How To Reach Your Addiction Recovery Goals In 2022

The new year offers a fresh start to everyone, including recovering addicts. This is an excellent opportunity to outline your recovery goals for 2022 and find ways to achieve them.

Why Do You Need Recovery Goals?

Recovery goals serve as guidelines for patients who are in recovery. Having goals and pursuing them keeps a person in check so that they won’t fall back to old patterns. Goals serve as an accountability system that keeps a person in recovery on the right track. These goals may also be used as progress checks for the patient. For example, the mere fact that they are inching towards these goals is a good sign of being able to apply what they have learned in rehab and gaining more control over their urges. Overall, these are beneficial tools that you can use to your advantage to further your recovery.

Setting achievable goals

One important note is to set goals that are perfectly reasonable and achievable. Goals that are too unrealistic will only yield disappointment since you are setting yourself up for failure. Your recovery goals should consist of meaningful and actionable steps towards maintaining your sobriety. These goals should also focus on your physical and mental health since these are your first line of defense against relapse. Here are some examples:

·         Improve your diet by reducing sugar and increasing high-density and high-volume healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables

·         Reduce your caffeine intake to help you fall asleep faster at night

·         Go for short walks outside (one 15-minute walk in the morning and another short walk in the afternoon)

·         Practice mindfulness-based meditation every day

·         Try new and engrossing hobbies that will help you keep focused, make you feel productive, help with stress management, and generally take your mind off of your addiction

·         Learning new skills that will improve the quality of your life and improve your relationships with other people

·         Focus on career advancement

·         Improving your spirituality or establishing a connection to a higher being

·         Being financially literate so you can get better at managing your money

These are just a few examples of healthy habits that you can try to uphold for the rest of the year. You can add more things for as long as they are doable and will help improve your health. It is advisable to build small yet meaningful habits. These things do not have to take up a lot of time from each day, but in the long run, they will add up to become something impactful. Enforcing habits is also something sustainable for your recovery since you will have to do these every single day.

How To Set Smaller Goals

Recovery goals can come in two types: smaller goals that are achievable in a short period of time and bigger goals that may take months to attain. Here is a guideline on how to set smaller goals.

·         Make it specific. What are you trying to achieve? What are the steps needed to achieve these goals?

·         Make it measurable. Is there a way to quantify your progress? How will you measure your progress?

·         Make it achievable. Do you have the resources you need in order to achieve these goals? Are you someone who is perfectly capable and able of meeting these goals?

·         Make it relevant. Are these goals supportive of your primary goal of staying sober? How do these goals improve your chances of staying sober?

·         Set a timeframe. How long do you think it would take for you to achieve these goals? Make sure to establish a reasonable deadline for yourself so that you will have more of a driving force to accomplish it on time.

How To Hold Yourself Accountable

Now that you have outlined your addiction recovery goals, it is time to establish an accountability system. This ensures that you are staying on the right track and that you are working on achieving these goals every single day. The absence of an accountability system may make it challenging for you to garner progress. If left unattended, your goals will just be another list that you will eventually forget about, which then makes it easier for you to slip back to your old ways. Here is a guideline on how to hold yourself accountable.

·         Create a list

Write down your addiction recovery goals. The mere act of writing them down makes them more real and permanent in your life. It also helps to classify them as short-term or long-term goals so that you can plan for them accordingly. Keep the list somewhere you can easily see or access, such as your journal or even your phone.

·         Set deadlines

Once you have your list and have outlined timeframes for each, set the deadlines. Place these events in your phone calendar and sync them with the rest of your gadgets. Set reminders for the upcoming dates so that you will be reminded.

·         Find a support system

These goals will be easier to achieve if you have a friend to work with. Find someone with the same goals and keep each other accountable. This could be someone you met in rehab or in 12-step sessions. You may talk to each other about any hurdles and find ways to overcome these.

·         Tell your friends and family

Present your list of goals to your friends and family. This serves two purposes: firstly, they will be made aware so that they could support you better, and secondly, they may serve as an accountability system. They may nudge you if they feel like you are doing activities that will place you a few steps behind your goals. These people will serve as your support system and cheer you on so that you can achieve your addiction recovery goals for this year.

