It Takes a Village: 5 Reasons To Join a Support Group After Inpatient Care
May 15, 2017
When you decide to seek professional help for a drug or alcohol addiction, inpatient care is the critical first step toward long-term healing. After that, you might transition to a partial hospitalization or outpatient program, but no matter the treatment, the road to recovery is anything but easy — and far from short. So, how do you stay on the path to lasting sobriety after inpatient ends and everyday living begins? That’s where support groups come in. Whether you choose renowned 12-step programs like AA or NA or go with something like SMART Recovery or LifeRing Secular Recovery, the benefits of peer support remain the same. And while support groups are endlessly enriching, here are the top five reasons why they’re key after residential treatment:
Human connection helps you heal. When you’re struggling to overcome addictive behaviors and all the overwhelming thoughts and feelings that accompany them, being around other people can be incredibly healing. Support groups bring together people from all walks of life who share the same struggles. You’ll connect with people who will look you in the eye without judgement, listen to your every story attentively and welcome you into their lives with open arms. As author David Augsberger put it, “Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference.”
People will inspire you to pursue your purpose. To continue healing, you need a rock-solid reason to get — and stay — sober: Family. Friends. A career. Your dog who has missed you since you’ve been in inpatient care. But no matter your reason, you’ll find true recovery when you choose to do it for you. In a support group, you’ll be encouraged to find your reason for being, and pursue your purpose. This reason doesn’t have to be your passion. It may be as simple as doing basic, meaningful activities each day that you can be proud of, like caring for a family member, volunteering or taking up a class. Whatever your passion or purpose, support groups will inspire you to fill your days with experiences you enjoy.
Experience support that transcends treatment. Inpatient care is intensely helpful. But it doesn’t last forever. Post-treatment, you can choose to continue with programs that afford you more independence, or you can stop treatment altogether. But merely checking out of residential care doesn’t mean you’re physically, mentally or emotionally ready to go back to your everyday life. Staying in treatment will benefit you physically, and joining a peer support group will help you heal from the unseen scars of addiction. If you’re struggling with a co-occurring disorder such as depression or anxiety, talking through your problems and hearing from others who have been in your shoes will heal what medical treatment cannot.
You’ll stay sober longer. After treatment, your chances of relapse range from an intimidating 50 to 90 percent. Want to slash those numbers significantly? Join a peer support group. Being around people who will inspire and encourage you isn’t just good for your health, it’s one of the most effective ways you can fight relapse. A study on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) showed that 67 percent of people who attended at least 27 meetings in their first year out of treatment stayed clean and sober, compared to 34 percent who never went at all. The support of your peers is one of your most powerful assets in recovery. Use it!
You’ll rediscover hope. Besides similar stories, every person in your support group shares one very powerful thing: hope for the future. It requires accepting your situation, developing an actionable plan to reach your goals, and more often than not, listening to others who have succeeded in doing just that. Simply choosing to attend a support group is a step in the right direction. Once you get there, you’ll be surrounded by those who are still battling their inner demons, those fighting relapse every day and those who have overcome addiction — all stories that will give you hope for your own future. With hope, people progress in recovery. You can, too.
At The Recovery Village, peer support is the backbone of recovery. That’s why it’s an essential element of each type of treatment we offer, from inpatient to aftercare. Want to learn more? Contact us today.