Free «Support Group Report» Essay Paper
Support groups are usually made up of people facing a common challenge they believe they can deal with through sharing their challenges and struggles with other people (Longabaugh et al., 1998). Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most popular support groups in the United States. Other support groups include gamblers anonymous and narcotics anonymous that gather members from different areas across the country (Humphreys et al., 2004). These support groups hold regular meetings that only members can attend. Every group has a specific way of holding the meetings. Some groups invite guest speakers while in other cases the members who successfully overcame the problem manage support groups. Alcoholics Anonymous allows visitors to attend some of the meetings, which are identfied as open discussions. Other groups are closed to the general public but open only to the members due to the sensitivity of the issues discussed (Tonigan, Connors, & Miller, 2003). Alcoholics anonymous is built on the principle of people facing a similar problem, acknowledging and overcoming it together.
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I attended Alcoholic Anonymous group meetings during November of 2015. The aim of attending the meeting was to explore the organization of the group. I wanted to witness how members share their stories and how the mediators control the meetings. I arrived at the meeting before the meeting commenced. I found that the majority of the members who arrived were conversing. They converged at the meeting place and occupied their seats when the group leader arrived. I had to introduce myself and state the purpose of my visit. The group leader introduced me to the members and informed them that the purpose of my visit was to explore the structure of group meetings. I received warm welcoming words from everybody that indicated camaraderie that exists in the group. The members welcome a new member and a visitor in a very warm way.
The scond important thing I noted was the seat arrangement. The group did not have many members and arranged seats in a circle. Such a seat arrangement ensured that members were facing each other and nothing limited their view. This strategy ensured that no member could hide at the back and struggle with the issues alone. Moreover, such a strategy helps the group leader address the issue clearly and ensure that all the members participate in the meeting. A group leader was a professional counselor while the deputy was a recovering alcoholic. The first activity of the group was an opening ritual that involved members standing up, holding their hands together, and reciting the serenity prayer. I learnt later that the purpose of the prayer was to acknowledge that the members are facing a huge challenge that they need to overcome it.
The group leader started the meeting by introducing new members. New members were represented by two alcoholics who joined the group. The new members introduced themselves; they were also requested to share their struggles with alcohol. All the participants welcome new members to the group; some of the members share their experience with the new members during the first meeting. The second thing the group leader provided was a report on a few activities the members requested him to review. The members were looking for a way to build the team as a way to improve and strengthen friendship developed as a result of alcohol struggle sharing. The group leader provided them with a comprehensive report and informed about other options that he thought would satisfy the needs of the group members. A few members asked questions while others expressed their views on the topic. By that time, I noted that some members of the group were very vocal while others were barely saying anything. Moreover, I noted that the new members were not saying anything and appeared to be in dire need of help as reflected by their physical appearance and demeanor during the meeting.
The third activity of the group is an open session where members share their experiences. The group leader opened the session by requesting the deputy leader to share her experience about coping with the desires to imbibe alcohol on a regular basis. All the members were paying close attention to the speech of a deputy, as she was passionately narrating about her experiences during the past few days since the last meeting. The deputy revealed the struggles with alcohol she had before joining the group and the sacrifices she needed to make in order to achieve her current state of mind. Moreover, the deputy informed about a few setbacks she suffered from and the lessons learnt from the experiences. Furthermore, the group leader emphasized the need to face the challenge without relenting and to keep the focus regardless of the setbacks. Other members of the group were also requested to share their experiences. A few of them talked about their experiences in the past few days. In fact, I noticed that the majority of those, who talked bravely about struggles, were determined to overcome the problem. Later, the group leader encouraged inactive members to share something about themselves and their recovery progress. Some of the inactive members said their names, stated the fact that they are recovering alcoholics and stopped.
The fourth activity of the group entails the group leader educating the group about a chosen topic. On that day, the group leader was sharing the ways of dealing with the factors contributing to addiction. The leader addressed some of the key factors such as peer pressure, loneliness, idleness among others. Sometimes the members interrupted the presentation to express their views on the topic or to share their experience with the topic. Some members made notes in their exercise books provided by the group while others were only listening attentively. Other members appeared to be absent-minded forcing the group leader to draw their attention to the topic discussed. What is important, I learnt that the topics the members chose addressed the issues affecting the members.
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