The various addict groups and mutual aid groups evolved from the long established model of support groups beginning over 100 years ago. Time and again they have been shown to have a huge impact on the stamina of those trying to make changes. They originated with supporting those in recovery for TB. It took another 20 years before they became synonymous with addictive behaviours.The first of these recovery support groups, and perhaps the most famous was Alcoholics Anonymous established in 1935 in the States.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
One of the key things that you can do to manage your recovery journey is join a recovery group which can offer motivation to make changes, support to deal with any setbacks plus experience and knowledge about how to deal with evolving situations.
Mutual aid groups or support groups now are a
common format for all conditions and they are so valued as therapeutic and
practical centres that they are actively encouraged. You can access support groups for all addictive behaviours including gambling addiction, alcohol, drugs and self harming.
PRESCRIPTIVE OR NOT?
Addict groups take many formats, some are very rigid and prescriptive and suggest how you should see yourself and your issue. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) for example have clearly defined structures, scheduling and offer certainty in an uncertain world.
Their structures have an approach which
encourages the addict to view themselves as an addict who is powerless over
their addiction. These groups can offer an individual, a sponsor, to act as a sounding board to maintain the pathway to recovery.
Others are spaces where you can learn about your own needs at your pace and then build strategies to help you move forward.
This clip highlights how AA expresses itself and shows how a meeting is conducted.
Perhaps the structure of NA is ideal for you. If the structure appears too prescriptive and not fluid enough for your needs then investigate SMART Recovery which offers guidance, encouragement and support only if you seek it. It has a premise that all recoverees are the vehicles of their own recovery and can manage without guidance but access SMART just for support.
Beyond recovery guidance addict groups offer a place to meet people and develop a new addiction free lifestyle with like minded people, committed to their recoveries and encouraging independence for all its members.
If you are planning to access support groups for either, information, mutual contact, to socialise, or to offload your own feelings in a safe place trying a range of groups may help you get the ideal support for you.
The well established addict groups like AA and SMART Recovery that can be found around the country , sourced online, can be used alongside local support groups unique to individual recovery communities which can be located through GP’s and local treatment services.
Groups are Free to access but are self financing normally and so invite people to make a contribution for the rent of the room and tea and coffee but do not expect or insist upon it.
Accessing recovery groups is one of the most powerful things that a person addressing their addictions can do but also one of the scariest so most recovery groups offer to meet people to get over that fear. NA and AA typically offer to meet people and give them a lift to make sure they get to the group.
Most addict groups will offer a welcome service to meet you if you are nervous and some groups have "open" meetings where anyone, family, friends, professionals and the curious can attend to learn about the meeting. If you want to attend for your own knowledge give them a call and ask to visit.