Support Groups

For those of us who have never been a resident at a drug or alcohol rehabilitation center, it may seem like a mystery. The basics of the programs are rather well known. The body must be detoxified and various therapy (group and single) sessions exist to help addicts deal with their issues. Some treatment centers offer holistic treatment options, others have strict rules and organization. But not everybody is able to attend a drug rehabilitation center (either financially or because of their social responsibilities). For people like that, there are many other options for support.

In this article, we are going to look at the basics of support groups in drug rehab centers.

What is Covered in Addiction Support Groups 

While there is no official set of topics that is used in support groups, there are some general areas that they cover. One of the primary points of a support group is the emphasis of self-empowerment and self-reliance. Support groups are not filled with people who are serving one addict, they are groups of peers who are working with each other to help each other deal with their addictions. This can be by maintaining the motivation to stay sober, coping with urges, solving problems (thoughts, feelings, behaviors) and positive thinking. Some support groups follow the 12-step method. Those steps include a process of admitting your addiction, reviewing mistakes you have made in the past, making amends, learning how to live a drug-free life and lastly, helping other drug addicts. All these things that various support groups cover are a lot for one man to handle on his own. That is why having a group of people there for you is beneficial.[1]

Common Support Groups for Substance Abuse

Perhaps the most well-known support group is Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The NA uses the 12-step program to help its members achieve sobriety. Another common support group is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). However, there are some people who are uncomfortable with the spiritual nature of AA, and choose to be in a different environment. The Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is an international organization that takes a scientific, self-empowerment approach to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. SMART Recover (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is another example of a program that places a high value on self-empowered change.1 There are also support groups for people who have loved ones that are addicts. Learning to Cope is a support group for “parents and family members dealing with a loved one who is addicted to heroin, Oxy Contin and other drugs.”[2]

Why Be Part of a Support Group

If you’re trying to achieve sobriety, peer support groups can be helpful for providing support and encouragement. Not everybody has the means to check themselves in to an expensive rehabilitation center and recover with medical professionals all around. Some addicts may not even be fortunate enough to have a family there to support them through the difficult process of recovery. However, the groups are helpful with not only maintaining the sobriety, but also as a safe place to discuss your challenges and get support from others. By talking with others who understand your experiences, you can feel more comforted and less fearful of the future. Often, these conversations can provide motivation and hope. It is much easier to stay positive when you have others to turn to who genuinely understand your struggles. Whether it be good or bad times, if you a part of a support group, you will always have somebody to talk to about it.


[1] Helpguide.org: Self-Help Drug Support Groups http://bit.ly/123oRqi

[2] Learn2cope.org: There is hope…you are not alone http://bit.ly/eegyLY