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Recovery – What does a Group Session with Sole Survivor look like?

Never been to a group session, a bit nervous? I’ve recreated one of ours for you to interact within your own time 🙂


Hello, thanks for attending. My name is Matt. I’m an intervention worker for Sole Survivor and I’ll be working with you for the next few weeks running the group sessions on recovery, anxiety awareness, and other topics

As a survivor of PTSD I’ve been through the therapy pathway, I have inattentive ADHD which I manage successfully, and I’m in recovery myself for substance use, mainly alcohol; I haven’t had a drink now for around three years, and it’s something I work on a daily basis.

I am in fact an example of what recovery is about and have lived experience of dealing with triggers, cravings, and other psychological effects of addiction, some that may seem obvious, and others not so. 

We’ll open up the session towards the end for questions about my recovery should you want to learn more and I will touch on things in this session that have helped me along the way and will hopefully help you too.

Now, before we start just some housekeeping rules; If we could all either turn our mobile phones off or switch them to silent, that would allow us to get as much out of the session without any distractions. 

The sessions are going to contain plenty of opportunities for discussion. If we could respect the other people if and when they are sharing personal information about themselves.

I’d ask you to respect other person confidentiality if they do disclose any past life events, as I’m sure you would want people to show you that respect also. What gets spoken about in the room, stays in the room.

We’re going to be doing some interactive work this morning as I’ve just said, and we’ll have a short break in 15 minutes to break the session up.

So, what is recovery? Before I answer that if I could ask you Reader, what your definition of recovery is? Ok, that’s good, and if I could ask you, Reader, what experiences of recovery do you have?


Recovery means different things to different people. A good definition of recovery is “Recovery may be the best word to summarize all the positive benefits to physical, mental, and social health that can happen when alcohol and other drug-dependent individuals get the help they need,”

The common theme is that it is about admitting there is a problem, facing that problem, taking responsibility, owning it, and then putting in the work to come through it, thus moving yourself on to creating a better life, a new reality, where you will have usually four areas to maintain and work on;

Which are homelife; building a safe and comfortable environment for yourself, partner, and family if that applies. Where you’re maintaining a mortgage or tenancy and you’re paying bills on time, you’re being a good neighbour, respecting the people who live around you and ultimately creating security for yourself. As a former Complex Needs Housing Officer, please come to me if you are having any issues with housing and I’ll signpost you to the correct agencies. –

QUESTION: How are things with your accommodation currently?

Your health, where you are putting that first, which means eating properly, taking exercise, even it’s gentle, following a routine in the evening to maintain a good sleep pattern; this also takes into account your mental and emotional health, so that’s your mind and your feelings, your emotions. It means taking responsibility for the choices your making, how your solving problems and the people you are associating with and the time you are putting into yourself, so this course today and the work you are putting in with your other key workers would count towards that.

QUESTION – are there any small improvements you could start to make?

A purpose in life – part of recovery, as you get better and start to gain confidence and meet this new version of you is understanding what purpose you have in society, it doesn’t need to be anything groundbreaking, it could simply be getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home, going to the gym, or whatever other hobby you may develop and maintain your health, family and home life. For me I discovered that my purpose was to help people as a mentor, counsellor and coach, your purpose can be anything you want, you are a blank canvas to paint a version of your life on.

QUESTION – What would life look like away from substances?

I personally adopted my own way of looking at it, I worked out I had four pillars, these pillars supported a platform, if I kept these four pillars up, I would keep the platform from falling, these were 1) my job 2) my home life and relationship 3) my physical health 4) my mental health.

Question – What does your support network look like?

What support systems do you have in your life, how many pillars do you have?

What else can you do to be open to receiving support?

The fourth is the community, this doesn’t necessarily mean the community you live in, but your community of friends, family and other people who make up your support network. It may be that you don’t really have one if that’s the case, then there are plenty of opportunities to find your tribe through sports, gym, volunteering for local charities or attending community groups. With the focus fully on reducing isolation, there has never been a better time to reinvent yourself.

One of the hardest things for me was relocating because I wanted to get away from negative friends and influences, and it took time, but I knew that I was a good person and there other good people out there who didn’t focus their lives solely on drinking or spending the weekend locked in a flat sniffing coke. 

It’s all about decision making, creating positive distractions, and building that framework of activities around you that will help you deal with cravings, triggers and the pull of substances. Make no mistake, it’s not easy, but if I can do it, so can you.

So Reader, after hearing that, is there anything that you find worrying, or are uncomfortable with about recovery?

Has your perception or idea of recovery changed?

And would you like to know anything about how I manage cravings, triggers and maintain my recovery?

Ok, that’s great, thank you for your efforts this session, and I hope you have more of an idea of what recovery is about. We’ll have a ten-minute break and start on the next subject which is managing stress and anxiety.