Once you complete a rehabilitation program for a substance use disorder (SUD), you will need to find resources for your continuing recovery. Support groups are an essential tool for long-term sobriety. You can learn valuable information from other members and learn skills to help you continue to navigate everyday sober living.
While 12-Step meetings are among the most commonly known types of support groups, they are far from the only ones available. You can find a meeting to fit any need and lifestyle. Modern groups take advantage of the convenience provided by online meeting options like chat rooms and video conferencing. Thousands of local, national, and international support groups exist at your fingertips, and we will help you narrow down how to find the right one for you.
Support Groups Help You Stay on Track
When you return home after private inpatient care or complete an intensive outpatient program (IOP), the transition can be challenging. You are returning to the environment where you lived while abusing substances, and that alone is enough to trigger cravings and intrusive thoughts.
Support groups are one tool for staying on track with your recovery because they offer accountability and encouragement. Self-care is essential, and attending support groups where you can gain confidence and feel heard is one way to practice putting yourself and your well-being first. In addition, most self-help groups have multiple members at different stages in their recovery, so you can gain insight while being a role model for others.
Common Types of Support Groups
During continuing care, you may find yourself facing multiple life-changing events. Getting support from others who understand what you are going through can make it easier to avoid overwhelming stress and relapse. A few common types of support groups include ones that assist with:
- Living a sober life
- Addressing commonly co-occurring mental health disorders and their symptoms
- Coping with physical conditions like chronic pain in healthier ways
- Overcoming challenges related to family dysfunction
- Accepting and dealing with significant life changes like the unexpected death of a loved one
You can find support groups through local advocacy groups, hospitals, community centers, private organizations, and other sources. Search for groups that cover specific topics like dual diagnosis and alcohol use disorder (AUD), or you look by region if you need to find something close to where you live. Support groups take a variety of formats, including:
- Online chat or video conferencing
- In-person meetings
Choosing the Right Group
You do not have to limit yourself to attending a single group if you have co-occurring conditions or if you feel like you need to meet on a more regular basis. The good news is that most medium and large cities have many different support groups.
A great way to narrow them down is to create a list of goals you want to achieve and limitations you might have, including transportation issues or scheduling conflicts. Then, compare your requirements to the available list of groups. You can reach out to group leaders to request further information about the group, their members, and any guidelines you should be aware of before attending.
Using Technology to Connect With a Supportive Community
Technology makes accessing resources quick and easy for anyone. Support groups exist on every social media site, and private chat and video conference programs and apps allow you to connect with people in your community without leaving your home. A few benefits of choosing online support groups are:
- No need for transportation
- You can connect from anywhere, including at work during your break, if you have odd work hours
- Anyone with WiFi or another form of internet access can attend
- You do not have to physically interact with others which is helpful for some people with severe agoraphobia or anxiety disorders
- You can remain entirely anonymous
If you want to learn more about online support groups, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a page featuring virtual recovery resources.
What to Expect During a Meeting
Support groups come in all types and sizes. The content and flow can vary dramatically from group to group. Some are strictly organized, while others are less formal and have a loose structure. While most groups are created and led by peers, others have mental health professionals managing each meeting.
Despite the wide variety of support groups, there are a few things most have in common, including:
- Some form of member guidelines or rules
- Periods where members can share their thoughts, feelings, concerns, and experiences
- Skills and education provided by more experienced members, educational literature, or professional guest speakers like doctors and therapists
- An expectation of privacy
Learn more about what you might expect during meetings by visiting our Group Therapy page. Most state health department websites also list support groups associated with local organizations along with brief descriptions.
During your treatment at White House Recovery and Detox, we offer group therapy to help you connect with others and build social bonds that can aid in recovery. When you return home, the need for that community support will be more critical than ever. Your case manager can help you locate and connect with local resources like therapy offices, community organizations, and support groups. The experience you gain in our program will help you transition to support groups near your home where you can benefit from the experience of other group members. Peer support is one way to achieve a happy and healthy sober life. White House Recovery and Detox encourages you to use all available resources to stay strong in recovery. Enjoy the fellowship that comes with joining a support group designed to address SUD and any other life issues you may be facing. Find out more by calling us today at (800) 510-5393.