·         Be flexible

Some setbacks might be inevitable. Understand that healing isn’t always linear. There may be days when you’ll find it too hard to drag yourself out of bed and uphold the healthy habits you have set for yourself. When this happens, it is important to be flexible and remember that it is part of the process. Simply set the date a few days further so that you’ll get more time to achieve them. Try again and do not give up. When you are not flexible, you might be tempted to beat yourself up, which will make you feel like a failure, which then causes stress, amplify your negative emotions, and ultimately lead to a relapse.

We at R&R Recovery fully support your path towards sustainable recovery. Let us take this new year as an opportunity to start fresh. Contact us for assistance on outlining your addiction recovery goals for 2022 as well as crafting ways to reach them.

4 Important Pillars Of Life-Long Recovery From Addiction

Drug addiction treatment programs are effective and sustainable due to major tenets. These pillars may assure the patient that the program has their best interests at heart. These pillars also serve as guidelines for when the patient is released from rehab and rejoins society. They serve as constant reminders for the patient to live by these principles in order to achieve lifelong recovery.

The pillars are:

  • Long-term health
  • Stable home life
  • Purpose-driven life
  • Good relationships with people in the community

Pillars Of Long-Term Recovery

Long-Term Health

Ensuring your long-term health is the first line of defense against a relapse. A healthy mind and body guarantee that you will be in the best version of yourself. This allows you to abstain from alcohol or drugs.

You may start by living a healthy lifestyle and practicing healthy activities such as:

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Promote your sobriety by engaging in group therapy sessions, counseling, and other supplementary treatment plans. These sessions will also make the transition from inpatient rehab to normalcy easier on your mental and physical health.

Good diet. It is important to eat healthy and well-balanced meals so that your body will receive the nourishment it needs to stay strong and sober. A good diet will keep your body nourished and your hormones balanced. You will feel stronger, energized, and more stable. This also allows you to cope with the daily challenges in life.

Stay active. A good fitness regimen will benefit you in the long run. Make sure to live an active lifestyle wherein you find time to hit the gym. It is recommended to perform physical activities that bring you outdoors. Go on a hike with friends or swim in a gorgeous lake. These fun physical activities will also make your body stronger and your mood more stable.

Try yoga or meditation. These activities allow you to stay grounded so that you can kickstart the day with intention. Mindfulness practice also helps you stay calm at all costs so that you can manage your anger and other intense emotions better.

Stable Home Life

Stable home life is defined as a calm and peaceful living situation. The people residing in your home, yourself included, should reside in harmony. The house shouldn’t be a hub for people with addiction who will enable the patient. 

A stable home life is also something that the patient can afford so that they wouldn’t be so stressed about their finances all the time. Money is a common issue among recovering patients since their illness often costs them their job, pushing them to the brink of bankruptcy and debt. It helps to research affordable housing options or to stay at home among family. 

Purpose-Driven Life

A purpose-driven life is an excellent deterrent for relapses. This means that the patient has something to focus on so that they won’t become idle and experience cravings. Their purpose helps motivate them to get up each day and do something good that will make them feel good. Each person’s purpose varies and it should be something that they genuinely care about. It could be baking, being an educator, being an artist, or caring for the family.

We understand that finding one’s purpose in life is easier said than done which is why RnR Recovery offers counseling to help the patients uncover what they are truly passionate about. The patients can also be exposed to holistic treatments like art therapy or animal-assisted therapy to give them the space to explore and connect with what sparks joy within. 

We also understand that the struggle does not end at finding one’s purpose. Pursuing it and following through requires time, dedication, and consistency. There will also be hiccups along the way. For example, being passionate about volunteer work is fulfilling but exhausting. The patient must find ways to cope with these stressors without resorting to drugs or alcohol.

Good Relationships With People

A community is important for everyone, especially for recovering patients. These patients will be struggling with physical and mental issues and it helps to be surrounded by people who can care for them. These relationships must be fostered to maintain sobriety.

The patient should learn strategies to make friends while setting healthy boundaries. One good place to start is group therapy. These sessions connect them with a group of people who are going through recovery, with similar experiences and struggles. No one could understand recovering addicts better than recovering addicts. They may support each other through the process, find inspiration in each other’s stories, and foster a healthy support network that can last beyond these sessions. 

