Many treatment providers will recommend that clients who are newly sober attend a recovery support group in addition to therapy. Research shows that these groups are successful because they offer incredibly accessible support. For example, most treatment providers are closed on major holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving. However, recovery support groups such as 12-step meetings, are not.
Another reason why support groups are recommended is because they allow newly sober individuals the opportunity to meet and socialize with other people who are also sober. Many people in early recovery need to form a new friend group in order to give their recovery the greatest chance of success. Recovery support groups are one way of making this happen.
Types of Recovery Support Groups
What kinds of recovery support groups are out there? Most people have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These groups are commonly referred to as “12-step programs” because participants work through 12 steps in order to identify and address issues that contribute to their substance use disorder. These 12-step programs are the most widely available support groups for substance use disorder in the United States and the world. There are also more specific spin-offs of Narcotics Anonymous, such as Heroin Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Marijuana Anonymous. However, these more substance-specific groups are less common.
For those who prefer a more religious support group, Celebrate Recovery can be a good option. Celebrate Recovery is similar to 12-step groups in that participants work through a set of steps. However, it includes principles of Christianity and ties Bible verses to the 12-step literature.
For someone looking for a support group that doesn’t include any aspects of spirituality or religion, Self-Management and Recovery Training Recovery meetings are a great option. SMART Recovery meetings teach coping skills to help participants address four main points they feel are essential to maintaining sobriety. SMART Recovery meetings are becoming more popular and accessible, but they still aren’t as widely available as 12-step meetings.
If you are new to recovery, consider trying out some of the support groups listed above. Finding a meeting near you is as easy as searching the type of meeting you are looking for and your zip code online.