The Benefits of having a Support Group
A lot of people who have found out that I overcame addiction give me a lot of the credit that's undeserved. I tell them, it wasn't me who did it. Left to my own devices, I'd still be in a terrible situation or not alive today. I'm alive, well and happy because of the people I have in my life. This is something that I never thought would be possible because I've always been very isolative about my problems and have a lot of trust issues, but I found out that having a support group is something that everyone needs.
I'm My own Worst Enemy
I used to think that a lot of the thoughts I had floating through my head were because I'm an addict, but I found out that I have issues that everyone has. A lot of us feel fear, stress, anxiety and sadness. If you're like me, you like to sit in self-pity when you've had a rough day. We all have those days when nothing goes right and we want to sit and sulk. There's nothing wrong with this, but you I learned that you have to do it in moderation. There are times that we have to sit in our feelings and accept them, but then we need to start looking for the solution.
My head will tell me that I'm not good enough to complete a task, or I'm not handsome enough to get the girl I'm interested in. On the other hand, I can have a huge ego and think that I'm superior in every way possible. I, like many other people, love being right, and it's caused me a lot of issues with friends as well as significant others. I learned that I can't always trust my thinking, and this is where the support group can be most beneficial.
I'm Not Alone
No matter what our heads tell us, we're not alone. There are people in our lives who love and care about us, and we need to take advantage of that. When we don't reach out to others, we're not being part of the solution, or we may think of a solution that won't help the situation. It takes some humility, but we have to let people who care about us know when we're struggling. This can seem like a weakness, but it's actually an act of taking control of the situation.
By reaching out to friends, family or a co-worker, you're taking the power away from the thoughts or situation that you're struggling with. You're able to get a new perspective on a situation. Maybe the thing that's stressing you out isn't nearly as bad as you think it is, and your support group can help you understand that. Maybe you think you have a grand idea, but the little voice in your head tells you there may be consequences. Your support group can help you with that too.
Letting Down Your Walls
I know I'm not the only one with trust issues, and they're difficult to get over with. We've all had situations where we opened up to someone, and it later came back to bite us. Whether they leaked the private information that we told them or they used the information against us at a later date, it hurts and makes it difficult to open up to someone else.
I had to realize this is inevitable. I'm only hurting myself if I carry my trust issues around with me to every friendship or relationship that I get into. When I'm unable to open up, I'm stuck with myself, and that's not always the best situation. I had to learn that things happen where someone may lose my trust, but I can't punish other people for it. By opening up to other people, they'll feel like they can open up to me, and being there for others is one of the best ways we can feel serene.
Sticking with the Winners
One of the other ways to avoid trust issues is by choosing your support group wisely. Check your motives when you're allowing someone to be part of your support group. We all have those friends who are fun to hang around with, but they may not be the best person to be in our support group. They may still be a friend, but I won't turn to them when I need some advice or a listening ear.
There are also those who like to gossip and see the negative in a situation. While it may feel great that you have someone agreeing with you, it may not be the healthiest way to receive help. For example, when you go through a breakup or you lose your job, you'll have some resentment. You need someone who will help console you about the situation rather than feeding into your anger or sadness. You need someone who will listen openly and help offer you potential solutions.
I personally keep people in my life who will be brutally honest with me. Sure, it hurts my pride and my ego, but it's exactly what I need. I need people who will tell me when I'm wrong or acting irrationally. These are my true friends because they care about me enough to not let me make a mistake that may have some harsh consequences.
Sometimes the Best Advice is None at All
I used to turn to people with my problems, and I always wanted answers. I wanted guidance. I wanted them to tell me what to do or to tell me that I was justified in my feelings. What I began noticing was that a lot of the people in my support group wouldn't offer me any of that, and I'd get even more frustrated. Then, I started realizing that they didn't have to say anything.
Sometimes there's nothing to say. When we're having one of those extremely bad days, there's often nothing anyone can say or do to make it better. I learned that I had to be grateful that I simply had someone who was there willing to listen. I was able to get everything out that had been eating me up inside, which gave me a sense of relief.
Even when my support group does have something to say, they don't tell me what to do. I go to them for experience, strength and hope. What helps me more than any advice they could ever give me is when they're able to tell me about a time when they were going through a similar situation and made it through. I see that this too shall pass, and I'll probably come out on the other side stronger and better for it.