Support groups are an important part of addiction recovery, but they are not the only option. A book club can provide a unique and valuable alternative to traditional support groups. Reading can offer numerous benefits for individuals in recovery, and discussing books with others can foster personal growth and social connection.

If you are looking for a new way to connect with others and continue your recovery journey, consider joining a book club!

three women sitting outside on a picnic bench reading books.

[Photo Credit: Alexis Brown]

The Importance of Support Groups After Rehab

One of the most challenging parts of recovery is learning how to remain sober after inpatient rehab ends. Relapse in recovery is a scary concept to think about, but it is a very real, and very common, issue for many people.

It is for this reason, alcohol and drug rehab centers like St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP), place such great emphasis on relapse prevention therapy and learning relapse prevention strategies.

A key element to preventing relapse is having a strong support system in place. Joining a support group can provide an excellent opportunity to connect with others who understand what you’re going through and offer encouragement and advice. These groups can be especially helpful during the early stages of recovery when it’s common to feel overwhelmed and isolated.

Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, have been helping people recover from addiction for decades. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences, learn from others, and receive encouragement and motivation to stay sober.

However, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of sharing their personal experiences in a group setting, or they may be looking for an alternative to traditional support groups. This is where a book club can come in as a viable option.


What’s a Book Club?

A book club is a social group that meets regularly to discuss a book they have all agreed to read. It’s a great way to engage in intellectual conversation, share insights, and learn from others. But what does reading have to do with addiction recovery?

a tall stack of books sitting on a table, outside..

[Photo Credit: Alexander Grey]

The Power of Reading for Pleasure and Personal Growth

Reading for pleasure has many benefits, including reducing stress, improving mental health, and increasing empathy and understanding of others. Reading can also be a form of self-care, which is important for individuals in recovery who need to prioritize their mental and emotional well-being.

In addition, reading books about addiction and recovery can be an effective way to learn more about the disease and gain inspiration and motivation from others who have overcome similar struggles. By sharing their thoughts and feelings about the book, book club members can develop a deeper understanding of addiction and recovery, and offer support and encouragement to each other.

Reading can be a powerful tool for personal growth and development. Whether you’re trying to learn a new skill or gain a deeper understanding of yourself and others, books can provide valuable insights and guidance. Reading can also help improve critical thinking skills and promote empathy and emotional intelligence.

Famous screenwriter Nora Ephron once said, “Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.”

Reading books, articles, or poetry gives people the chance to fully immerse their minds in a new place and escape the confines and stresses of reality. But reading and discussing with a group can bridge communication gaps, cultivate community, and foster supportive, long-lasting friendships.


The Benefits of a Book Club as a Support Group

Adding a book club to your social circle may help you in ways you never thought possible. There are many benefits of participating in book clubs in lieu of, or in addition to, traditional support groups. Participating in a book club can produce benefits that may include:

  • Reduces stress
  • Promotes self-motivation, goal-setting, and commitment skills
  • Facilitates teamwork and communication skills
  • Encourages building and gaining new perspectives
  • Provides opportunities to learn new lessons from both books and peers
  • Fosters new friendships
  • Creates a supportive and consistent community
close up view of a group of people sitting in a circle holding books and writing notes.

[Photo Credit: Helena Lopes]

While traditional support groups are certainly beneficial, a book club can provide a unique and interesting alternative. Not only does reading for pleasure have numerous benefits, such as reducing stress and increasing empathy, but discussing literature with a group can also help you develop new insights and perspectives. Plus, book clubs offer the chance to socialize and form meaningful connections with others who share similar interests.

Book clubs can provide a sense of community and social support that is essential for recovery. Being part of a group that shares a common interest can help individuals in recovery feel less isolated and more connected to others. Book club members can build strong relationships and develop a support system that extends beyond the group meetings.


Overcoming Challenges and Building Connections in a Book Club Support Group

In a book club support group, members may face various challenges when it comes to overcoming addiction and building connections with others. However, the shared experience of reading and discussing books can help individuals feel less alone and more understood.

By discussing the themes and characters in literature, members can gain new perspectives on their own struggles and learn from the experiences of others.

Additionally, the social aspect of a book club support group can provide a safe and supportive space for members to form meaningful connections and friendships with others who are also in recovery.

Through open and honest communication, individuals can build trust and understanding, and work together to overcome challenges and stay on the path of recovery.


Finding the Right Book Club for You

If you’re interested in joining a book club, it’s essential to find the right one for you. Consider factors such as the types of books the club reads, the frequency of meetings, and the size of the group.

You may also want to think about the group’s dynamics and whether it aligns with your personality and goals. Don’t be afraid to try out a few different book clubs before finding the right fit.

man sitting on a couch holding an open book and leaning over towards a second individual who is also holding an open book, pointing to a passage.

[Photo Credit: Cottonbro Studio]

How to Choose Books That Will Benefit Your Recovery

Reading books can be a powerful tool for personal growth and recovery after rehab. Here are some tips for choosing books that will benefit your recovery:

  1. Look for books that align with your personal interests and goals. Whether you enjoy memoirs, self-help books, or novels, there are plenty of options that can provide inspiration and motivation for your recovery journey.
  2. Consider books that address addiction and recovery directly. There are many great books written by experts and individuals who have overcome addiction that can provide valuable insight and perspective.
  3. Seek out books that promote mindfulness, self-care, and healthy habits. Reading books that focus on stress management, positive thinking, and self-improvement can help you develop new coping skills and build resilience.
  4. Check out reviews and recommendations from trusted sources, such as recovery experts, therapists, or fellow book club members. This can help you discover new books and authors that you may not have otherwise found.

Choosing books that align with your personal interests and goals can help you continue your recovery journey and find inspiration and motivation along the way.


Tips for Starting Your Own Book Club After Rehab

You may not find a local book club that works with your schedule or is in tune with your goals. But starting your own book club can provide a fun and meaningful way to continue your recovery journey while building connections with others who share similar interests.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Reach out to others who may be interested in joining your book club, such as fellow rehab alumni, support group members, or friends who are also in recovery.
  2. Choose a meeting time and location that works for everyone. You can meet in person or virtually, depending on your group’s preferences.
  3. Decide on a book selection process that is inclusive and respectful of everyone’s opinions. Consider rotating who selects the book or having the group vote on selections.
  4. Set expectations for discussion and participation, and establish a safe and supportive environment where everyone can share their thoughts and feelings.
hand holding a well-worn journal titled "shared stories"

[Photo Credit: Mark Neal]

Finding Support at SJRP

Here at St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP), we believe in the power of holistic healing – incorporating the mind, body, and soul into one comprehensive and multi-faceted program.

We encourage our clients to immerse themselves in a variety of the recovery therapies we offer, including relapse prevention therapy, and stress the importance and value of staying active in our Alumni Program.

Our staff is here to support you before, during, and even after recovery treatment ends. Let us help you learn to live a sober life again.

Call us today at 1-833-397-3422 to learn more about how SJRP can help you heal and live the life you want and deserve. Your recovery IS possible!