Strengths of Group Therapy
Group therapy has long been known as one of the most effective tools for the recovering addict. There are a lot of things that make group therapy successful. It’s an amazing thing about humans, we recognize that no matter how difficult a situation may seem, nothing is insurmountable with the right support network. Group therapy provides the framework and reference so that addicts can learn to rely on a support network for treatment and recovery.
Probably the biggest benefit that a group therapy setting affords is a substantial decrease in the feelings of vulnerability. Alone we are vulnerable. As a group we are strong. The idea that there is strength in numbers is not new. Entire civilizations grew up on the premise that people are strong where a person is not. With group therapy, strength is not needed for admission- drawing on the strengths of the group is not only permitted, it’s encouraged.
The reason that group therapy works so well in treatment centers is because each and every member of the group understands what it is to be an addict. If you don’t feel like anyone in the world could understand the elation you experienced when you first used or the hopelessness you feel when faced with a life without it, well, you’ll find just that kind of understanding in group therapy.
Along with understanding, you can count of finding allies in group therapy. Everyone in the group is battling the same demons. It only makes sense to ally yourself with someone or several someone’s from your group. Allies are the ones who hold your hand when you are scared, let you talk when you are confused and who hold you accountable when you screw up.
There is a side effect to having a group who understands you and that is filled with your allies. They hold you accountable for your actions. They know the struggles you face and the difficulty of the decisions you make. They know and they will help and when you fall, they expect you to be accountable for your actions. This is different from the blame and anger of “The World” because like I said earlier, everyone in group therapy, is an addict. Everyone is, was or will be on the same steps to recovery that you find yourself. You will be held accountable by those who came before you for the sake of those who travel after you.
Yes, group therapy gives you the support of addicts just like you. It also gives you a unique opportunity to see the world in general and your situation in specific through the lens of someone from another cultural group than you. Group therapies often include people of different sex, orientation, race, financial standing and religious beliefs. These differences make the best strengths when it comes to understanding ourselves and our own struggles.
What makes these differences so powerful is that all of these different people, these other addicts- have the same goals in life as you. They all want to manage their cravings, make amends for the mistakes they have made and to find a way to live in sobriety.