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Is Group Therapy Right For Me In Early Recovery?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

April 9, 2019

Recovery, like a lot of things in life, is an individual thing. There’s no one-way-heals-all method of getting past addiction. It’s often recommended that the best way to get back on track is to keep things in your life as simple as possible. Group therapy can be an important part of this approach.

Keeping It Green

Newcomers to recovery are often strongly suggested to attend group therapy, often by attending 90 meetings in 90 days. It can sound like a lot, but groups are more available than you might think. If a major event is coming up, such as a marriage, divorce, or graduation celebration, it can take several sessions to get over the temptation of using again. On the other hand, a few days might pass when you don’t need to attend a group at all. This concept is referred to as “Keeping it Green” by many 12-step programs.

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Make It Interesting

Most communities have a variety of meeting places, with groups that are local to each place. There’s no rule that says you have to stay with one location though. Keep things interesting by experimenting a little. Go to one on Tuesday evening at a library and one Sunday morning at a church. This will widen your circle of sober people and help you keep a fresh perspective.

There Are Options

Group therapy is often synonymous with 12-step programs such as the one first introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s. Their original format is now used for many different kinds of addictions and it’s a very popular way to go, but it isn’t the only option out there. Many organizations that follow the 12-step programs, for instance, have a spiritual or religious component to their teachings. For those without a significant belief system, this can be off-putting. There are many groups that follow a more general format with fewer steps and some that avoid that pattern altogether. Similarly, some meetings incorporate the family of a person in recovery, while others don’t. You need to find the option that works best for you.

Are Groups Necessary?

Group therapy is highly encouraged for anyone in early recovery, but as human beings we don’t all fall into the same category. If a person has severe social anxiety, for instance, they might do better in one-on-one sessions with a therapist. Group therapy can give you a chance to connect with your peers, but there are times when a group is simply not a good fit, or is not available for one reason or another. Then other methods should be found to help the recovering addict, so bad habits don’t return.

We Can Help!

Our advisers can locate the best group therapy for you! We can find the meeting closest to your location, or suggest alternate options if a group isn’t something you’re interested in. Contact us today and make sure your first steps in recovery are strong ones.

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