You’re facing one of the most challenging chapters of your life: recovery. You’ve already overcome a ton of obstacles. What’s the next one?
Well, you’re supposed to enter a room full of strangers and share your most intimate secrets and most regrettable moments. How’s that for a fun-filled evening?
In the end, it will prove helpful. In the beginning, it can be a pretty intimidating process.
Now Let’s Get Ready for Group!
For many, attending a support group sounds scary for a variety of reasons. If you’re among these frightened folks, you’re probably wrestling with a few of the following:
- I’m Not Ready to Share!
That’s okay; you don’t have to. Eventually, yes, you should share your story. That’s part of the point of being there. But relax…you don’t have to spill your guts at the very first meeting. Give yourself time to get comfortable with the setting and the people there. Be a listener for a while, then you can work your way up to being a talker. And even then, you don’t have to speak like a polished politician. You’re not giving a campaign speech; you’re simply telling your story.
- I’m Embarrassed.
Everyone’s story is unique. But keep in mind who’s in the room with you – you’re not the only one who’s made mistakes. Everyone there has similar experiences. There’s no need to feel shame or embarrassment. Remember, you have a lot to offer. Your story can make a difference in other’s lives.
- Will I Be Able to Relate to Anyone?
The comparison game can be deadly, so do you yourself a favor and avoid it. Support groups are generally made up of a diverse crowd. People are in various stages of recovery and all come from different walks of life. It’s okay if you can’t fully relate to every story. It’s okay if no one else shares the exact experiences you’ve had. Rather than comparing “success” levels or life details, focus on the big picture. You’re all there for one reason – sobriety.
- What If I Don’t Get Anything Out of It?
You’ve heard others testify about the impact that meetings had in their lives. But maybe you’re having doubts about how beneficial it will be for you. The process sounds so intimidating that you fear it will only be an exercise in futility. Try this: Set a goal. Make it small. Maybe you start with finding a meeting location. Maybe it’s talking to one other person while you’re there. Maybe it’s simply paying attention while others share their stories. As you reach each goal, set another. Accomplishing each small step will give you confidence and help you get (and give) more from the therapeutic process.
- How Do I Choose a Meeting?
You probably live near several meeting locations. How do you know which one is right for you? You won’t know – until you go. The good news is, you can try more than one! If one doesn’t feel like a good fit, check out a different one the next time. You should eventually settle on a regular group, but relieve yourself of the pressure of deciding right now. Test the waters…then jump in for a swim.
Additional Reading: Top 5 Reasons You Should Keep Going to 12-Step Meetings
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