Your family has never suffered through withdrawal and recovery…they don’t understand. Your therapist doesn’t really now what it’s like to crave a drink so badly it hurts; and your sober friends think that will power alone will keep you abstinent.
It’s easy for us in recovery to minimize the advice and concern of those that care and try to help; dismissing their efforts because they don’t know what it’s really like! But the honesty demanded and advice offered by a peer recovery therapy group is a very different thing, and you can’t deny the truth of what is said by others going through the similar trials of addiction and recovery.
There is a shared expertise within a group of addicts recovering together, and it can be very tough for a recovering addict to deny what is offered from the communal wisdom of a group who knows exactly what it means to get and stay sober. We may be less than honest with ourselves, but trying to pass off anything less than the truth to a group of concerned and caring experts in the process of recovery is unlikely to be accepted, and this is one of the things that makes group therapy so effective; and is why almost all drug addiction treatment will include some form of group therapy in its programming.
It’s also why staying in group therapy for a protracted period of aftercare makes a lot of sense for continuing sobriety. Most of us leave rehab with the best of intentions to stay sober, but the realities and stresses of the outside world can complicate the previously clear ideals of recovery. Continued group therapy maintains and reinforces these lessons and ideas, and never lets us forget who we are as recovering addicts, and never lets us grow complacent in our continuing battle against temptation and relapse. There are a lot of good reasons to join and stay with a therapeutic group…but the enforced honesty to the group and to ourselves is one of the biggest. I’ve developed a couple of very strong friendships forged out of the shared social experience of group therapy, and these sober friendships alone were more than worth the price of admission; but although AA has done a lot for me, I think that my support group therapy in and out of rehab offered me the most during these very tough initial months of sobriety.
If you’re struggling with sobriety, stay with group therapy in aftercare.