Beyond the famous 12 step recovery meetings of the AA, there are several alternatives for those who have other interests and special needs. While groups like the Secular Organizations For Sobriety (SOS) or the Self-Management And Recovery-Training (SMART) operate on different philosophies about alcohol addiction treatment and recovery, in the end they provide the same benefits as an AA group support.
During my recovery process, joining one of these support groups was recommended to me more than once, as they’re indispensable for staying clean and sober. Because I couldn’t comprehend the complexity of the recovery process, I chose to ignore my counselor’s suggestion and thought the addiction treatment is all I needed to turn my life around.
Addiction treatment is only the first stage
If you have previously undergone addiction treatment for alcohol abuse before, then you probably know that going through it alone is not an easy feat. However, once you’re done with the program and get back home there’s a high chance you will feel uncomfortable.
When I got home after my first addiction treatment, everything was weird and awkward. Even though relatives and friends were congratulating me for my accomplishment, the truth is that I couldn’t help but detect a sign of pity in their tones. While they were struggling to act normally and sympathetically around me, I thought they were condescending and superior.
I started feeling sad because nobody appeared to truly understand what I’ve been through. Truth be told, unless you’re a recovering alcoholic it’s simply impossible to imagine what sort of demons you need to fight in order to get where you are now.
Support groups can give you what your loved ones can’t!
Although I was still reluctant about joining up with a group of complete strangers to discuss my personal issues, I decided to take my counselor’s recommendation and go to my first meeting. After attending my first one, I had to admit it wasn’t as bad as I thought at first.
I found out that there are numerous other people trying to break free from the shackles of alcohol with far worse problems than mine. While my group consisted of recovering alcoholics with different backgrounds and ages, they were all confronted with the same array of problems as I was.
The support group relies on a bond of empathy between members, a tie that only gets stronger as they share discomfort, fears, resentment, triumphs, so on and so forth. The focus on the mutual support groups consists of helping members stay clean and sober.
All in all, these meetings helped me realize that I have the strength to overcome fears and emotions that I believe were unjustified. Even though it felt weird expressing very personal issues out loud, it felt good and made me understand that I was making too much of them.
You just have to reach out
If after your treatment you’re feeling out of place and odd around the people you’ve known your entire life, then you should search for a support group in your area that meets your needs. Help can be as close as a phone call away or can come in the form of online message boards, chat groups, or overcoming addiction forums.