Most folks are familiar with the broad strokes of recovery and treatment. The detox, inpatient care and outpatient care. What about after that though?

What happens once you’ve finished your stay at an inpatient facility or completed the outpatient program? Do you just go right back to your day to day and hope for the best?

That’s one way to go but it’s not one that necessarily sets you up for the best chance at making your recovery a lasting one, which is where support groups come in.

Having a place to go where you’re in the company of people who genuinely understand what you’ve gone through and can lend support in ways that those who haven’t might not be able to muster. The benefits are vast, running the gamut from being a place where you can create friendships with other sober-minded people to having another layer of accountability which is always nice.

Stick with a support group long enough and you may even find yourself guiding and mentoring newly sober people. This benefits your own recovery tremendously and also lets you look back at just how far you’ve come.

Here are the 4 big substance abuse support groups to know:

Alcoholics Anonymous

Certainly the most well known of all the support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous has been around since way back in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. To put it in the simplest terms we can go straight to the source, it’s “an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.”

AA is also the group that started the now-iconic 12 step programs and “The Big Book” is listed on Time Magazine’s 100 best and most influential non-fiction books list.

The one caveat with this program is that the 12 steps stress the importance of religion and God which can be a turn-off for some. Don’t’ fret though, keep reading for more options!

Narcotics Anonymous

Off the heels of the success Alcoholics Anonymous had with helping alcoholics, Narcotics Anonymous followed along and created 12 steps programs dedicated to drug abuse rather than alcohol.

It’s worth noting that meetings for both NA and AA are free of charge and the only “cost” is an optional donation that goes towards covering things like the room rental, coffee, snacks, etc. 

SMART Recovery

Like AA, SMART Recovery also has an Ohio connection being headquartered there but was created more recently in 1994. The big difference between this group and AA/NA is that there is no spiritual component, so it removes that perceived barrier for people. They note that their “groups are free and open to anyone seeking science-based, self-empowered addiction recovery”.

SMART, as you may have guessed already is an acronym that stands for, “Self-Management and Recovery Training”.

Pulling from their literature, SMART Recovery’s approach to behavioral change is built around our 4-Point Program®:

  1. Building and maintaining the motivation to change.
  2. Coping with urges to use.
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in an effective way without addictive behaviors.
  4. Living a balanced, positive, and healthy life.

Refuge Recovery

Another relatively new entrant which also takes a markedly different approach to recovery and support groups, Refuge Recovery is built on the foundation of Buddhist principles. Whereas AA/NA focus on 12 steps and SMART Recovery is a 4-point program, Refuge created an eightfold path to recovery which looks like this:

  1. Understanding
  2. Intention
  3. Communication/Community
  4. Action
  5. Livelihood/Service
  6. Effort
  7. Mindfulness/Meditations
  8. Concentration/Meditations

Reach Out to Us Today

The wonderful thing about having options that are so diverse in their methodology, tactics and inspiration is that there truly is a group that suits your specific wants and needs. If you’re having trouble landing on the one that works best for you, give us a buzz at Lake Arrowhead Recovery Network and we can do a deep dive on each with you.

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