Your first TOUGHLOVE® Support Group meeting is always the hardest. Most people are amazed and relieved to find that the group is composed of people just like themselves who have been, or are going through the same thing they are. The comforting feeling of not being alone is the most common response after the first meeting. No one “telling you what to do” is a welcome relief. The group understands the emotion you are experiencing, especially that this is a big commitment on your part to be here.
You will notice that when the meeting starts, everyone gets into small groups of about 5 to 8 people. You will be introduced to the Orientation Leader and meet separately with other newcomers in your own small group for a thorough orientation. This will let you know what the TOUGHLOVE® Program is like and will give you a chance to talk about what has brought you to our program.
Later during the meeting, when the whole group meets together, you and other newcomers will join them and be introduced. You will probably be given some phone numbers to call during the week and, if you wish, some people will be given your phone number to see how you are doing. This will give you some idea of the support that is so important in helping you regain control of your family.
This meeting with the whole group will also review members’ success stories (large or small), they may have a guest speaker, conduct a role play or discuss a topic of general relevance. You will be asked to fill in a Crisis Assessment form and bring it back with you the following week.
The second meeting will have you deciding what goal you want to reach with your family. The Orientation Leader will help you with this, but you must set your own goal. Most people find, after they have completed their Crisis Assessment, that the goal is fairly clear. You will then be introduced to the small group leader and the other members of the small group that will now be your working group.
WHAT ELSE TO EXPECT
We wish we could tell you that your problems are now over. From our experience, you will need to give your TOUGHLOVE® group at least six weeks before you start seeing changes.
The TOUGHLOVE® Program has helped tens of thousands of families. We welcome your participation, we welcome your support and, together, we can be successful in reclaiming control of our lives and our homes.