You’ve probably heard plenty about 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), but you may not know much about them. AA has been helping people get sober for over 80 years. The original model was created for alcoholics, but it has been modified over the years to accommodate other types of addictions.
There are also extensions of these groups that offer help to the family members and friends of addicts. The goal is to bring together people who are going through similar experiences for the purpose of mutual support, compassion and understanding.
As your loved one prepares to come home from drug rehab in Arizona, you may be wondering how important 12-step groups are. Is this something that you should continue to encourage? What does your loved one have to gain?
Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should encourage your loved one to attend their recovery groups.
Prevent Loneliness and Isolation
Addiction is a disease of isolation. Now that your loved one is working on their recovery, they probably feel alone in a different way. Their personal relationships are probably a mess. They’ve likely lost friends and aren’t sure how to interact with others just yet. Some newly recovering addicts reveal that they don’t know where they fit in. Attending 12-step meetings prevents solitude. It connects addicts in all phases of their recoveries and reminds them that they are not alone.
Reduce the Risk of Relapse
The risk of relapse is high in the beginning. It subsides over time, but it can never be completely ruled out. Some recovering addicts admit that they relapsed when they stopped going to their groups, as the meetings reminded them of their purpose and sense of belonging. Self-help groups encourage addicts to stay sober, and if something is off, members often notice it.
Connect with Others and Relieve Stress
No matter how close you are to your loved one, it’s possible that they will have a hard time being open and honest. Many recovering addicts tend to be more comfortable in their support groups, as the environment is non-judgemental and the members are supportive. Being able to release anxious thoughts in this setting is powerful.
Maintain a Structured Schedule
In the early days of recovery, your loved one will benefit from a structured schedule. Boredom can be one of the worst enemies. Going to support groups requires some time and effort. It’s a healthy activity that will keep your loved one on track with their sobriety goals and add organization to their schedule.
You should always encourage your loved one to attend their support groups. This is one of the best tools they have in their recovery. Don’t forget that there are groups for people like you, too! Check out Al-Anon or Nar-Anon Family Groups for more information.