There is a big difference between ATTENDING a support group and PARTICIPATING in a support group. Participants are much less likely to relapse because participants can’t say, “to hell with those meetings” for longer than a few nights before he starts to get phone calls. “You okay? We haven’t seen you in awhile.” No one really notices the attendant, on the contrary, because she hasn’t invested herself into the group.
A real life example! Ever since I had a running injury, I have been swimming a few times a week. A group of very fast, we’re-going-to-swim-the-Chesapeake-Bay swimmers practice at 6 am, and I was a tad intimidated to join in their fun. Plus getting into cold water first thing in the morning wasn’t all that appealing. So at first I was an attendant. When I didn’t show up, no one really noticed. I was a fringe member. However, recently I have transitioned into a participant. I make a concerted effort to get to know them, show up at the parties (from here on out, at least), and this week I am even calling my first work out (equivalent to chairing a twelve-step support group).
Predict times of weakness»