Recovery, Support and 12-Step Groups

Let me clear up some confusion.  There are various names for similar recovery organizations. You might hear “self-help group” “support group” “12-step” or even “peer group”.  In the medical community they call it Mutual Aid Support. That sounds a little clunky to my ear, but okay, I can go with it.

What do these groups do?

These groups normally have a goal to provide help for people wanting long-term sobriety from addiction and alcohol.  The most well known organization is Alcoholics Anonymous. You can read more about that in my last article.  If that is not your thing, or if alcohol doesn’t apply to you, there are groups for people seeking all kinds of recovery. These groups can be for the addict or for their families and significant others. It’s very common for people to think of this as a form of “self-help” therapy. Personally, I think this can be a little misleading. That’s because most addicts (like me) have failed on their own efforts to achieve anything close to long-term recovery. I prefer to conceptualize it more like “help each other” therapy.

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There is a mind-blowing amount of support groups available.

Support Options

Celebrate Recovery – is a hybrid of a 12-step program  plus Christianity.

Non-twelve-step addiction recovery group options:

LifeRingLifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR)
Moderation Management (MM)
Narconon (Church of Scientology)
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
SMART Recovery
Women For Sobriety (WFS)

There is some debate about the effectiveness of these groups, because there has been only a limited amount of studies done on their success. However, the big take-away is that most of these organization cost little or nothing.

How long to I go to these groups?

This might come as bad news, but long-term recovery is an ongoing life process.  Support groups can play a vital role. Do some people get sober, move on with their lives and never give it a second thought? Yes, that can be possible, but most  folks find it helpful to have a life-long recovery plan. Maybe to the non-addict or non-alcoholic this might sound harsh. But, remember this is a disease that does not have a medical cure.  And,If you want help, you will not be alone … last year more than 5 million people across the U.S. attended some kind of support group. Within this community of like-minded people, a support group can help you take responsibility for your alcohol and drug problems. Maybe you will even make some friends and have a bit of fun 🙂

Says William L. White, a noted recovery advocate:

“The recovery community is a place where shared pain and hope can be woven by its members into life-saving stories whose mutual exchange is more akin to communion than communication. This sanctuary of the estranged fills spiritual as well as physical space. It is a place of refuge, refreshment and renewal. It is a place that defies commercialization–a place whose most important assets are not for sale.

Family Support Groups

Do you have a loved one who is suffering from addiction or alcoholism?  Check out the abundance of family support groups.   There are many choices to pick from. Don’t blow this off! Family education groups provide information about the disease; its effects on the

10 support groups you never heard of.

loved one, the family, and the nature of relapse and recovery.

Family education groups often cover these topics:

Medical aspects of addiction and dependence
Relapse prevention
Addiction as a family disease
Enabling behaviors
Reasons for testing the loved one
Parenting skills
Community support groups and resources

Unique Family Resources


National Families in Action (NFIA) ( NFIA is a national drug education, prevention, and policy center with the mission of helping families prevent substance abuse among children by promoting science-based policies.


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) ( is a national resource center funded by the Federal Government that offers a large inventory of publications and videos for treatment professionals, clients, families, and the general public, including Alcoholism Tends To Run in Families.

Family Support Groups

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) ( ACOA is a 12-Step, 12-Tradition program that offers support for grown children of parents with alcohol or drug addiction.

Al-Anon family groups ( Al-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of people who have alcohol problems who share their experiences, strengths, and hopes. Members believe that alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. The program is based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Families Anonymous (FA) ( FA is a 12-Step, mutual-help, recovery support group for relatives and friends of those who have alcohol, drug, or behavioral problems.

Nar-Anon family groups ( Similar to Al-Anon, Nar-Anon is a fellowship of relatives and friends of people who abuse substances and offers a constructive program for members to achieve peace of mind and to gain hope for the future. .

The bottom line is that there is no shortage of help available. And, you can always contact me directly if you need some guidance.

I write this for fun and for free, my company website is here.


14 thoughts on “Recovery, Support and 12-Step Groups

    1. Ditto. It doesn’t matter how long I remain sober …. every once in a while a crazy justification creeps into my mind. The more I work on the solution, the farther I get away from my old actions. On-going recovery has not been a punishment, like I assumed it would be. It has actually added a lot to my life. Who knew?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I didn’t know that the Church of Scientology sponsored a sobriety program. Is it bad that I’m immediately suspicious of their motives? I’m completely uneducated about it so I’ll be up front that I’m probably going to say something ignorant here.

    On one hand, if this program helps to save even one person from addiction then that’s awesome. On the other hand, I would be very opposed to an organization using addiction and recovery as a foot in the door for some alternative motivations.


    1. Jeff, it is hard not to be ignorant on the subject of recovery in the Church of Scientology because they are very secretive. I have a tiny bit of personal experience and it was ugly. A friend of my husband was doing quite well in the traditional recovery circles, when he wife demanded that her Scientology program was better. It didn’t end well. But, let me emphasize that is an antidotal story and lots of people love the fellowship there. I can be guilty of being a bit skeptical but regardless of how someone gets sober, I am happy that one more person got sober.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. All that aside, great article! Getting information out there so that the people who need can find it is so important. The first step to recovery is admitting there’s a problem. Having an idea of where to go for help has gotta follow pretty quickly after that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well stated Jeff. How often do we hear the excuse that “No one understands me” “I have no resources” or “I don’t have money or insurance”. Well, I wasted a lot of time saying those things and little did I know that there were lots of people who wanted to help … for nothing in return. It still blows my mind.


  4. Thanks for sharing these groups for those in need. The worst part of my addiction was the cocoon of shame I had wrapped myself in and how alone that made me feel. Once I was able to rip that off and open up to others I was able to finally make my way to a 12 step group that was the final key to my recovery. Don’t ever give up. I had a lot of failures before I found success, but the freedom is sweet!

    Liked by 1 person

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