The patient should also have a friend or a confidant to whom they could talk about the things that are weighing on their chest. One-on-one connections are extremely helpful since it allows the patient to stay grounded and supported. They can talk whenever they need to and then they will receive emotional support.

Forging good relationships with the people in the community is a helpful tool for recovery, but the patient must be selective in terms of the people they connect with. They should avoid enablers and rather spend more time with sober and healthy people. Pets are also recommended since research suggests that pet adoption is beneficial for sobriety. Pets can provide unconditional love and company without expecting anything in return. This type of love will help a patient learn to be more open to fostering relationships that nurture them and make them feel good.

We at RnR Recovery are fully aware that recovery is a lifelong and active process. These pillars should help patients attain sobriety day by day. If you are ready to start your recovery process, contact us for more information. We can help you and your loved ones achieve a sober life.

How To Forgive An Addicted Loved One

The negative effects of addiction are not limited to your affected loved one. Addiction affects everyone else in the family. There will be feelings of anger, distrust, and betrayal as the entire family dynamics will undoubtedly change. This is one of the most difficult hurdles that the family has to overcome. No matter how hard it is, it is not impossible.

Part of addiction recovery is to apologize to the family. After that, it is also your obligation to find it in your heart to forgive. Forgiveness is necessary for everyone to move forward.

5 Steps To Forgive An Addicted Loved One

Acceptance Of The Disease

The best way to start your forgiveness journey is to accept that addiction is a disease. This does not mean that the addicted person automatically does not have any fault in the situation. It just means that they are helpless to some degree and they need professional assistance.

You may be tempted to hold grudges because your addicted loved one may have hurt you by lying or with bad behavior. However, these are all symptoms and side effects of addiction. Rather than zeroing in on those hurtful cases, it is better to take a look at the bigger picture and realize that their addiction made them act that way. Therefore, eliminating addiction will help them become better people.

Addiction is a disease that requires professional treatment. Recovering addicts are patients that need care, love, understanding, and compassion.

Do Not Take Things Personally

Another reason why you might be having a hard time forgiving a loved one is because of how seemingly personal their attacks were. However, you need to understand that they are not in their right minds or when they did those hurtful things. They were under the influence of addictive substances which caused them to abandon their principles and act in undesirable ways.

They might have done or said hurtful things. Those will undoubtedly leave emotional scars but you can heal from them if you do not take things personally. Recovering addicts will apologize once they realize how grave the consequences were, and holding their past misdemeanor over their heads will only stunt recovery. Remember that they are in a lot of pain, too – perhaps way worse than what you are dealing with.

It is better to give them credit for trying to heal. Their willingness to attend treatments or get checked into rehab should be acknowledged and applauded. Be more understanding so that you can provide them with the support they sorely need. Encourage their attendance in group therapy or AA meetings. They need your support, not your resentment.

Lower Your Expectations

Some families or partners expect things to go back to the way they were after their loved ones get back from rehab. Such a high expectation will only lead to disappointments since there is always the possibility of things permanently changing. However, this change is not necessarily bad. Recovering addicts will strive to become the best versions of themselves and that does not automatically equate to going back to their old selves.

Regaining some sense of normalcy will take some time. You need to give them time to find their footing and live an addiction-free life. It is important to extend patience and compassion since recovery isn’t always linear. They may relapse or fail. They may get frustrated with the process. The best you can do is to accompany them through it all and ensure that they are staying on the right path.

Additionally, holding expectations for your loved ones may result in resentment, especially if they fail to live up to their idealized version in your head. Find a way to take things in stride. Adapt to the new version of normal and keep an open heart.

Support Yourself

 Forgiving an addicted loved one shouldn’t mean abandoning your needs. You should also find ways to support yourself, physically and emotionally. Dealing with an addicted loved one is a draining process and it may be difficult to find a support system that understands exactly what you are going through.

We at R&R Recovery recommend attending family therapy since addiction is a family disease that affects everyone. You deserve to be heard and to listen to inspiring stories of other families who conquered this hurdle.

It is also a great outlet to eliminate negative pent-up emotions. Bottling up these negative feelings may cause you to implode at the worst possible time. You may find some relief through these support groups as well as wean some tips on how to proceed.

