A support group is a group of people who are all struggling with the same disorder or problem. They hold meetings where individuals who are hoping to overcome their addictions can offer support, encouragement, and advice for getting, and staying, clean and sober. Some support groups may be led by a trained mental health or addiction professional, but in many cases, groups are led by a chairperson. This chairperson is often a recovering addict just like everyone else in the group.
There may be numerous benefits to participating in support groups
Some meetings (known as open meetings) will allow non-addicts / non-alcoholics to attend. Recovering addicts are often encouraged to attend support groups, especially those who are receiving professional counseling and those who undergone inpatient treatment programs. Although support groups are most effective when coupled with other treatments, they have a very important place in the recovery process offer the added accountability and camaraderie. Addiction is different for everyone, and no one treatment alone is enough to lead to recovery in many cases.
These are non-profit self-help groups which have been in operation since 1935 when the most well known group Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was formed. Since then many other groups have formed which adopt the same principles but tailored for a single substance or behaviour. Such examples to name a few include Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), Al anon, Gamblers Anonymous (GA) and Over Eaters Anonymous (OA). Most major cities and some smaller ones will have regular meetings.
Full list of 12 Step groups worldwide can be found here
There are also online meetings available.
The 7th tradition of all 12 step meetings is that there are no fees or dues and that each group is fully self-supporting declining outside contributions. Most members will make a small contribution if they can afford to do so but there is no obligation to do so.
The SMART Recovery program, which stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training, is designed to help all forms of addicts recover. Alcoholics, drug addicts, gambling addicts, and others struggling with a compulsion or addiction will benefit from the program. Rather than the twelve-step program, SMART uses four guiding principles to help addicts recover.
Other Free Resources
Local doctor / GP:
This is often the first port of call for many people. Depending on your job and country’s laws your medical records may show addiction / substance abuse. This may be unavoidable if seeking medical help is the best course of action. Most doctors do not specialise in addiction but will have relationships with organisations that do. Some of these may be private but there will be some that are government funded.
Charities and sometimes Churches can often be a valuable resource for help
Drug helplines: May of these are free and for many is the initial first step in asking for help
Primary Rehab / Addiction Treatment Centre (In patient) Government funded
Insurance funded Primary Rehab / Addiction Treatment Centre (In patient)
Some insurance policies will cover addiction and alcoholism. Further enquiries can be made with your preferred rehab or the insurance company direct.
Private counselling (Out patient) Government funded.
Group Therapy (Out Patient) Government funded