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Group Activities for Relapse Prevention

Updated July 20, 2017

Moving from addiction into recovery can be frightening and challenging for anyone. Continuing to make good choices, staying away from temptations and surrounding yourself with a support network are all effective ways to stay in recovery but one of the best ways to stay the course is by attending group therapy. Group therapy gives you a place to interact with and support people that are going through similar life changes and there are many enjoyable, therapeutic group activities you can do to make the process easier and more fulfilling.

Trigger Exercise

Everyone in the group writes down their potential triggers. A trigger is anything that will tempt you into using the drug of your choice. It can be a song, a smell, a location, a certain friend or a number of other things. Once everyone has their list, they go through each one in front of the group and create an affirmation to combat the trigger.

For example, if the trigger is a song, and the person hears the song, the affirmation might be, "I will not allow this song to make me drink. This song has no power over me." Each member will go through their list and the group will suggest affirmations for everyone's triggers.

Group Hike

Exercise increases dopamine in the brain and essentially releases good, happy feelings. Being outdoors in nature does the same. Hiking allows a group to go at its own pace, enjoy calm, natural surroundings and socialise all while getting in cardiovascular and strength training exercise. Hiking is a known mood elevator as is socialising with friends, both of which strengthen one's ability to resist addictive tendencies.

Self-Awareness: Fear in a Hat

All members are given slips of paper onto which they will anonymously write a fear they have relating to their substance abuse. All fears go into a hat. The group leader passes the hat around the circle and each member picks a fear out, reads it aloud, and discusses how the fear may make the person who wrote it feel. This exercise teaches trust and empathy. It also encourages bonding between members which strengthens their support system and keeps them on track in their recovery.

Role-Playing Games

The group leader will assign one member the role of "substance abuser" and one person the role of "non-substance abuser." The second person can play the part of the husband, wife, child, or parent of the substance abuser. They will then enact a scene where the "substance abuser" makes a promise or claim he often made while abusing substances and the "non-substance abuser" will refuse to believe him no matter what he says.

For example, if the "substance abuser" never paid rent on time, he will promise to pay it on time next month no matter what and the "non-substance abuser" will refuse to listen. People in the group will see themselves in the scenario and see how empty the promises are and not want to go back to that life.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Marci Blair has been writing, both creatively and professionally, since 1996. She is the founder and producing artistic director of The Arts Bureau for whom she has written plays, screenplays, and all promotional materials and newsletters. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University with a major in theatre arts and a minor in journalism.