Practice Gratitude

Forgiveness may feel completely impossible at first. The wounds may feel too fresh and you might be tempted to just cut off ties. However, no one would benefit from that. The patient may be unable to fully recover without forgiveness. You may also feel burdened since you might hoard negative emotions that may remain unresolved. 

Forgiveness may be a long process, but it is worth it in the end. It paves the way for the patient’s healing as well as the rest of the family’s. It helps repair relationships and strengthen the support system that the patient needs for a successful recovery.

6 Signs Of A Successful Recovery From Addiction

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process. It is an arduous journey filled with ups and downs. However, the setbacks do not automatically mean a failed treatment plan. These should not discourage the patient from striving towards full independence from addictive substances.

When you are in the process of healing, you might be tempted to only look at your deficiencies. We all have natural tendencies to focus on the negative instead of being optimistic. To help you out, here are signs of a successful recovery from addiction. These signs will help you quantify your steps in the right direction so that you will be motivated to achieve full recovery.

Signs Of Recovery

Improved Aura

Experts say that you can sense a person’s recovery deep in your gut simply because of their improved aura. A person may seem calmer and less controversial. A good sign is if you willingly want to spend time with them and interact with them because they are pleasant company. They do not make you nervous nor do they cause stress or any discomfort.

Additionally, recovering patients seem quieter. They are a lot more introspective as they internalize their recovery process. They no longer boast of their experiences with addictive substances. Instead, most of what they say has value.

Surrendered To The Disease

Another sign of recovery is when a person has admitted that they are indeed sick and in need of urgent medical attention. Acknowledging that addiction is a disease puts them in a state of humility so that they will be more receptive to treatments. You will notice that a patient who is successfully recovering will no longer be in denial that they need help. On the contrary, they concede that they do and they do not resist treatment.

Improved Company

A patient who is truly recovering would have changed their friends. They will cut off ties with their enablers in the past. They will have a noticeably smaller circle of friends, usually consisting of family and close friends.

These individuals serve as their support system towards recovery. They will encourage a positive, addiction-free environment that is free of temptations. They also serve as an accountability system to keep the patient in line. The mere fact that they swapped out “bad” friends with the better company means that they are recovering.

Change In Environment

A patient who is successfully recovering may change their environment to fit their current healthier lifestyle. They might change their room into something brighter and more cheerful to encourage positive thoughts. Their house might be filled with furniture and other items that spark joy. Some patients may even become cleaner as they realize that their environment affects their stress levels and their mental health. As such, they will actively craft an environment that promotes happiness and wellness.

Willingness To Attend Treatment

The true sign of recovery is a patient’s willingness and openness to attend sessions that promote the continuity of their treatment. This includes attending AA meetings or Narcotics Anonymous meetings. They will also willingly show up for supplementary therapy sessions and other outpatient treatment plans.

Additionally, they will maintain close contact with their sponsor or accountability buddy. This means that they are in the stage of active healing. They no longer resist the clearly beneficial treatment. They no longer go against the flow or try to control every little thing out of their scope of power. Rather, they cooperate and surrender themselves to the process.

Stay Away From Hotspots

A recovering patient will make a conscious effort to avoid the hotspots that may trigger a relapse. These hotspots may include drug dens, bars, pharmacies, and other locations that enabled their addiction and other pre-recovery behaviors.

These are just some of the signs that a person is healing and is making the necessary steps in the right direction. Healing is never linear so a couple of setbacks are to be expected. However, the patient does not have to go through the relapses alone. Contact R&R Recovery for assistance in your loved one’s healing journey.

6 Holiday Solutions For Recovering Loved Ones

The holiday season is particularly challenging for recovering addicts. Every pub or home is brimming with joyous celebrations, and that means social gatherings and an influx of alcohol. It is almost as if alcohol is a staple during the season since it can be found in every holiday party, from office gatherings to intimate house parties.

As a recovering addict, it may be difficult to navigate the season. It is even more troublesome to isolate oneself from all the merrymaking as this can lead to negative feelings of isolation and depression. The best one can do is to find a way to stay sober during these gatherings.

