Support groups for veterans offer a structured and supportive healing environment. Connecting with peers, supporting one another, and learning together about a multitude of aspects of addiction recovery benefit veterans who have struggled with substance abuse. While individual therapy sessions also provide important support for veterans, the group experience is often an essential dynamic of the recovery process. 

At WhiteSands, we offer support groups for veterans who are recovering from substance use disorders like alcohol addiction, prescription drug addiction, or illicit drug addiction. We feature a full continuum of care for clients that includes inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medical detox, aftercare, and sober living. As more than a third of people who have a substance addiction also have a mental health disorder, we also specialize in dual diagnosis treatment. 

Veterans face unique challenges associated with their service. From the trauma of combat to the isolation of being far from family and friends for extended periods of time, veterans are at risk for developing emotional disturbances. To quell negative emotions like loneliness, fear, or sadness, some veterans may turn to drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, this form of ‘self-medication’ can pave a path to substance addiction. At WhiteSands, we have the experience and expertise needed to help veterans manage their addiction for the long term. We combine evidence-based therapies and holistic treatments to ensure that each client gets the complete support they need to achieve their recovery goals. 

The Unique Challenges Faced by Veterans with Addiction

Veterans face many challenges that are unique to their line of service. Not only is it profoundly difficult to remain far from family and friends, it’s immensely difficult to face threats to their own personal safety. When returning home to visit or upon leaving service, veterans can find it hard to transition from their military way of life to the life of a civilian. Substance addiction often intensifies these challenges. 

Many veterans are also embarrassed about their substance use disorder. They understand that their job has required them to be tenacious, and tough, and to provide service to the country based on honor, so they often feel regretful about their substance dependency. At WhiteSands, we help veterans become aware of the substance abuse problem that occurs among their demographic. In short, veterans are not alone. Many of them have developed substance abuse disorders. Another challenge for vets is a lack of awareness and education about their disorder or the risk factors they face. Our clinicians help them understand why and how their dependency developed–and how to manage it successfully going forward. 

Veterans also face the challenge of physical pain. Some veterans develop substance abuse problems after incurring an injury that requires the use of pain medication like opioids. The physical aspects of military service can be challenging in the long term. Long-term opioid use increases the risk of developing an opioid addiction. 

Some veterans also feel that their military culture promotes self-reliance, making them feel apprehensive about seeking medical support. The stigma associated with mental health and addiction also makes seeking treatment challenging for many veterans. At WhiteSands, we feature a safe and supportive environment where veterans’ privacy is respected. By overcoming negative feelings or other barriers to support, veterans can get the help they need to manage their addiction effectively and transform their lives and health for the better. 

Supporting Veterans in Their Recovery Journey

veterans support groups

WhiteSands supports veterans and their unique needs. We are known for our willingness and ability to customize treatment for each client. Military veterans can get help that’s personalized for their individual needs but that also takes their service and service-related challenges into close consideration. Our clinicians work closely with veterans to fulfill their unique care needs. No matter what part of the recovery journey you’re in, you can count on WhiteSands to be there where you need us. 

The recovery process often begins with medical detox. Detox is the process by which the body overcomes its physical dependence on the substance in question. This is not a cure, however. Medical detox and no other particular treatment is known to cure addiction. However, detox is an essential step in recovery. Once this part of the process is complete, clients can progress to treatments that target their psychological and behavioral health. 

The recovery process often takes months as veterans learn and practice strategies for staying drug and alcohol-free. Our treatment programs generally last 30, 60, and 90 days. Many individuals rely on us for sober living opportunities as well as aftercare support. After completing a treatment program, many veterans continue to attend aftercare like veterans’ support groups. 

Combat Trauma and Its Connection to Addiction

Combat can lead to intense emotional trauma. Trauma is also linked to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. A person can develop this disorder as a result of witnessing or experiencing psychological or physical trauma. Although it’s important to obtain mental health treatment to get help to cope with the effects of trauma, many veterans do not seek out treatment and, instead, may self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, which paves the way to addiction. 

When a person uses drugs or alcohol to cope with trauma, they become increasingly vulnerable to the development of a substance use disorder. There are medications today that can treat the effects of trauma without causing addiction. However, unless someone is willing to meet with a mental healthcare provider in order to obtain the ideal treatments for their condition, they might continue to self-medicate, which is likely to lead to substance abuse and addiction. Veterans who have experienced trauma should have an evaluation to ensure they don’t need support for their condition. 

Support Groups for Those Close to Veterans

Veterans aren’t the only ones who benefit from mental and behavioral health support. The families of veterans can also benefit from support groups. WhiteSands offers support for military spouses and families who are struggling to support their loved ones. When a loved one has an addiction, numerous challenges may occur. At WhiteSands, we help families identify problems and find strategies for coping with them in healthy ways. They will learn how to provide helpful support for their loved ones. They’ll also learn how to communicate better and take care of their own healthcare needs. 

Participating in a veterans support group at WhiteSands is a key strategy for addiction management. Clients can manage their substance use disorder better as a result of their support group participation. Rebuilding one’s life after military service and during recovery can be challenging. Support groups like those at WhiteSands give clients multiple opportunities to cope with their stressors and ward off relapse. 

WhiteSands Treatment’s Continuous Dedication to Veterans’ Wellbeing 

If you are struggling with an addiction and are a veteran, you can rely on WhiteSands for our complete lineup of therapeutic options. We can help you improve your well-being and reduce the threats drugs and alcohol pose on life. We help veterans face their unique challenges with our best practices, traditional addiction treatments, and holistic therapies. Our rehab center is safe and private. We offer empathetic care and provide the individualized support that clients need to change their lives for the better. Call WhiteSands to learn more about our enrollment process. 

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.