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3 Reasons to Go to Meetings and Support Groups as a Recovering Addict
The struggles of addiction do not go away when you leave a treatment center. In fact, they become even harder to manage.
When you are in rehab you are surrounded by like-minded individuals coping with the same reality, and you don’t have to worry about the temptations and triggers of everyday life. But returning to the “real world” after treatment is like being on a new planet. Top it off with the rawness, vulnerability and uncertainty you feel can be enough to send you right back into the lifestyle you worked so hard to leave behind.
This is why it’s paramount that you continue to attend sobriety meetings — as many as you can and as often as you need them.
Recently I had the privilege of speaking with several graduates of addiction treatment. Here are some of their thoughts on why to seek out support groups as part of your ongoing recovery.
A New Reality
The harsh reality of life after rehab is scary. So finding support groups and meetings can help you to maintain some of that buoyancy you felt in treatment. It will be new people, but they are still going through the same thing you are in the outside world, and you will need all the support you can find.
Ryan felt it after he finished his treatment program. “Graduating from A Forever Recovery was bittersweet. When you're in here, you're kind of in a bubble getting to learn the tools you need to address your life.”
And Tracy underscored the importance of continuing to do the work you need as part of your recovery. “You just have to realize, as much work you put into things [in treatment] and as much as you do [in treatment], as many tools as you gain, it’s not over when you walk out that front door. It’s a lifetime commitment,” she said.
Strength in Numbers
After leaving rehab, it’s more than likely you will be armed with plenty of contact information for local groups and meetings. It won’t be hard to find these people, and I guarantee you they will welcome you with open arms.
John, a proud addiction treatment graduate, knows what resources are available to him, and he plans to rely on them as much as possible.
“As far as the sober community out there, there are people relying on [each other] and being able to lean on each other for help when they’re weak. And I’m definitely trying to [strengthen that team] every day to help build a sober team, so that not only I can stay sober, but hopefully my sobriety will help other people stay sober,” he said.
And Scott is prepared for his loved ones to keep him on point. He said, “I definitely have a group of friends there that can hold me accountable and definitely won’t lead me down the wrong path.”
And while many friends from your former lifestyle won’t be part of your new choices, you can still lead by example. This in turn can give you an extra boost, knowing you are strong enough to maintain your sobriety and that you can show others it really can be done.
Kevin is looking forward to sharing his new way of life.
“Whenever I go back home, I really want to show to everybody else that I have changed and I want all my friends to walk my walk instead of them out there just doing their thing, doing their drugs or whatever they’re doing.”
And being a part of your loved ones’ lives will be another reward and a boost.
Caitlin was so grateful to have her parents back. She was despondent about being cut off from her family, but now they have made progress in repairing their relationships.
“For me to be left out of all of that, and now I can be part of it again, it feels so good. That’s all I ever wanted back.”