We have a huge army of recovering people who need more than 12 step groups. The 12 steps have to be the foundation for a lasting recovery. Through groups, books, forum groups, online study, anyone can locate and catalog a vast array of help in working the 12 steps.
But how does a recovering person get help with understanding self? Treatment centers, if someone is fortunate enough to go to one, help with the beginning of self-exploration. They use the main tool for self-discovery—feedback from others. Crosstalk is not only allowed in therapy groups but is encouraged.
Teaching recovering people how to manage and develop small groups can be the needed bridge that is not available in 12 step groups where crosstalk is discouraged. Oftentimes these are called peer groups. In 1986, when I had been 10 years sober, and living in Winter Park, Florida, these groups were called grow groups. I found them very helpful.
So, a few years ago, I started a blog about peer groups, How to Start and Grow a Recovery Peer Group Sharing Experience, Strength, and Hope.
Peer groups can be a natural outgrowth for addiction recovery centers. The treatment centers have to be ever vigilant that they not see the groups as being owned by the center. Instead the power of the group has to come from within the group. Oftentimes, centers can donate meeting space with some basic housekeeping rules. But each group has to be autonomous in the same spirit as 12 step groups.
As a springboard for group self-discovery, I wrote a test 20 years ago that will teach anyone 10 of his/her personality labels. I called the test the Changemaker Test because I believe we are each the changemaker in our own life. This test is on another of my blogs, Learning Your Labels.