Stories connect people. Throughout history, tales were cautionary, lessons, or recounting events. People listened and took from the story what they wanted. In many cases, an account about a person going through a relatable situation can catch a person’s attention. The power of a story carries into alumni and peer-support groups.
The Benefit of Peer-Support Groups
People who share a common bond can relate to each other. They have similar experiences with, for instance, alcohol or drugs. The camaraderie and support found in alumni or peer groups are immeasurable.
Commarderie is essential for maintaining your sobriety and reaching out to someone when you need a helping hand. It provides a chance to share your story and learn from others. There’s something to be said about knowing you can call someone in your darkest moments. Rely on peer support or alumni groups to find people who have your best interest in mind.
Fear Holds You Back
Fear keeps you from moving forward. So, before you hesitate from taking the first step or put off a task, look within yourself. What is your fear? Do you think if you share your story with others, they may reject, judge, or shun you?
When you let fear keep you from living your fullest life, you forget the lesson learned in 1 John 4:16-20. If you believe in the love God has for you and accept that God is love, then you also welcome the opportunity to perfect His love. The section to take to heart is, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.”
Learn how to cast away your fear with like-minded people in their commitment to the 12-Step process and God. Once you let go and accept God’s love, you can begin to release yourself from fear and guilt.
You must participate in group and individual counseling when you begin alcohol or drug addiction treatment. While you’re in these sessions, you can learn about the causes of substance addiction and how underlying causes (mental health disorders) can affect your well-being. As you progress in your treatment, you will combine psychotherapy (talk therapy) with the 12 Steps and holistic therapies. These activities are positive ways to process emotions like guilt or shame.
As you open up to your therapist or group, you can take in the support and words of encouragement. Use those words to bolster your resolve and come to terms with harmful emotions. Incorporate one or more of the holistic therapies you participated in after leaving treatment because these are the skills that can carry you through feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment once you return to your living environment.
Challenge Your Guilt
Guilt is pervasive. The definition of guilt includes feeling responsible or remorse for something you did wrong. It is an uncomfortable feeling that you failed or hurt someone or yourself. You can feel like you violated moral or societal standards and failed those who love or rely on you. It’s okay to feel guilty, but only if you use that feeling to motivate you to change.
Guilt is uncomfortable and can figuratively or literally damage your physical and mental health. That’s why finding a support group that you feel comfortable sharing your history with is essential to maintaining your sobriety. God doesn’t want you to carry your guilt with you for the rest of your life. Reflect on Psalm 32 when David delivers this message about his experience of “keeping silent,” and the result was his bones “wasted away.” He continues by saying he acknowledged his sin and iniquity and walked away in forgiveness. You could surmise from this passage that David accepted his behavior, and by truthfully telling his story, he could free himself of the heaviness he felt. Essentially, his heaviness was guilt, and being truthful released him.
Challenge your guilt by telling your story and admitting to your past behaviors. Allow the love that surrounds you to help you heal. Your fellow alumni and peers understand where you were and how you struggled to be with them.
Find a Support Group
Finding a support group takes time and patience. Ask them about their alumni groups, whether you live close to your treatment center or far away. Some centers have in-person and virtual group meetings. Remain active in your alumni group – and if there are retreats, join them.
Looking for a support group outside your treatment center’s alumni group is a process. First, it’s okay to “shop” around. You can go to several meetings throughout your area until you find the one that fits your needs. Then, when you share your feelings of guilt with your alumni or peer-support group, you can start to process and find ways to make a change.
After completing your alcohol or drug treatment, please take what you learned and find ways to incorporate them into your life. Use healthy support systems to maintain your sobriety. Examples of healthy support systems include peer-support groups or alumni groups. Release yourself from guilt and fear by acknowledging your history. When you find a peer-support group or participate in your substance addiction center’s alumni group, you invite people into your life. Your support system can help you heal and grow. Treatment centers like Rennaissance Ranch Treatment Centers provide comprehensive care that is available to you throughout your life. Our commitment to you extends beyond treatment. Wherever you are in your life, we will be there when you need us. We welcome you to immerse yourself in the love and support of our staff. Reach out to us today at (801) 308-8898 if you have any questions or want to learn more about our services.