4 Addiction Support Group Options
Many people who misuse alcohol and drugs rely on support groups to help them stay sober. In addition to promoting accountability, these meetings provide people in recovery with a safe space to talk about their experiences, receive and provide encouragement, and share coping skills and other helpful advice. Addiction support groups can also be a big part of your recovery network. In order to fully benefit from them, it’s important to find a group in which you feel comfortable. Luckily, there are a number of different addiction support group options you can choose from.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) & Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the oldest and most widely known addiction support group in the world. AA follows a 12-step format that emphasizes the importance of relying on a higher power to recover from alcoholism. While some people choose to call this higher power God, there is no religious or spiritual requirement for membership. People in AA are free to choose whatever concept of a higher power works for them. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) follows the same format and principles as AA, however, the focus is on drugs rather than alcohol. Both fellowships have meetings around the world, both in-person and online.
SMART is an acronym for Self-Management And Recovery Training. A popular alternative to AA, these groups take a secular, science-based approach to recovery. They use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other proven techniques to help participants change their thinking and manage their feelings around four key areas: building motivation, coping with urges, problem-solving, and lifestyle balance. Like AA, meetings are free of charge, available worldwide, and can be attended in-person or online.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
Another secular addiction support group option, LifeRing originated in California in 1997. The program promotes recovery based on three main principles — sobriety, secularity, and self-empowerment — which it calls the 3-S philosophy. Rather than follow a specific format, members are encouraged to develop their own personal recovery program based on this philosophy and any other resources they find helpful, including other addiction support groups. While LifeRing does not have as big a membership as AA or SMART recovery, in-person and online meetings are offered in the U.S., Australia, Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and Sweden.
This is a non-theistic program based on the book Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovery from Addiction by Noah Levine. According to the group’s website, the program “does not ask anyone to believe anything, only to trust the process and do the hard work of recovery.” That process involves following core Buddhist teachings, including the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, to achieve freedom and heal from addiction. It also relies heavily on meditation and mindfulness techniques. Support groups are free to attend and held across the country and in Canada, both in-person and online.
More Addiction Support Groups
If these suggestions don’t suit you, keep searching for a group you like — there are a number of other options out there, including Women for Sobriety and Secular Organizations for Sobriety. American Addiction Centers hosts its own virtual support meetings. Addiction support groups are highly beneficial and can really enrich your recovery.