12 Group Activities For Addiction Recovery
When recovering from drug addiction (also called substance use disorder), many people feel alone. That’s why most addiction treatment centers offer support groups and group therapy.
These groups use a variety of activities to help people recover together. Here are twelve.
Many support group meetings and group therapy sessions start with check-ins. During a check-in, each group member shares how they are feeling. They can also discuss any recent challenges or successes related to their recovery journey.
Regular check-ins help group members connect with each other. In addition, they help new members view the group as an open, supportive environment.
2. Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness is the practice of observing the present moment without judgment. It can boost your sense of well-being and help you cope with drug cravings and other recovery-related challenges.
Many recovery groups promote mindfulness through group meditations.
During a mindfulness meditation, group members focus on their breathing and treat their thoughts like passing clouds. In other words, they acknowledge the thoughts without judgment and then gently return their attention to their breathing.
3. Discussing Triggers
Triggers are people, places, feelings, or other things that make you want to abuse drugs. They are a common cause of relapse.
In a substance abuse group, members can discuss their triggers along with coping skills they have found useful. The more you learn about triggers and how to manage them, the easier it is to maintain your recovery.
4. Affirmation Collage
Affirmations are positive statements that highlight your self-worth and ability to recover. Popular examples include “I am stronger than my addiction,” “I am good enough,” and “I am creating the life I want for myself.”
Many recovery groups make affirmation collages by writing down positive statements, cutting them into strips, and gluing the strips onto poster boards. These collages can serve as sources of daily inspiration.
5. Question Ball
To encourage helpful discussions, some recovery groups toss around question balls.
A question ball is a beach ball covered with recovery-related questions, such as “What coping strategies do you find most helpful?” and “What has been your proudest moment so far in your recovery?”
When a group member catches the ball, they answer the question closest to their right thumb.
6. Music Therapy
During the recovery process, many people find comfort in music.
Recovery groups can highlight the healing quality of music in various ways. For example, group members can take turns playing an instrument (such as a Tibetan singing bowl), share meaningful songs about recovery, or even try writing a song together.
Like music, pleasant scents can help you feel calm and relaxed. They can also help ground you in the present moment.
That’s why some recovery groups encourage members to bring candles, essential oils, and other aromatic materials. Group members can then discuss their favorite scents and the feelings they provide.
8. Gratitude Lists
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), taking time to express gratitude can boost your emotional wellness and help with stress management.
Many recovery groups encourage gratitude by having members write gratitude lists. These lists can include anything you feel grateful for, from your sobriety to your loved ones to your favorite foods.
9. Feelings Charades
Throughout your recovery, it’s important to be open about your feelings. Some recovery groups promote emotional openness by playing feelings charades.
To play this game, one group member must demonstrate a feeling using only body language and facial expressions. The other members then try to guess the feeling being expressed.
This exercise demonstrates the importance of sharing your feelings so you don’t confuse your loved ones.
10. Sharing Fears
Many people in recovery have the same fears. However, they often hide them.
That’s why some recovery groups have members anonymously write down their fears and place them in a bowl or bag. The group leader then reads each fear, allowing members to identify shared fears and feel less alone.
Recovery brings some challenging situations. For example, you may have to apologize to loved ones you have hurt, establish clear boundaries in your relationships, and cut ties with people who still use drugs.
You can prepare for these situations by roleplaying as a group therapy activity. Group members will act out the events while discussing how to handle conflicts and achieve the healthiest outcome.
12. Discussing Self-Care
Self-care is essential to long-term recovery. In a recovery group, members can take turns listing important self-care habits, such as:
- getting enough sleep
- eating healthy foods
- drinking plenty of water
- getting regular physical activity
- limiting time on social media
- building a strong support system
The group can then discuss which habits have helped them the most and which habits they still need to adopt.
To learn more about addiction recovery, please reach out to a Recovering Champions specialist. Our substance abuse treatment programs offer mental health counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and other evidence-based services to help you or your loved one stay sober.
Recovering Champions Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.