Self-Help Groups

Also known as self-help support groups, self-help groups embrace the mindfulness based approach to addiction treatment and recovery. While enrolled in such a program, you will be encouraged to participate in the group so that you can continue making progress towards full recovery, abstinence, and sobriety.

About Self-Help Groups

Self-help groups are designed to provide support, encouragement, and motivation to members who are trying to overcome substance use disorders and manage co-occurring mental health disorders.

These groups include but are not limited to 12-step support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. However, there are some non-12 step support groups that can also help you get started on the road to recovery.

Examples of these non-12 step groups include SMART Recovery and Refuge Recovery. These programs offer systematic processes and practices to help you overcome the suffering that you have been dealing with due to alcoholism and substance abuse.

The Refuge Recovery Model is a nontheistic Buddhist approach to long term recovery. It is designed to reduce drug and alcohol cravings, some of the major hallmarks of addiction. The core components include meditation and compassion.

SMART Recovery, on the other hand, is a secular support group format that is centered around motivation to change for the better, refuse to act on triggers and urges for substance abuse, manage your daily problems without drugs and alcohol, and develop a positive and healthy lifestyle that is balanced.

How It Works

Research studies have shown that both 12 step and non-12 step self-help groups are effective at the treatment of addiction and substance abuse - both during and following professional addiction treatment.

These programs can also reduce drug and alcohol use among clients. By actively participating in these programs, you can achieve full recovery from your addiction as well as sustain this recovery.

AA - Alcoholics Anonymous - is the oldest type of self-help group. As such, there are many studies that have shown its efficacy and efficiency. However, the other self-help groups are also effective and they can help you get started and remain on the road to recovery.

During these self-help group meetings, you will often spend a few hours every week meeting other people who are struggling with similar or related substance use disorders. Often, they will follow a format that will be described at the start of each meeting.

Benefits of Self-Help Groups

Self-help groups have a social component that can promote the therapy provided through this group dynamic. These groups can also impart feelings of altruism, behavioral modeling, vicarious learning, and hope.

These groups can also provide long term and easy access - that is free of charge - to therapeutic elements that are related to recovery. During these meetings, you can also self-regulate attendance with other participants based on the needs that contribute to higher satisfaction rates.

Further, spending time with self-help groups could lead to:

  • Decreased use of drugs and alcohol
  • Enhanced confidence
  • Greater empathy
  • Greater feelings of pleasure from accomplishment
  • Improved coping skills
  • Improved self-efficacy
  • Improved understanding
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Reduced feelings of shame and guilt
  • Reduced risky behaviors

Getting Help

It is recommended that you enroll in self-help groups immediately following your treatment at an inpatient drug rehab center or during your recovery through an outpatient addiction treatment program to enjoy these and other benefits.

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