Last updated: 04/20/2020
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
It’s not uncommon for people considering addiction treatment to start attending addiction support group meetings. While this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, using addiction support groups as a sole means of treatment may not provide the level of support needed to maintain abstinence from day to day; especially during the early stages of recovery.
More than anything else, getting the level of treatment needed to address your treatment needs offers the best chance at a successful recovery outcome. When addiction support group meetings can’t provide the level of treatment needed, the risk of relapse runs incredibly high. Knowing what signs to look for can help you take the needed steps to find the type of treatment that best addresses your specific needs.
The Role of Addiction Support Group Meetings in Recovery
Twelve Step support groups play an ongoing role throughout all stages of the recovery process. Detox, residential, outpatient and sober living programs all incorporate addiction support group meetings within their treatment approaches.
In effect, addiction in any form warps a person’s thinking and overall lifestyle. These destructive patterns can stay with a person for months or even years into recovery.
According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, addiction support group meetings provide those in recovery with a built-in support system of like-minded individuals who share a common goal. In the process, a person acquires much needed tools and strategies for maintaining a drug-free lifestyle on a day-to-day basis.
3 Signs to Watch for
1. Overwhelming Temptations
As beneficial as addiction support groups can be, a person’s state of mind ultimately determines whether his or her choices and behaviors will be recovery-oriented or addiction-oriented.
Undoing the effects of addiction entails developing the types of habits and routines that make a drug-free lifestyle possible. Otherwise, temptations to use can run wild when a person doesn’t know how to redirect these urges in healthy ways.
2. Chaotic Lifestyle
The addiction lifestyle naturally breeds chaos and confusion in the addict’s daily life with the bulk of his or her time invested in getting and using drugs, according to Harvard Health Publications. For this reason, a big part of the recovery path entails establishing structure and stability within one’s daily life.
Someone who lives in a chaotic or conflict-ridden household will have an extremely difficult time applying principles learned in an addiction support group within his or her daily life. Likewise, ongoing exposure to drug-using activities by friends and family, or having no discernible daily schedule can also compromise a person’s recovery efforts.
3. Emotional Turmoil
People struggling with depression and/or anxiety disorders have an especially difficult time in recovery. In the absence of needed treatment supports, the likelihood of relapse runs high.
Under these conditions, using addiction support group meetings as one’s sole means of treatment support is a recipe for disaster as the emotional ups and downs that come with emotional disorder only works to intensify drug-using urges.
While addiction support groups offer a flexible and convenient treatment option, they’re really designed to work alongside standard treatment programs. If you’re experiencing one or more of the above signs, it’s best to seek out a suitable treatment program sooner rather than later to prevent a difficult situation from getting worse.