In the treatment of alcoholism, I quickly learned that group therapy is an essential part of the recovery process. I also learned why this type of therapy works so well.
As an alcoholic, I felt that I was suffering from a problem that no one else could possibly understand. As a result, I withdrew from other people and soon become extremely depressed. I felt guilty and ashamed of my actions even though though I was not able to change them.
When I was first introduced to treatment, I was immediately put in with a group of other alcoholics. While I was reluctant to share my experiences at first, It did not take very long for the magic of the group to begin to work on me. How so?
Suddenly I found myself surrounded with people who had the same fears, anxieties and feelings that I had. For the first time in years I was made aware that I really was not so different after all!
Of course I did not like group at first. I remember thinking if any of the folks in my group really understood what I was like they would not want me to be around. After listening to their experiences for a few days, however, I soon realized I wasn’t such a special case after all. In fact everything I had experienced as an alcoholic had been experienced by these folks, too!
One of the most important things I found that group therapy offers is a support system. After a few weeks I really came to care about the individuals in my group. We pulled for one another and helped one another. When one group member felt down, the rest of the group was there to pick them up.
Group therapy also kept me honest. I always found my disease made it easy for me to deceive others I was rarely honest about the things I was truly feeling. Members of the group could always see right through me and often called me out when I wasn’t being honest.
Is group therapy right for every problem? Probably not. However, if you are seeing a professional counsellor, and he or she recommends you join a group therapy session, think twice before you turn it down. These sessions can be extremely valuable and healing. I will tell you honestly that group therapy saved my life!