However, this does not apply to all recovering addicts. Addiction recovery comes in varying stages. People who are fresh out of rehab are discouraged to attend gatherings with alcohol, especially without an accountability buddy. Long-term recovered patients could attend but may still need some help in maintaining sobriety.

Tips For Staying Sober During The Holidays

1.       H. A. L. T. Rule

The recovering patients’ community has a technical term called H. A. L. T. This acronym stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These are emotions that can serve as guidelines to keep you in check. Solving these emotions will help with your sobriety.

Hungry – It is very important to eat regular meals. Do not forget to eat despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Eating regularly helps keep your sugar levels stable. This will eliminate feelings of hunger and thirst which are often confused as a drug or alcohol craving.

Angry – It is crucial to stay calm and avoid being angry. You may avoid anger or irritability by applying the stress and anger management techniques you may have learned from rehab. You should also use the holidays to get a rush of endorphins so that you will stay happy.

Lonely – Remember that you are not alone on your healing journey. Create a list of the people who love and support you. The list may include friends, family, your sponsor, or even AA or NA members. Whenever you feel like you are alone, you can simply call one of them for some reassurance. These people are there for you.

Tired – This is a reminder to take care of yourself so that you won’t get tired. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night so that you will have enough energy for the holiday festivities. Feeling cranky due to exhaustion may cause you to spiral into unhealthy habits.

2. Create New Traditions

You do not have to miss out on the holiday fun just because you cannot participate in the partying. You can always create new traditions which can be something to look forward to each year. You may go ice skating, decorate your tree, make homemade gift wrappers for presents, or bake and decorate pastries. These festive activities will make you feel optimistic and will take your mind off of your cravings.

3. Plan And Fulfill Your Holiday Obligations

Let go of the misconception that you need to attend every single holiday event during the season. You should prioritize your wellness and only take things into stride. Do not feel pressured to  RSVP to every invitation. There is also no need to over explain your side as your friends and loved ones would understand.

Going through a string of holiday parties can feel emotionally draining and physically exhausting. Pace yourself and space out the holiday parties you can attend. And when you do, make sure to bring a trusted friend or loved one to keep you company. It also helps to bring your own car so that you drive yourself home if you need a quick getaway.

4. Have An Exit Strategy

It helps to have an exit strategy that serves as a backup plan for when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Aside from a comprehensive plan, you need to learn how to be comfortable with saying “no.” This helps you establish boundaries so that you won’t be forced to participate in things you find uncomfortable.

There are different ways to exit an event. You may slip out quietly when you feel uncomfortable. There is no need to say goodbye and you don’t necessarily owe anyone an explanation because your recovery should always be the priority. Another option is to identify a specific reason which will cause you to leave early for the night. It could be to go home to your dog, to pick up your kid from the babysitter, or an early morning the next day. With that, you can just leave whenever you wish.

Another thing is to put out a disclaimer that you will be unable to stay long which makes it acceptable for you to leave at any given moment. Lastly, plan with your partner or companion. Inform them of your preference to leave early so that the two of you will be on the same page.

5. Stay Grateful

Gratitude plays a huge role in continued recovery. This enforces a positive mindset that will prevent you from relapsing. You can practice gratitude by gratitude journaling or enforcing a grateful mindset each day. Incorporating gratefulness in your daily life makes it easier to uphold regularly. It will allow you to appreciate the holidays and see that it is the season of love, not sorrow.

6. Attend Your Meetings

Make sure to consistently attend your meetings for recovery. You may have to increase your attendance if you feel like it is a sensitive and vulnerable season for you. If you have travel plans, make sure to scout your travel destination and check if they offer meetings there. 

It also helps to stay connected to the rest of your group by forming an accountability group chat or downloading a sober app.

If you are still having troubles with recovery during the holidays, do not hesitate to contact R&R Recovery for further assistance.

7 Signs You Are Enabling Addiction And How To Stop

Sometimes, you might find yourself unknowingly enabling an addict. Being an enabler hinders the patient from achieving full recovery since it fuels the patient’s denial against their illness. As a result, their substance abuse disorder worsens as their treatment gets delayed.

Being an enabler poses numerous dangers for the enabler and the addict as well as the people around them. The enabler becomes partially responsible for the negative effects on the patient as their mental health declines and their condition worsens.

