The Purpose of Support Groups
Rehab is the best place to start your path in overcoming an addiction. Attending rehab will give you all the tools necessary to professionally detox and heal. Each loving staff member cares for their patients individually in order to help them discover the underlying causes of their addiction and find their own reasons for moving on from their past. It is recommended anyone suffering from addiction attend rehab to heal; however, just because they have graduated from their rehab program doesn’t mean temptation will end in the real world. There is still temptation surrounding each person, especially if they go back to their lifestyle from before and still associate with the people that have contributed to their addiction in the past. That is where support groups come into play.
Support groups are groups of people who come together on a regular basis, usually at meetings or gatherings, to provide each other with support over a shared experience or trauma. Support groups are designed for those who need extra help after rehab to stick to their goals and maintain their sobriety with the help of people who are in the same position as they are. These meetings are supplemental to their treatment and are very successful when attended routinely.
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12-Step Groups: What Are They?
Groups like the popular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) are joined by people in all stages of life that struggle with the same issues.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the original 12-Step Group and is the basis upon which all other 12-Step Groups are based. AA is the world’s largest substance abuse. The group is free to attend and is always looking for new people to join and support other members. Normally, advice is not given within the group. Rather, it is a place to share experiences, hardship, what has and hasn’t worked to achieve sobriety from alcohol. As a place to open up and share your background, many people can learn from it and take other people’s experiences into their own lives. One person opens and closes the meeting as well as guides the direction of the conversation. You are not required to talk, open up, or even stay. Volunteering to come, leave, and share is entirely up to you.
Al-Anon was developed in response to the 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, except this group isn’t for alcoholics, it’s for their families. Al-Anon is for family members and friends who have been affected by someone else’s drinking problem. As a safe place for those who have and are still witnessing their loved one’s struggle, it provides help and encouragement to get through the tough process of being on the sidelines of the problem. Just witnessing a drinking problem takes a toll on loved ones, and they need somewhere to turn to let their frustrations out as well and get insight on how to deal with the issue. That is exactly what this group is for.
Just like Al-Anon, Alateen is a place for those who are affected by someone else’s drinking problems, except this one is just for teens. Being a kid and making your way into your teenage years is an extremely stressful time in anyone’s life. Dealing with an alcoholic parent or family member can make a young child feel lost, with no one to turn to. This program allows that child to make friends with those who are facing the same situations. It provides the tools needed to grow stronger and gaining wisdom they can use as they get older.
Narcotics Anonymous is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous in the safe zone they share with the rest of their members. The difference is the type of members who join. While Alcoholics Anonymous is for recovering alcoholics, Narcotics Anonymous is for anyone looking to achieve sobriety from their previous narcotic addiction. There is only one requirement: the desire to stop using drugs. Each member is there solely for support. Meetings are held weekly and are free.
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Other Support Groups
SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training and promotes independence from any addictive behavior. SMART Recovery groups encourage each member to talk to each other and help support their goals in achieving sobriety. It is similar to the 12-Step programs, but it differs in the way the communication flows. It is not based on a spiritual foundation, but rather a more evidential and proven way to maintain freedom from substance abuse. It is not sponsored but obtains funding from donations and grants.
Women for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety or WFS, is a group dedicated to supporting women who are struggling with a substance abuse addiction. Although it is a widely known organization, it accepts donations to fund its program and dream of meeting each women’s needs. Their program consists of 13 acceptance statements that help women identify their underlying problems in order to find themselves once again. The program, which comes with a booklet, is recommended to practice every day in order to bring positivity and renewal in each woman’s life.
Celebrate Recovery is comprised of 14 groups for Christians who are undergoing recovery for a wide range of substance abuse. They started in churches and are now growing into other venues such as recovery houses, rescue missions, universities, and even prisons. Celebrate Recovery aims to spread its faith and good nature to any Christian looking for a helping hand from God. Similar to the other 12-Step groups in its makeup, it aims to heal each member from their past with unconditional love and support.
Jewish Alcoholics Chemically Dependent Persons and Significant Others (JACS)
JACS is a program for Jewish people struggling with addiction and their families. Rather than separating the two in segregated groups, JACS ensures those suffering from addiction can grow and heal with their family members by going through the process together. Support is not the only thing JACS provides to its members. Teaching about alcohol and chemically dependency is only the beginning. They also provide recovery services and counseling within the Jewish community.
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Support groups are always encouraged for graduates of rehab centers for continuing support in achieving sobriety for the long term. However, any addict should start in a rehab center, so they can get the medical help they need (such as proper detox) to start their pathway into this new era of their lives. Going to support groups can help, but it is always recommended to get clean first professionally at a rehab center before attempting to achieve sobriety on your own. Looking for a rehab center to start your path to freedom? Contact an addiction specialist today.
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