There are several reasons why someone might be hesitant to attend a grief and loss support group specifically focused on substance use. These reasons can vary from person to person, but here are some common concerns that may contribute to their hesitancy:
Stigma and shame
Individuals may feel embarrassed or ashamed about the circumstances surrounding the loss from substance use. They may worry about being judged or misunderstood by others in the support group who haven’t experienced a similar situation.
Fear of vulnerability
Opening up about the loss and sharing personal experiences can make individuals feel vulnerable. They may be apprehensive about discussing their emotions and the impact of the loss in a group setting, especially if they are not accustomed to sharing their feelings with others.
Concerns about reliving the trauma
Attending a grief and loss support group may bring back painful memories and emotions related to substance use and loss. Individuals may worry that participating in group discussions could intensify their grief or trigger emotional distress.
Fear of being overwhelmed
Facing grief in a group setting can be emotionally challenging. Some individuals may be hesitant to attend a support group because they fear being overwhelmed by the emotions of others or by their own emotions that may surface during the sessions.
Lack of trust
Trust is an important factor in seeking support. Individuals who have experienced betrayal or loss of trust due to substance use may be hesitant to trust others in a group setting, even if they are all dealing with similar losses.
Uncertainty about the group dynamics
Individuals may be unsure about what to expect from a grief and loss support group. They may have concerns about the group’s structure, the facilitator’s ability to manage discussions effectively, or whether they will feel comfortable and accepted in the group.
Resistance to seeking help
Some individuals may struggle with asking for help or acknowledging their need for support. They may perceive attending a support group as a sign of weakness or a reminder of their inability to handle the grief on their own.
It’s important to address these concerns and provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment for individuals who may be hesitant to attend a grief and loss support group. Offering clear information about the group’s purpose, structure, and confidentiality can help alleviate some of these concerns. It may also be helpful to provide one-on-one support options or therapy sessions as an alternative for those who are initially resistant to joining a group setting.
Seeking support from trusted friends, family, support groups, or grief counselors can be beneficial during this challenging time. WakeUp Carolina has a new substance use disorder grief support group, “ Living With Loss,” on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm with trauma counselor Abby Foster, LISW-CP, MAC, for people grieving from losing a loved one to addiction, substance use, or a substance-related death.