Group Activities for Chemical Dependency

By Blair Foy

The decision to get treatment to overcome a chemical addiction is the first step in the process toward recovery. Whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting, treatment fosters opportunities for people to connect and build relationships within each group. This support system can be a valuable tool for someone working through secession of a chemical dependency.

Group Therapy in Treatment

For both an inpatient and outpatient setting, having group therapy in treatment is an essential part of working to break chemical dependency. When a group of chemically dependent individuals work together with a licensed therapist to discuss varying aspects of addiction, each person has the opportunity to tell his story and learn from one another. They can make connections based on similar experiences with their addiction, previous failures to quit, fears and triggers as well as their hopes for recovery.

Family Therapy

Chemical dependency not only affects the addict but his family and friends as well. Family therapy can help those around the addict learn what they can do to support and help during recovery. In addition, family therapy counseling can help everyone involved to voice their feelings and emotions about the series of events that has led to their loved one becoming chemically dependent. By working together as a group, family members can heal their wounds as well as create a plan for moving forward as a strong family unit.

Gender Specific Therapy

Gender specific therapy allows men and women to discuss issues that may be uncomfortable to speak freely about while amid members of the opposite sex. Especially in cases where chemical dependency is stemming from sexual abuse, domestic abuse, relationship issues or sexual dysfunction, gender specific therapy provides men and women an outlet to discuss what their problems mean to them from the standpoint of their gender. For example, a woman who suffers with alcoholism can find support from other females when she discusses her feelings of remorse about having children and being an alcoholic mother.

Group Role-play Exercises

While these therapy sessions can draw out strong or painful emotions, they also allow those involved to finally deal with the repressed emotions they have been trying to hide through chemical dependency. For example, in a group where a young man has pent-up aggression and frustration toward his mother, which has resulted in his chemical dependency, talking to a woman in the group who volunteers to role-play his mother will allow the young man to face the emotions he has been neglecting to deal with. This type of chemical dependency treatment forces the addict to confront the emotions holding him hostage through addiction.

© Demand Media 2011