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Why do people hesitate to join support groups?

Discussion in '12-Step Support Groups' started by shilpa123, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. VitaMuse

    VitaMuse Member

    A lot of people may find it hard to admit that they have a problem, even if their close friends and doctor are telling them that they have. The thought of attending a group dedicated to solving a problem you will not admit to having is a daunting prospect to most. Even if they do admit to having a problem, the though of being judged by others may also act as a deterrent to joining a support group, even though that would not be the case if they attended. All I can say is support them however you can, eventually, they may realise that they need help, or even help themselves :)
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    In the past, I was too scared to go to a support group as I was scared that I'd get really upset and start crying in front of everybody. Which, by the way, I did actually do when I finally went to one. The others couldn't have been nicer though - I wasn't the first and I certainly won't have been the last!

    It might be the case that she feels too self-conscious to interact with strangers right now. Of course, this is completely understandable, she's probably at a really low ebb.
  3. Bonzer

    Bonzer Community Champion

    It could be inhibitions, a feeling of guilt. fear of an embarrassment, lack of confidence in a support group or literally any emotion that could ring alarm bells for an individual. Some people are shy and introvert by nature and don't like to discuss their problems in the open. Their basic instinct is to maintain a low profile.

    Systematic desensitization is the only way for such individuals and answering all their apprehensions will give the desired result.
  4. AgentofC

    AgentofC Member

    You should ask her again to join and tell her that she doesn't have to speak. Just let her listen and experience what it's all about. Hopefully, she'll recognize the importance of letting her feelings out and be vulnerable. For in those times of vulnerability is when she can find the strength to move on.
  5. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I think there are a lot of totally scary situations that come with support groups. Confronting your addiction, saying it out loud, listening to the stories of others, especially when they reflect some of your own stories and situations. Plus, anxiety and general fear of public exposure. That has to play a factor in not wanting to go. I think the way people get past it is to realize that the "dangers" of a support group are more than the dangers of not going to a support group. Once you reconcile to that situation, you're probably more likely to give it a shot.
  6. xSentaru

    xSentaru Active Contributor

    There may be a lot of involving factors, but from my point of view what keeps people joining these support groups is probably the fear of people judging you for your addiction and not being able to relate that when you're joining a group that helps people overcome their addiction, nobody is going to judge you in any way or form!
  7. lgdg090596

    lgdg090596 Senior Contributor

    Shy perhaps. I also don't join support groups for that reason.
  8. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I think that we also need to factor in people who are of that "old school" mentality where they don't seek help outside of the house. Older people, from a different generation, deal with things in a few different ways. Sometimes they just don't feel that it's acceptable that they seek out help.
  9. JohnBeaulieu

    JohnBeaulieu Community Champion

    Fear and trust are enormous issues for many people struggling with addiction. There are likely already damaged relationships and that makes it hard to open up, especially with complete strangers. It easy to feel defined by an addiction or health problem and not want to risk being judged for it. You can't do it alone though. You need support to get through it. If you get past the fear you can get better and help others in the process.
  10. pstrong1969

    pstrong1969 Community Champion

    For me i have social phobia. So i would go to meetings. Not say anything, not make any connections to people, and feel so lonely and unconnected it would take me back to using. Also i didnt want to be honest about my life. I didnt want to admit i had problems coping with life. Its really been a great challenge for me and getting and staying clean. But im doing it now. Been clean for 4 months now. Life is good. I hope your friend can get over whatever fear, or issue she has about 12 step meetings. You will find some of the nicest people that have the same problems as you.
  11. Auril

