The support system we utilize at Destination Hope during treatment is essential for aftercare success. A sober support system can be made up of sober friends and family, therapists, support groups, and other organizations.
There are many ways to build a support group after recovery, including attending 12-step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, participating in sober living activities, volunteering, and spending time with family, which could lead to introductions to sober living friends.
Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (or AA) began in 1935 by two men who wanted to help alcoholics give up alcohol and empower them to help others do the same. The program is centered around twelve steps, which is often simply referred to as The Twelve Step Program. These steps guide the recovering alcoholic to grow spiritually, becoming aware of the hurt and pain they have caused to themselves and others, and making amends for that pain. As you progress through the program, you will learn the importance of embracing these guiding principles throughout every area of life and learn to help others as they begin and complete their own journey toward sobriety.
Narcotics Anonymous (or NA) was started because there wasn’t a support group like AA for those facing substance abuse addictions. NA uses the same twelve step guiding principles because they have been proven to be a very effective model for treating addictions of all kinds.
Both AA and NA are similar in that they both offer a warm and inviting environment where attendees are:
- Free from judgment
- Free to speak their mind
- Learning from each other’s experiences
- Receiving constant ongoing support
During a 12-step meeting, you may also find a sponsor. You should be comfortable being open and honest with your sponsor, and they should be someone who models what you want with your new life.
Al-Anon is a support group for friends and family members of alcoholics, whether or not the alcoholic is seeking out help. Al-anon is not an intervention group but describes itself as “a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.
Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions. Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.”
Do Support Groups Work?
Research shows that programs like AA, NA, and Al-Anon are effective. However, if you don’t adhere to the structure and attend regular meetings, you won’t receive the full benefit of the program, so it’s important that you are committed to your success. We also recommend commitment to other aftercare activities as a part of your support system to ensure you have all the help and reinforcement you can get!