Signs You Are An Enabler

Ignoring Alarming Behavior

You may notice your loved one express shifty behavior such as sneaking out late at night, being extremely secretive of their activities, hanging out with a bad crowd, or more. Secretive behavior means that the patient may be at the threshold of addiction. This means that they feel shame about what they are doing which only pinpoints the gravity of their addiction or dependence.

When you see these red flags, especially if they are recurring, it is your responsibility to ensure that you put a stop to these. Sometimes, the patient needs external intervention because they are still in denial about their addiction. As such, you should intervene and get them the help that they need.

You Feel Resentment

Feeling resentful may be your knee jerk response when you find out that your loved one is nursing a drug addiction. When left untreated, this will build up into negative emotions that will manifest into the way you treat your loved one.

This will fuel the vicious cycle of addiction. You may resent the addict for not getting better, and they will be pushed deeper into their mental health issues which will fuel them to do more drugs as a sense of reprieve. The cycle of usage continues.

Another possibility is that you might try to hide your resentment which means that you will ignore or avoid the patient. This only worsens their condition as they deal with their solitude. They will self-medicate their mental illnesses with drugs or alcohol, which further delays their chance to get help and become better.

You need to understand that they are helpless against their disease, and they need love and compassion more than anything else. You need to take action and intervene before matters get worse.

Playing The Blame Game

You are an enabler if you choose to find someone to blame for the patient’s addiction, whether it’s themselves or another family member. The truth is that the root cause can never be pinpointed to one individual. Addictions arise from a multitude of factors, from mental illnesses to bad company.

Playing the blame game also pushes the patient further into the depths of addiction. This is also the behavior of someone who wants to keep their hands clean by staying in the good graces of the addict. Finding someone to blame is fruitless and will only delay recovery.

Covering Up For Them

If you find yourself covering up for your loved one by making excuses for their behavior or even lying on their behalf, then you are an enabler. You let them continue on their toxic cycles and you do not actively find ways to put an end to it.

You might also be covering up for them because you genuinely love them, but letting them continue down destructive paths isn’t love. It may be hard to turn them in or alert the rest of the family regarding their toxic behavior, but it is a must. You need to take control of the situation by encouraging them to come clean so that treatment may begin

You Are Unable To Express Emotions

Another way to enable an addict is by being vague or impartial about what you feel. You may be tempted to just opt out of the conversation or healing process. However, this is enabling since it is one less helpful and guiding voice that can redirect them to the path of healing.

There will come a time when the family needs to sit down together and talk about the glaring problem. If you choose to not participate or not say anything about the matter, then you are denying the patient help.

Being expressive is also helpful for relapse prevention. The more expressive you are about your negative sentiments on drugs, the less likely the patient will feel the urge to go back to using. As always, expressing your thoughts and feelings should be done with love, respect, and compassion. The patient is a friend, not an enemy.

Letting Fear Consume You

You may be tempted to protect an addict out of fear of what would happen to them. You may also be fearful that your relationship will be tarnished and you might lose them. However, your refusal to act against fear may still cost you your relationship in the end. They will continue sustaining their addiction for as long as you stay fearful.

You Prioritize Them

Patients must be prioritized, but there are limits. For example, you are not supposed to lend them money when you know that they will spend it on harmful substances. This is equivalent to condemning you and others around you. Prioritizing the addict’s harmful habits may also be a way of avoiding confrontation. Some people may feel that it is the easier way out, which is why they enable it.

What To Do If You Are An Enabler

These signs should help you determine if you are an enabler or not. If you are, then it is time for some serious action to help your loved one get better. Start by talking to the rest of the family so that they will likewise be self-aware on whether they are enablers or not.

Use our guidelines and take a long, hard look at yourself and your relationship with the addict in question. Be honest in your assessment. Are you an enabler? If so, then the next step is to proceed with recovery. Contact R&R Recovery for treatment options.

Group Therapy Guidelines Before, During, And After The Session

There are a lot of questions surrounding the topic of group therapy. What happens during therapy sessions? How effective can group therapy be? How do I go about group therapy? And so much more. These questions and uncertainties are mostly because therapy and mental health, in general, is such a taboo topic. Because of this, anything related to a person’s mental wellbeing is mostly hidden behind a veil of uncertainty and is kept hush.

