While going to a group might seem uncomfortable, unnecessary, or something for “those people”, have you been to a group? Not all groups are alike, facilitated by the same people, 12-step, nor require participation from persons in the group. It can take going to a group more than once or even to more than one group to feel comfortable. Finding the right one is paramount. Most are anonymous and confidentiality is key. Participants are not going to try to fix you. They might offer insight on how you can help yourself get on the right path for you. You have to put in the work for your own outcome.
Before embarking on groups, please consider the following:
- Groups are not to replace professional treatment. They are to provide support.
- Groups should hold you accountable for your actions, but not punish you for them.
- It does take time to find the right group that best suits you.
- Groups are not an overnight fix or solution.
- A safe place for you to work on what you need to.
Below you will find six reasons to attend a support group.
- Knowledge is power. You can learn about what is going on in your life and how to develop your own strategies to manage what you need. Having knowledge empowers you to make informed choices while taking positive actions. Learn skill-sets needed to navigate through various systems, locate various community resources, and knowledge about potential roadblocks you may encounter on your path.
- Being around people of similar experiences. Let’s face it, it sucks being alone. However, often that is what we do, we isolate. Being around a group people with similar experiences solidifies that we’re not alone. This can decrease fear and instill hope, that one can have a better quality of life. You can learn from others experiences, find people who understand what you are going through, and be around those who will listen. You can build strong friendships of like-minded people.
- Finding help. Groups have knowledge of community resources that can help you. Need a person to talk to in the evening, why not try a group? Maybe the facilitator or participant could speak with you after the group, if you prefer that, until you get comfortable sharing? Groups provide tools and resources, along with support and encouragement.
- Developing a plan. Having a plan is crucial for staying on course. Each person is different, as each situation is different. Do you have a plan to know what to do if in crisis? Do others close to you know what to do if you are in crisis? One big factor when developing a plan with the group is, having insight into things you might have otherwise overlooked, or didn’t think about. Another cool piece, the ability to have people not judge you when you fall off course and allow you to get back on track, while receiving support needed to try again.
- Creating goals. Creating goals helps you stay on track and gives a feeling of accomplishment. Working through goals with a group is powerful as you can achieve them with lasting results. One can continually add more goals to build on their success, while having a group support them.
- Groups can be fun. It is not always work or serious all the time. Groups like to experience the good things in life too. Often times, there are; snacks, cookouts, movies, outings, and more to make things fun.