When do you feel most tempted to use?
- What was your high point this week, what was your low point this week?
Triggers are an important concept in addiction treatment. Triggers can be simple or they can be complex. Substance use disorders are a highly personal and complex thing in and of themselves. What causes one person to face addiction is not always the same as another. One person may have a strong physiological addiction to substances whereas another person may be entirely dependent on substances due to emotional trauma they faced in the past.
Many addicts are not entirely aware of what causes them to use. Addiction can leave a person feeling disoriented and confused at their own behaviors. They aren’t sure what drives them anymore and where addiction begins and ends. This is more than understandable as substance use causes great disturbances in the body and creates health issues that interfere with clarity of mind.
This is why group therapy is so invaluable as a treatment tool. When you hear others share their stories it helps you identify your own triggers. Hearing everyone discuss their addictions so openly and without judgment in a compassionate environment can do so much to melt away self-blame and feelings of shame. It removes so much of that internal stress that causes many people to continue using in the first place.
Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
At Southeast Addiction, we have the utmost faith in our program and our staff that we can guide you or a loved one towards a healthier lifestyle. We know firsthand how addiction affects not only the addict but their family and friends as well. That’s why we place so much emphasis on creating an accepting and compassionate community that will provide the support system you need to succeed and stay sober.