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Therapy Combined with Medicine-Assistance Works

A path to recovery differs for each individual, but most find that a combination of behavioral health services (such as individual, group, and family therapy) along with medication (Buprenorphine, Subutex, Suboxone, Methadone, or Vivitrol) results in the most success for long-term recovery.

To learn more about different modes of treatment for Substance Use Disorders visit the Substance Abuse and Health Administration (SAMHSA) website.

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You have made the commitment to seek help for a substance abuse disorder: Congratulations! This is a brave, wonderful step, and you should be proud of your decision to pave the way to a happier, healthier future.

You’ve located a great facility where you can begin treatment. You pack your bag and you go. And then you are faced with unloading your pain in front of total strangers. Talk about a pretty scary feeling. Rest assured that you are not alone. Group therapy and finding a community that you identify with, as intimidating as it sounds, is a major part of the recovery process. Your peers help you build the foundation you need to battle addiction. And you will do the same for them.

Recently I was able to spend some time with several graduates of different treatment facilities. They were eager to share their insights about what it’s like to share your emotional baggage with people you don’t know. Here is what they had to say. 
Group Therapy: Benefits of Peer Interaction for Finding a Forever Recovery
‘I was scared, angry and disappointed in myself’
For Tara, a recent graduate of A Forever Recovery, a treatment facility in Michigan, the immediate feelings of anxiety and shame were weighing her down upon arrival. 

“I remember walking into detox: I was scared, angry and disappointed in myself that it had to come to this. I felt like I was a defective person, that this place wasn't going to be able to fix me, that I'm just different and I couldn't change. It took some time for me to be comfortable with being there. But once I quit focusing on how long I was going to be there, I didn't mind being there at all.”

She told me her peers and counselors stood by her, and she realized the wonderful benefits of having these people in her life. 

“My peers were amazing. I never would have made it through the program if it weren't for my peers. I have never had friends like the ones I made during treatment,” she said.

‘Everyone had the same goal’
After stealing from loved ones and struggling with thoughts of suicide, Alex realized he needed help. 

“The moment I decided to get treatment I just instantly felt like I became a hundred pounds lighter. It exceeded my expectations. This place can work for anybody. As long as you're willing to choose to make it work for you, and as long as you have the choice to make a change, you will change,” Alex explained.

“Everyone in that group was there to help each other out. Nobody was putting you down. Nobody was telling you that you can't do something. Everyone had the same goal of succeeding and being sober, and living a better life than the life they were living before.”

‘There is value, meaning, and purpose in my life’
Following a relapse, Wesley was inspired by other graduates of addiction treatment. 

“It encouraged me to go forward. It gave me an opportunity to see that the work that needed to be done was necessary,’ he said. 

For Wesley, graduation was bittersweet, but he was overjoyed with his experience. 

“I felt like I was leaving home [when I graduated]. I felt like I was leaving my family. Those people have literally become my family. They know more about me than my own family. ... They prepared me, and they gave me my self-esteem back. They loved me more than I hated myself, and helped me to see that there is value, meaning, and purpose in my life. And today, I have what it takes. I have a new life, and I have the tools to proceed with that new life.”

The social aspect of rehabilitation is crucial in the recovery process. People from all walks of life are also there to seek help — many may even come from a similar background and culture as yours, so finding people you identify with is not only important, but is probably a lot easier than you think it will be. Don’t let the fear of sharing with strangers hold you back from sobriety. Those “strangers” are likely to become your best friends. 

Contributing Author:  Cecelia Johnson believes strongly in the power of good deeds and recognizing great work. She is passionate about honoring those who do outstanding work and hopes she can help build stronger, more altruistic communities and citizens.

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