This article will be divided into three broad categories that aim to help answer some of these questions: what to do before group therapy, how to conduct yourself during group therapy, and how to process the group therapy sessions that you have just undergone. Our goal is that after reading this article, you would have a general idea of the guidelines of group therapy and how it works.

Preparing for Group Therapy

Before going to therapy, there are some things that you ought to do before starting. You should not just dive in blindly without prior preparations because you may end up clueless and lost. This will be unproductive because instead of spending your time fruitfully, you would have more to spend more time adjusting to the way things work.

1. Set a goal for yourself. The first step you should do when preparing for your therapy is to know your goals. Why are you doing therapy? Think about it deeply and keep it in mind. Therapy can be draining for anyone, so you should constantly remind yourself of this goal to keep you going.

2. Write questions you might want to ask. Preparing a set of questions that you want to ask ahead of time will not hurt. It will help you think of conversation topics ahead of time so that your therapy will run smoother. However, it is not your job to initiate all conversations so if things get awkward later in therapy, do not fret. All these are normal situations, however, having a “cheat sheet” of things that might come up or things you are interested to ask will probably be helpful for all involved.

When having your group therapy

Now that you have done the preparations that you need for therapy, you finally step in to meet other people. They are your peers who are undergoing similar struggles as you are, so make sure to relax and take a deep breath. Once the ball gets rolling, hopefully, you and your peers get to have meaningful conversations and a fruitful therapy session. Here are some ways you can do that:

1. Set an expectation and say it upfront. When in therapy, it would be a good idea to be transparent about your goals and intentions. This will be a good way to break the ice as well because it is likely that everyone has similar expectations and intentions, but are shy to be the first to talk. Therefore, you should be honest in terms of your expectations and say it out loud: “I expect and hope that with this therapy, I will…” then you fill it in. Hopefully, this would lead others into doing the same which would then ignite possible conversations and shed light on possible similarities between you and others.

2.  Be honest but kind. A lot of addicts are compulsive liars. This is not surprising news because addicts tend to do anything to get high again. Therefore, addicts eventually end up getting good at lying and covering up what they want to say. This might be helpful for them previously, but it would be counterproductive in the setting of group therapy. In fact, lying and being evasive is the exact opposite of what you should be doing in therapy.

Being honest and vulnerable is one of the only ways you get to express what you are feeling. We agree that it can be terrifying to be vulnerable and open yourself up to other people’s judgments, but this cathartic release in a safe and judgment-free space can be very gratifying. It can remove a heavy burden on your shoulders as you share with others what you are feeling. However, you should do all of these kindly and with deep sympathy. You should never be condescending in front of others who mustered the courage to be vulnerable just to be met with your prickly words. Kindness goes a long way, especially in an environment like group therapy.

3. Be a part of the team. Engaging with other people and taking part in their conversations will play a vital role in the success of group therapy. You should lend a listening ear and give feedback to other people when appropriate. Sarcasm and angst should not have a place in group therapy because all of you have the same goal of getting yourselves back up on your feet. When other people ask you questions, answer them with courtesy and kindness. If there are activities in group therapy, do try to participate as well. Basically, be a good sport about group therapy and do not spoil it for others. 

What to do after a session

1. Know the next session. After all has been said and done, the first thing you need to know after a group therapy session is when the next one might be. Knowing this and blocking it in your schedule will help you gain some semblance of order in your life which can be beneficial.

2. Reflect and process. Therapy is not easy and you would have inevitably heard some interesting stories. Try to reflect on what you have heard and see if there are things your peers did that may benefit you and is applicable in your own life as well. Furthermore, having an emotionally-charged therapy session may be draining for some, so you should give your time to digest all the things you have heard and process them the best way you can.

Having group therapy is a challenge in and of itself, especially for people who never had it before. It necessitates a great deal of patience and compassion for you to be able to have success with it. However, if you can overcome that learning curve and get past all of the harder parts, group therapy can be extremely fruitful. You can bond with other people in a way that is unique and unlike any other. You bare yourselves and get vulnerable so that others may have the chance to help you, and you get the same opportunity to do the same.

Taking the right steps at the right time is crucial in your path to recovery. Contact us to help you take that step.