Your family has never suffered through withdrawal and recovery…they don’t understand. Your therapist doesn’t really now what it’s like to crave a drink so badly it hurts; and your sober friends think that will power alone will keep you abstinent.
It’s easy for us in recovery to minimize the advice and concern of those that care and try to help; dismissing their efforts because they don’t know what it’s really like! But the honesty demanded and advice offered by a peer recovery therapy group is a very different thing, and you can’t deny the truth of what is said by others going through the similar trials of addiction and recovery.
There is a shared expertise within a group of addicts recovering together, and it can be very tough for a recovering addict to deny what is offered from the communal wisdom of a group who knows exactly what it means to get and stay sober. We may be less than honest with ourselves, but trying to pass off anything less than the truth to a group of concerned and caring experts in the process of recovery is unlikely to be accepted, and this is one of the things that makes group therapy so effective; and is why almost all drug addiction treatment will include some form of group therapy in its programming.
It’s also why staying in group therapy for a protracted period of aftercare makes a lot of sense for continuing sobriety. Most of us leave rehab with the best of intentions to stay sober, but the realities and stresses of the outside world can complicate the previously clear ideals of recovery. Continued group therapy maintains and reinforces these lessons and ideas, and never lets us forget who we are as recovering addicts, and never lets us grow complacent in our continuing battle against temptation and relapse. There are a lot of good reasons to join and stay with a therapeutic group…but the enforced honesty to the group and to ourselves is one of the biggest. I’ve developed a couple of very strong friendships forged out of the shared social experience of group therapy, and these sober friendships alone were more than worth the price of admission; but although AA has done a lot for me, I think that my support group therapy in and out of rehab offered me the most during these very tough initial months of sobriety.
If you’re struggling with sobriety, stay with group therapy in aftercare.
We just finished the first two steps. He explained the simple method of doing the third step.
We both pray, hold hands, and say this prayer right out of the book, the third step prayer.
This seemed very uncomfortable at the time. In reality I would have declined had I not been "ready" to go on the very beneficial journey of staying sober. We read to each other – God I offer myself to thee, to build with me and to do with me as thou wilt, relieve me of the bondage of self so that I may better do thy will, take away my difficulties so that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of thy power, they love and thy way of life.
You know when I first did this, I could not even pay attention to the words – maybe because I was holding the hand of some ex-convict. Maybe because I wasn’t ready. Maybe because I had to live life and make my mistakes before REALLY needing what I was asking for. To be "Relieved of the bondage of self so that I can better do Gods will" has to be the most important thing I have ever asked for.
All I am saying is "Take me away from me and my personal distractions for a minute so I can focus on my higher power because that’s the better route". Every morning when I wake up, I say this prayer.
See I felt that I could get everything I need from the meeting. He explained to me that going to a meeting and attending it was only a fraction of the part of staying sober. He said that sobriety is a 24 hour a day deal. He made a key point is telling me that my way of thinking stinks. My best thinking got me to that meeting trying to stay sober. He explained to me that I have to stay in touch with someone who has been doing what I was trying to do – for many years.
He told me that if I did not seek help then I would end up trying to handle everything on my own. To be honest, I felt this man had some other motive. I couldn’t understand why he would spend all this time trying to explain sponsorship to me. I just spent a month in drug rehab and I was going to meetings and I felt like I was doing enough.
I was waiting a few weeks and then I went to a step series. They were talking about the importance of sponsorship and working the steps. They told me after the meeting that I needed a sponsor to help guide me through the steps. I was starting to feel less and less comfortable on a daily basis. Perhaps this man was right that I could not handle life on my own and I needed help. Perhaps I was at the point where I had to either work the steps and take the program of recovery to a new level, or just try something else. While walking to my car I bumped into that man again. He asked me how I felt and I was honest. He told me that all I have to do is call him. He offered to help me work the steps. His name was Jim. This was a decade ago. I am still sober. Jim has since passed away but I have a new sponsor. Since then I have had the honor of working with several guys who were once confused and new to the program as I once was.