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When it Comes to Group Therapy or 12 Step Programs, Sharing is Caring

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By August 28, 2018

After being at the Discovery Institute for alcohol rehab in NJ, going to meetings is a great way to help you transition back into your everyday life with a ready made support structure. Twelve step programs and group therapy are excellent tools of addiction treatment, but it can be really scary to share in meetings, especially if you have always been shy or if you still struggle with considerable shame issues. For many people speaking in public can cause some serious anxiety. But if speaking in front of people has always been a little bit intimidating to you, it may be helpful to know that most people going through drug and alcohol addiction treatment and recovery feel pretty shy at their first few meetings. Indeed, it can take a lot of courage to not only talk in public but to bare the depths of your private struggles, successes, and failures with new people.

Everyone Is There For The Same Reason

Often it is the fear of judgement that stops someone from sharing at a meeting, but keep in mind, everyone is there for the same reason, trying to do their best at sober living in NJ. All of your fellow attendees at your meeting are there because they struggle with some kind of addiction. It may or may not be the same substance that you became chemically dependant on, but the other people in your meetings have been where you are, or they are on a parallel addiction treatment and recovery pathway.

You can bet that almost no one in that room feels completely at ease. Drug and alcohol dependence cause deep shame and self criticism. It’s not easy to open yourself up when you know those things are there for all to see. But there are likely people in your addiction recovery group meetings who feel exactly like you do. That’s why you are all there. It is an ideal type of setting to help you build a network of supportive individuals who can truly understand the depth and breadth of drug and alcohol addiction and what it looks like to chose each day to live a sober life.

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Sharing Really is Caring

Solidarity is one of the main reasons meetings are a successful aspect of drug dependence recovery. Listening to people share about the struggles they are encountering in their daily lives as they choose sober living over addiction, and the ways they’ve found to make sobriety work for them is really inspiring! If you can’t share right away at a meeting that’s okay. But listen closely. It will likely instill in you a sense of pride, awe, and compassion as different people generously and bravely share their stories.

Speaking up at a meeting is a grand gesture of solidarity, and not to be diminished in importance. It is not solely for you. Oh, you will find that sharing brings you a sense of community, of unburdening, of being cared for, but it will also give your group a sense of the same community. It will help them feel trusted and cared for. These are basic elements of social need that are sometimes difficult to find for someone returning from an alcohol and drug rehabilitation center.  

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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