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Addiction recovery comes with a lot of moving parts. Staying sober requires a consistent routine, a relapse prevention plan, and adhering to matriculated continued treatment. Another critical component to a successful recovery is peer support groups. Individuals can also benefit from the support of friends and family. However, peer support groups provide a safe, nonjudgmental space where people can share their thoughts, concerns, and successes. Attending support groups during continuing care has many benefits and can help manage long-term recovery. 

Treatment is only the first step in a much longer journey. Peer support groups can help you along that journey. Recovery takes a village, and who better to fill that village with other than people who understand what you are going through? West Coast Recovery Centers utilizes group therapy to give and receive feedback while learning to communicate thoughts and feelings effectively. These methods can glimpse the benefits of working and sharing with peers. Contact West Coast Recovery to learn and begin your recovery journey today. 

What to Expect From Peer Support Groups?

The journal Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation defines peer support as “the process of giving and receiving nonprofessional, nonclinical assistance from individuals with similar conditions or circumstances.” The goal of this process is to “achieve long-term recovery from psychiatric, alcohol, and/or other drug-related problems.” According to this research, there has been an increase in alternative peer support services as a means to assist in the recovery of individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). 

Though some are skeptical of the benefits of support groups, others describe them as integral to their recovery regimen. Before discussing some of these benefits, it may help to look at what to expect from a support group. 

Support groups may vary depending on many factors. Some people choose to attend a more traditional Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) support group. Others connect with peers in recovery and plan activities together. That may include weekly dinners, movie nights, hiking, taking fitness classes, or going on vacations together. 

The goals of these groups are to: 

  • Build interpersonal relationships and offer role models 
  • Reduce feelings of isolation and increase social connectedness
  • Learn new coping skills and learn from peer experiences
  • Provide safe spaces to talk about your recovery
  • Encourage people to maintain recovery 

How to Connect With Individuals in Your Peer Support Group?

Despite the benefits of support groups, which we will discuss soon, it can be difficult for people to connect with others in their groups. It can be difficult for people who are more introverted or struggle with connecting to others. However, you can connect with members of your support group by finding similar interests or mutual experiences. This includes bonding about your recovery journeys and also finding other mutual interests. For example, you may meet another single parent in your group, someone who attends the same school, or someone who works in a similar industry. 

You can also connect with others by listening first. People sometimes feel obligated to speak in meetings, but taking a step back to listen is okay, too. In listening to the stories of others, you will learn from them and become more comfortable. Over time, you will become more comfortable with this group of individuals and start opening up and sharing your own experiences. 

What Are the Benefits of Peer Support Groups?

Working with a peer support group can make all the difference in your recovery journey. As mentioned, peer support groups can provide you with a safe space to discuss everything about your recovery, including goals, accomplishments, and even setbacks. You will experience a number of challenges post-treatment. An excellent way to manage those challenges is to practice vulnerability by discussing them openly with people who may understand them. 

Another benefit of peer support groups is that it strengthens your support system. Family connections, sober friends, and seeing a therapist are invaluable tools for sobriety. However, having your support network in your corner offers more strength and hope. It allows you to discuss things your friends and family may otherwise not understand. You can also gain valuable insight from the experiences of others.

Peer support groups also help with continuing care. For starters, attending regular support group meetings provides a routine and structure. These are critical for people in recovery, especially individuals new to recovery. Along with therapy and other sober activities, these can help reduce the risks of isolation and loneliness.

Furthermore, peer support groups benefit both people in treatment and those who require continuing care. Individuals can experience many other benefits from utilizing these groups and aftercare services, helping them maintain long-term recovery. Call West Coast Recovery Centers to learn more about these benefits or our continuing care services today. 

Life post-treatment comes with my challenges; challenges that can make staying sober difficult. There are many ways to manage these challenges. This can include seeing a therapist regularly, talking to friends and family, or participating in sober activities. However, another critical way to manage post-treatment challenges is to attend support group meetings. Whether you enroll in a facility continuing care program or attend a standard support meeting like AA or NA, discussing your troubles with individuals in peer support groups who understand what you are going through is critical. You can start benefiting from a peer support group by contacting West Coast Recovery Centers at (760) 492-6509 and learning more about our continuing care services today.