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The Benefits of Peer Support Groups

People in recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol can find many benefits of peer support groups. Knowing they have understanding people who can help them deal with things like triggers, difficult emotions, and feeling alone can give them the boost they need to avoid relapse and stay strong in their recovery.

What Are Peer Support Groups?

Peer support groups consist of individuals gathering together as equals, without a professional or clinical person leading the group. Groups can focus on recovery and similar goals for many different issues, including addiction to alcohol and drugs. Other common support groups focus on things like gambling addiction, eating disorders, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Everyone in the group is at some stage of wanting to get better and take charge of their lives, ranging from those who are attending their first meeting to those who have been in recovery and dealing with their particular condition for several years.

The benefits of peer support groups include the ability to attend many of them both in person or virtually. Groups that follow the 12-step tradition, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, offer a variety of locations and times for their meetings. In major cities, it is said you can locate a meeting just about any time of day. For those who can’t find one locally or have other reasons that make traveling in-person to a meeting difficult, the option to attend meetings online can make a real difference in their lives. Some offer meetings via on-camera software, telephone, or apps readily available to download on smartphones. The majority of peer support groups are free, making them available to anyone regardless of income or job situation.

Benefits of Peer Support Groups Involves Everyone Being Equals

While great value exists in receiving individual or group support led by a therapist or other clinician, a benefit of peer support groups has to do with communicating with those who are traveling in the same circle as one another. Each person in the group has dealt with the same troubles, challenges, and difficulties as everyone else. People who are working on recovery from substance use disorders don’t have to worry about feeling shame when they discuss their situations. They don’t have to fear that their experiences may seem foreign to others in the group or that no one can relate. 

For every story or problem shared in a peer support group, at least one other person likely has their own comparable situation. This makes it easy to find advice from someone who has already been through a similar problem or currently finds themselves working on the same goal as someone else. Not only can people receive needed support, but they can also benefit from being able to share their own ideas and experiences with others. Doing so can allow a person to reflect on their own progress in recovery and feel pride in how much they have accomplished. This can uplift them and provide needed motivation the next time they find themselves struggling with temptation or being overwhelmed by details of staying in recovery.

Peer Support Groups Affect Major Recovery Requirements

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that when it comes to achieving success in recovery from substance use disorders and mental health disorders, four areas should be addressed. When you include sober living homes and other residential type treatment, the benefits of peer support groups cover all four areas. The four areas cited by SAMHSA are:

Home: Recovery works best when a person has a stable and safe living environment. Sober living homes and residential treatment offer supervised living situations that are free of alcohol and drugs. They provide residents with a safe space to work on their recovery and put into practice what they’re learning as part of their new sober lives.

Community: Being in supportive, nurturing relationships is vital to everyone’s recovery from addiction. Sober living homes, by definition, are a tight-knit community of people with common goals who give and receive support as they navigate their new lives. Staff members can offer guidance and help keep everyone on track. Many relationships formed in residential treatment settings continue long after the residents leave. This provides an added bonus of a source for continued support once everyone returns to their home lives.

Purpose: A strong tenet of recovery involves individuals getting up every day and renewing their vow to live a life with recovery and renewal as their purpose. SAMHSA reports that part of this tenet includes engaging in meaningful activities, establishing independence, and returning to social activities. Sober living homes offer all of these options, providing true and positive purpose for their residents. 

Health: Managing or overcoming any diseases comprises the fourth tenet for success in recovery. Residential treatment offers options for medical and psychological support that help residents achieve optimum wellbeing and health. 

Addiction Treatment and Peer Support Groups in Los Angeles

Riviera Recovery understands the value of peers coming together to help each other as they work on staying strong in their recovery from substance use disorders. We treat young people in our two gender-specific sober living houses. Our staff is available 24/7 and we provide multiple options for therapeutic treatment. 

If you or a young person you know needs help with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact Riviera Recovery in Los Angeles.