Addiction Support Groups
Voluntary addiction support groups are often very useful in providing an outlet for recovering or former addicts who have completed residential or other intensive rehabilitation therapy to continue to deal with the issues that led to their addiction. Participation in these groups, which is often also recommended by counselors and addiction experts as a part of intensive outpatient addiction therapy, often prevents relapses of addiction disorders.
12-Step Drug Abuse Recovery Programs
The most well-known type of addiction support groups are the “Anonymous,” or “12-step” peer-led support groups. As the first term suggests, these groups are confidential, and members or participants refrain from revealing their own participation or the participation of others in group discussion sessions. However, family members, colleagues and friends are welcome at “open meetings” that are conducted by some of these peer support groups. The confidentiality of these groups is important to many participants, as even an addict who has participated in a residential treatment program may not want to disclose any information regarding his or her addiction or treatment thereof to his or her family or colleagues. Just as some individuals who are close to an addict may only have found out that the addict “went on vacation” when he or she was actually being detoxified and treated at a residential facility, so, too, do these same addicts, now in recovery, simply inform their loved ones that they are “going somewhere” as they go off to attend addiction support group meetings.
Not all addiction support groups are based on the 12-step approach. 12-step groups, which began as alcoholism support groups, are now available for recovering substance abusers as well as for those who are overcoming specific behavioral addictions ranging from gambling to overeating. The 12-step groups assume the existence of a supreme being or outside force. While this force is not associated with any particular religious faith, the concept of such a force may not be acceptable to an atheist or humanist who does not accept the existence of any metaphysical controlling force. Therefore, other approaches to peer-led addiction support groups have become available.
If you or your loved one has completed a course of intensive addiction therapy, and now needs a support group to make sure recovery is complete and permanent, please call our 24-hour help line at 1-888-439-3435 Who Answers? or fill out our confidential information request form. We will find the right support group for the type of addiction involved as well as for any specific needs or beliefs that you or your loved one indicates.
Other Addiction Recovery Groups
Other types of voluntary addiction support groups include groups based on national or ethnic origin, as well as groups that have a completely secular and universal bent. On the other hand, there are also addiction support groups with a distinctly religious or spiritual orientation. These groups are meant for recovering addicts who are devout believers in a certain religion, or for those who feel that becoming more involved with a specific religion or spiritual creed will help them deal with their addiction problems.
Secular support groups are often based on the principles of self-reliance, combined with the value of peer discussion of addiction problems and other issues that either cause or result from addiction. The main difference between secular and 12-point programs is that the secular programs make it clear there is no metaphysical being that will help the addict in any way or which can control the addict or his or her addiction in any way.
Regardless of the specific approach taken by a specific group, the message of addiction support groups is that no one recovering from addiction is alone. On the other hand, confidentiality means that no recovering addict needs to fear having his or her condition being made public or disclosed to anyone other than those to whom the group participant wishes to disclose it. In addition, because the groups are voluntary, a participant does not have to feel guilty if he or she cannot make it to a specific meeting or session. There is no expulsion from any voluntary group except in cases where a participant is clearly unwilling to take the necessary steps to avoid the substance or behavior to which he or she is addicted. Therefore, voluntary addiction support groups are very effective in providing support to recovering addicts who have successfully completed intensive therapy and want to make sure they do not relapse.