About Support Groups
When looking at the risk factors for relapse, regular involvement in support groups such as 12-step groups greatly increases the likelihood of continued sobriety. There are many types of recovery groups such Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Heroin Anonymous (HA), Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), Marijuana Anonymous (MA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Pills Anonymous (PA). Meeting locations and times are available online.
12 Step Meetings
Individuals that are involved in a 12-Step program commit to attending regular AA meetings in their local communities. Each meeting begins with introductions which include welcoming new members and sharing stories of personal addiction and recovery journeys. The basic opening introduction of oneself is the following: “Hello, my name is (first name), and I am an alcoholic (heroin addict, meth addict…). My last drink/drug was (length of time).”
The reason for this informal introduction is to keep the meeting intimate. This personal, confidential and informal opening allows those individuals attending to engage with each other in a healthy, supportive manner. Every AA meeting is confidential and keeping the information shared within the group setting is a code for all attendees. Those that are newer to sobriety are encouraged to attend regular meetings and to also get a sponsor that will provide support while helping the newcomer through the 12 steps.
SMART Recovery focuses on a 4-point program that can be applied to many different addictions including alcohol abuse and drug addiction. Group meetings are available in most communities and online support is also available. Message boards allow group members to post questions and read through answers to offer self-support skills. The basic premise of SMART Recovery is that all chemical dependence issues are learned behaviors that can be addressed using four behavioral tools that include enhancing motivation, refusing to act on urges to use, managing life’s problems in a sensible and effective way without substances, and developing a positive, balanced and healthy lifestyle.