Millions of people have participated in addiction support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other groups designed to support loved ones of people struggling with addiction. Much of what the public understands about recovery care is actually based on support groups, making them one of the most recognizable aspects of addiction treatment. But what are the benefits of group therapy? Do peer support groups for addiction really help, and if so, how? If you or a loved one has been struggling with substance use or addiction, you may benefit from exploring these questions and learning more about group therapy programs and support groups. Contact Pride Institute at 888.408.1625 or online for more information about our LGBTQ+ group therapy program, alumnx program, and peer support groups.
What Is an Addiction Support Group?
An addiction support group is a meeting in which people discuss topics related to addiction and substance use, recovery, and other related information. Some support groups are facilitated by clinicians, meaning that a professional substance abuse or mental health counselor is present and conducting the meeting. Other support groups are non-clinical and facilitated by peers. Peer-facilitated groups do not rely on the presence of a professional. Instead, they are conducted by people who are themselves participants in the support group.
How Are Group Therapy and Peer Support Groups Different?
These two types of groups have some similarities and some differences, and both can play an important role in recovery. In fact, clients may participate in both kinds of groups at different times during their treatment.
- Is conducted by a mental health or substance abuse treatment professional
- Usually takes place for a set, scheduled length of time
- Has the goal of helping clients learn and practice skills that can help in recovery
- Lets clients form supportive peer and clinical relationships
Peer Support Groups:
- Are conducted by other members, often ones that are farther along the recovery path
- Can be attended casually as well as indefinitely depending on client needs
- Have the goal of encouraging, supporting, and holding one another accountable
- Provides a supportive social network that is recovery-focused
The benefits of both group therapy and peer support groups for recovery outcomes cannot be overstated.
What Are the Benefits of an Addiction Support Group?
People who enter recovery often find that the social networks they once depended on are now unavailable or too risky to their recovery process. This can be very difficult, but new social networks can be formed with the help of peers and family members. This is a primary benefit of support groups. Furthermore, participants can offer encouragement, advice, and support to others who may be newer to the recovery process, which can reinforce the skills and habits that help a person maintain their recovery over time. Finally, families of people who have struggled with substances can often benefit from talking to others and sharing experiences with people who have similar situations in their families. Support groups are also helpful in terms of educating participants about substances, addiction, and recovery.
Peer support groups are often low-cost or even free, making them extremely accessible to people from all walks of life. Some treatment programs even offer special groups for their alumnx or help clients to access these groups as a part of their transition to a less intensive level of care.
Pride Institute: Serving the Recovery Care Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community Since 1986
At our treatment centers in Minneapolis and Eden Springs, Minnesota, we offer our clients a wide range of programming that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the LGBTQ+ community. If you or someone that you care about has been struggling with substance abuse or addiction, the time to get help is now. Reach out to our caring and compassionate staff today at 888.408.1625 or via our online form and learn how we can help you take the first steps on your recovery journey.