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Support Groups

For decades, people suffering from addiction and their families have turned to support groups for help. Addiction support groups range from 12-step programs to gender-specific groups.

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Support Groups For Addiction Recovery

Support groups for addiction allow people to share their personal experiences. There are groups that can benefit anyone with any type of addiction. Support groups are also helpful for addicted people with co-occurring mental conditions like depression.

Support groups can provide emotional guidance and support for addicted people when cravings strike.

Benefits of addiction support groups include:

  • Meeting new people who also want a sober life
  • Learning skills to conquer cravings
  • Getting support during difficult emotional times
  • Having people to hold you accountable
  • Knowing you’re not alone

There are several prominent support groups for addiction, including Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART. Knowing what to expect from a support group helps when choosing the group for you. The most important thing about choosing a group is making sure it is constructive and encouraging.

Many people have become sober with the help of addiction support groups. However, support groups are only one part of addiction treatment. Coupling support groups with individual therapy and inpatient treatment significantly increases the chances of success.

If you’re ready to get help for your addiction, reach out to a treatment provider today for more information on treatment programs.

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12-Step Support Groups

Support groups based on the 12 steps started with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). As the name implies, these groups maintain the anonymity of those in attendance. This is to encourage people to seek help with the comfort of maintaining their privacy.

The 12 steps are a part of treatment in many inpatient drug and alcohol rehab facilities. The 12 steps are a set of tasks to complete that help people face their addiction head on and maintain sobriety. Following in the footsteps of AA, people like the founder of Narcotics Anonymous began creating 12 step-groups for people with addictions other than alcohol.

Other 12-step groups include:

  • Cocaine Anonymous
  • Heroin Anonymous
  • Pills Anonymous
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous
  • Marijuana Anonymous

All 12-step groups are self-supporting and peer-led. 12-step groups also have meetings that family and friends may attend with their loved one.

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Alternatives To 12-Step Groups

There are many addiction support groups that aren’t based on the 12-step model. Some people choose these alternatives because they don’t want to admit powerlessness to their addiction, the first part of the 12 steps. Some want a more secular support group while others want a more religiously focused group.

There are also countless online message boards and forums for addicted people looking for answers or those in recovery looking for support.

Some non-12-step addiction support groups include:


SMART recovery is a type of support group that focuses on self-empowerment. The acronym means “Self-management and recovery training.” A facilitator, often a licensed counselor, leads each group and guides each person through a four-point program.

SMART bases the four points on motivational enhancement therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. According to SMART, participants can develop the ability to fully overcome their addiction. SMART also has an online community and webcourses.

Secular Organizations For Sobriety (SOS)

SOS, also known as Save Our Selves, also takes a self-empowerment approach to addiction recovery. Although the group is for any addicted person, many choose SOS for its secular approach to reaching sobriety.

SOS support groups guide people to overcome denial and addictive tendencies through honest communication. The founders of SOS maintain that recovery through self-reliance and personal responsibility is possible.

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Women For Sobriety (WFS)

Understanding that men and women face different issues in recovery, WFS became the first addiction support group solely for women. WFS bases its program on 13 “acceptance statements” that help shape the way recovering women approach life. These statements give women strength by teaching them to let go of negative thoughts and accept past mistakes.

WFS holds groups for addicted women to share their struggles and find mutual support. Women can also participate in WFS-moderated online forums and chats.

Celebrate Recovery

People looking for a Christian-based support group can turn to Celebrate Recovery. This group centers all meetings on Christian scripture to find strength during recovery. Celebrate Recovery offers literature with a curriculum to beat addiction. It also adapted a Bible to include the parts of the curriculum.

The recovery model at Celebrate Recovery teaches participants to accept that a higher power is in control. This group also provides support for issues such as depression and low self-esteem.

Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons And Significant Others (JACS)

The mission of JACS is to help Jewish people in the U.S. live an independent, addiction-free life. JACS fosters addiction recovery by integrating participants into the Jewish community. This support group doesn’t allow judgment and is accepting of all variances of the Jewish faith. It also teaches participants to understand addiction and its causes. People can also subscribe to online discussions offered by JACS.

Addiction Support Groups For Families

While addiction is hard on an individual, his or her family is also affected. It can be difficult for loved ones to forgive an addicted person for past wrongs or stay supportive of their recovery. Family support groups treat addiction as a condition that affects the entire family.

Constructive family involvement helps the addicted person heal and mitigates bitterness amongst family members.

Popular family support groups include Families Anonymous and Al-Anon. These groups also teach family members how to encourage an addicted person to seek help or maintain sobriety.

Family support groups teach loved ones how to avoid:

  • Enabling an addicted person.
  • Blaming the individual for use.
  • Denying what led to drug use.
  • Holding grudges.
  • Withholding issues and not talking.

It is beneficial to the recovering addict’s success when family members understand what their loved one is dealing with. Knowing that addiction can affect anyone and seeking help can heal the family as a whole.

Get Help Finding A Support Group

If you’ve been considering getting help for drug or alcohol use, a support group can help put you on the path to recovery.

Some people are hesitant to join a group. They may feel they don’t have a problem or that it won’t compare to the addictions of others in the group. Hitting “rock-bottom” is not a prerequisite for getting help.

There are support groups across the country that can help. Contact a treatment provider for help locating a group or a treatment program.