    Auril Active Contributor

    The biggest thing that kept me out of 12 step support groups is the emphasis on a higher power. Even thought they don't say God...it's easy to see that higher power means some Christian version of God. I even went to one where they'd say the Lord's Prayer at the end of each meeting. That drives away atheists and people of other faiths. If I ever go to a recovery group again it will be a non 12 step one.
  12. pstrong1969

    pstrong1969 Community Champion

    Actually please allow me to inform you of your error in judgement concerning AA's attitude towards God. In their literature they speak of a God that is a " God of your understanding" meaning-everyone in the room may have a different conception of God and thats ok. They do not force you to believe anything. You dont even have to believe in "God." if you dont want to. The choice is yours. Also you are not required to say the prayers at the beginning and end of the meeting. Again the choice is yours. I struggled for years with the God thing. Only out of my own ignorance. I had to investigate the topic for myself and develope my own belief system. I did alot of studying while i was in Prison. Plenty of time in there to research such topics. One has to have an open mind with any new treatment, subject, idea.....etc
  13. ajzappola

    ajzappola Member

    Addicts and alcoholics are usually afraid to face their problems. They are certainly hesitant to admit that they need the help of a bunch losers to get over their troubles. This has always been such an issue for people. I was already defeated when I came to my chosen "Support Group". So desperation was a good motivation for me. When your friend is desperate enough to ask for help, they will receive it. But there is not a single thing you you say to make this decision for them easier so do not bother.
  14. daosasoriza

    daosasoriza Member

    I don't really think it's because they're scared. I think it's because they believe it'll be awkward to join support groups. I was once a suicidal person and was taken to a psychologist, and I found it really awkward talking to someone I don't know about my problems and never came back. However, I eventually got over the whole suicidal thing with only the help of my family, which is good.
  15. harold

    harold Community Champion

    Many people are just carried away by their pride and ergo. They fear that people will laugh at them when they find out that they are part of support groups. Other people are afraid that people will think they are weak and can't control themselves. It is usually very difficult to get people to admit that they are addicted to any substance. It is more difficult to get these same people to join support groups. Many people feel like they will be insulted and ridiculed by society. Before anyone can really decide to join a support group, the person really needs to humble his or herself. This situation is a daily challenge for those of us who want to help some friends. Many of them even feel offended when you suggest that they join support groups. I hope people can learn to humble themselves and seek help when necessary.
  16. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Community Champion

    I think there is a deep rooted stigma attached towards joining support groups. Most folks views them as a place were "losers" got to. Of course, this is not the case. The smart decision is to join a support group and start getting your life back on track. However, we live in a world where the media portrays an image of perfection that the average person tries to live up to. We need to get it into our heads that we're all human, we make mistakes and we need to look for help when we mess up.
  17. juno

    juno Community Champion

    I think the problem with a lot of people is that they want to keep it private and they are afraid that their circumstances will be exposed in a support group. They can't really feel secure about the confidentiality rule.

    People are also often afraid of havering to speak in a group or they are afraid of being pointed out. Once you are part of a group it can also feel like you have been labeled.

    Despite all these issues, I belive groups to be helpful and necessary in the recovery process. It is a tremendous support system.
  18. hoverman

    hoverman Active Contributor

    The 12-step program isn't for everyone and that would be why people hesitate. Some people have social phobia as we've discussed and others might just be ignorant to their problems. Ultimately, I think reasons can be as individual as the person, but my thoughts are we should perhaps encourage people to try the different programs - you don't know until you give it a go! Absolute worst case scenario is: you don't like it, don't go back and choose something else. The big issue is making people aware of all the alternative options out there!
  19. moreno58

    moreno58 Active Contributor

    She may not be ready to attend. For some it is harder then others I guess. Maybe if someone would go with her she might be more interested. It is hard to say, I have been trying for years to get my brother to go too, he wants no part of it.
  20. Lizzy19ph

    Lizzy19ph Member

    I believe some people are still in denial that they actually need professional help or join support groups. Some feel embarrassed that others would start gossiping about them once they learn they attend such support groups. I think it should be the own initiative of the patient to decide if he would involved himself in these groups because the more their families or friends force them to, the more they would feel suffocated and a burden. Not all patients could easily embrace their need for help.