Addiction can be a lonely experience. No matter how many friends you have and no matter how many people are “there for you,” addiction is ultimately between you and the thing you’re addicted to. Even if your family and friends have vowed to stand by you while you face your addiction, unless they’ve been through it themselves, they will never truly understand what you’re facing. They’ll never truly understand the fear. They can help you with the pain, but they can’t feel it with you. This is precisely why addiction group therapy is the best option for many recovering addicts.
Having the support of family and friends is important. Most experts agree it’s a vital part of the recovery process. Sympathy is important, but sometimes empathy can mean the difference between success and failure… and empathy is exactly what comes from group therapy.
While there are dozens of potential benefits to group therapy, three often stand above the rest.
The first benefit is that group therapy shows you – in no uncertain terms – one simple yet powerful truth: You are not alone. When you meet other addicts that have suffered as you have, you can find strength in that sharing. Group therapy can remove one of the most powerful barriers to recovery. It can remove loneliness.
The second benefit is that group therapy can show you that there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel. Often, addiction feels hopeless. Group therapy brings hope back to your life. When you share your experiences with a group, you will inevitably see success. You will meet people that have overcome the very obstacles you face. You’ll see what success looks like. You’ll get a glimpse of a future you can look forward to. Simply put, you’ll see that it can be done.
The third benefit is a little less obvious, but every bit as powerful as the first two. With group therapy, you’ll get the opportunity to help others. Study after study has shown that helping others is one of the most therapeutic activities there is. It gives meaning to your struggle. It allows you to pull something good from something bad. By helping another person, you find motivation to stay clean. Suddenly, you are the light at the end of someone else’s tunnel and that feeling is profound. It’s truly a healing experience.
As stated earlier, there are dozens of other benefits. The simple act of sharing has been shown to help addicts take great steps to recovery. Addiction group therapy is – without question – the most effective way to share your experiences with people that genuinely understand. Confessing your pain to someone who has never experienced that pain can be lonely and even humiliating. However, confessing that pain to someone who has felt it too can be absolutely liberating to an addict. On the most fundamental level, human beings are social. Group therapy is the ultimate expression of a very simple idea: when the hard times come, sometimes we have to lean on each other to get through it.