There are many benefits to be gained from attending a 12-step meeting. When a person is new to sober living, it’s beneficial to have a group of peers who are also going through the same process of sobriety. The fellowship that can be found at 12-step and other recovery meetings can be the foundation upon which someone gets rooted in sober living and recovery. In fact, the fellowship that one gains from a meeting can help keep them sober for many years to come.
It is for these reasons that experts encourage recovery addicts to attend support groups and develop relationships with those who are also working towards long-term sober living. Yet, there are some dangers to being in a group that someone new to recovery might want to consider. For instance:
- Some people struggle in groups and do better on their own or with one-on-one relationships.
- Some may rely too heavily upon the group and not develop their own independent thinking, which can promote empowerment.
- There are some sober living groups that have a certain overtone, with certain beliefs and practices, to them that may not work well with for someone new to recovery.
- Some 12-step meetings have more of a religious emphasis than others, which also may not be attractive to a new member.
- Some might continue their tendencies of powerlessness by relying too heavily upon a group.
These are some ill effects of group participation. And these negative effects can be something to watch out for when attending 12-step meetings and other recovery groups. However, on the whole, recovery groups have proven to be a successful tool in facilitating sober living. It can be frightening to go into recovery alone. Although the process of getting sober might be somewhat clear, making such a change can provoke fear in someone. And that fear alone can trigger a relapse. Having a group of people who are all walking the same journey of sober living can make it easier on someone new to the process. It’s likely that a person will feel supported, encouraged, and embraced by the group, making the transition to sober living easier.
If someone were concerned about the dangers of a group, he or she can test it out first. Attending a 12-step meeting with a friend or relative can be a way to feel out the group in advance. This gives a person a chance to see if the group experience will be supportive or not. And it’s important to remember that not all groups are going to be perfect. If there are parts of the group that one doesn’t like but, for the most part, the group can provide sober living support, then it may be worth attending. Also, another significant benefit from attending a group is the individual relationships one can develop. This too can provide significant support later in one’s recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, contact a mental health professional for assistance. He or she may be able to provide you with a list of 12-step meetings or other recovery groups in your community.
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