By: Marilyn L. Davis
You’ll Find Your Support at a Meeting
“There are multiple pathways to addiction recovery, and ALL are cause for celebration!” ~ William L. White
Been There, Done That
Mutual aid and recovery support groups have been around since 1944, continuing to grow in numbers, types, philosophies, and orientations.
While many recovery support meetings are available to individuals today, choosing one that fits your needs is vital. If you think about it, if you don’t agree with the philosophy, are you really going to attend?
These groups foster an environment where individuals can discuss issues that are bothering them, their accomplishments, ongoing concerns, and find support. With group members ranging from a few days in recovery to decades, there will be individuals with similar feelings, thoughts, and issues and those who have coped with the situations and willingly share their experiences.
Improve Your Chances for Long-term Recovery
All self-help and recovery groups focus on the commonality of a problem, issue, or experience, combined with collective solutions, answers, and directions for healing. In truly therapeutic or mutually beneficial healing groups, members feel secure in discussing their lives with other members. Whether it’s painful, embarrassing, or troubling aspects of themselves, if the group is therapeutic, there’s not the fear of judgement.
The emphasis is typically on shared experiences, either in active addiction or recovery. These disclosures, combined with alternative actions promote healing, can produce successful outcomes for the members struggling in their recovery.
Peers Will Understand You
There is tremendous positive peer support and validation in recovery support meetings of every type. Regardless of the underlying principles, people know when they’ve found “their” meeting. These groups’ empathetic and compassionate nature can help individuals learn to process problems; find solutions that will help them achieve and sustain long-term recovery.
With the many types of recovery support meetings available, you no longer have to settle for one that does not meet your needs, philosophy, or orientation.
Famous People Share about Meetings
Celebrities are coming forward as recovering individuals and talking about the opportunities for healing found in recovery support meetings.
“I work with The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. I sit proudly as one of only two recovering addicts on their board.” – Jamie Lee Curtis
“No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.” – Patrick J. Kennedy
Russell Brand: My Life without Drugs writes, “There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them, but they eschew promotion of any kind in order to preserve the purity of their purpose, which is for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober. Without these fellowships, I would take drugs.”
“We’ve been there and come back. When you fall into the pit, people are supposed to help you up. But you have to get up on your own. We’ll take your arms, but you have to get your legs underneath you and stand.” ― Bucky Sinister
Not So Famous: My Thoughts on Meetings
I am not a famous person at all, just a person in long-term recovery with 33 years. I opened and ran an award-winning residential recovery home for women for more than 20 years. How I have remained in recovery is personal and powerful to me. However, that does not mean that the method or the type of meetings I attend will work for everyone else.
Yet, all individuals, rich and poor, famous and infamous, male, female, young and old, or simply trying to make it today without using, can benefit from recovery support meetings.
Building Your Support Network
If long-term recovery is your goal, then make sure that you have supportive people in your life, besides family and friends. Many individuals will become friends and social acquaintances while starting as guides, mentors, sponsors, or accountability partners.
It is vital to your long-term recovery goals that these individuals are:
- Empathetic to your issues or problems and your method for solutions
- Available to you when your life is complex, or you need someone to talk to
- Value the same path of recovery that you do and can offer help
What Are Your Recovery-Support Meeting Options?
It is necessary to explore all of your options for recovery support meetings. Thirty-three years ago, my options for meeting types, locations, and times were limited. However, I still found friendships, a new social circle, trusted advisers, allies, and people willing to share what had worked for them to achieve long-term recovery.
Today, many more options are available. Find a meeting with your values and beliefs and meet your time constraints.
However, what will make any meeting meaningful is to know what the basic format, philosophy, and guidelines are for the general types of meetings.
12 Step Based Meetings
Many people are familiar with the “Anonymous” meetings – AA, NA, CA, Alanon, or one of the over 200 Anonymous meetings based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions.
12- Step Based recovery, developed over 65 years ago, was built on the premise that one suffering alcoholic could best help another.
Faith or Religious Based Meetings
Faith, Belief, or Religious-based meetings describe any organizational support group based on beliefs – Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Catholic, and Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints specific meetings.
While not as common as Anonymous or 12 Step based meetings, they are growing in numbers in metropolitan areas.
Christian Based Recovery Meetings
Addictions Victorious: Addictions Victorious is a network of Christ-centered support and recovery groups. Meetings are open to men and women of all ages seeking lasting change in their lives.
Alcoholics for Christ: AC is an inter-denominational Christian fellowship that ministers to Alcoholics or Substance abusers, family members, and individuals raised in dysfunctional families
Celebrate Recovery: The purposes of the Celebrate Recovery ministry are to fellowship and celebrate God’s healing power in members’ lives through the “8 Recovery Principles.”
Buddhist Recovery Network
An organization that supports the use of Buddhist teachings and practices to help overcome addictions.
Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons, and Significant Others
A mutual-help group for Jews in recovery from alcohol and other chemical abuse that helps recovering Jews and their families connect, explore their Jewish roots, and discover helpful resources
Islamic Recovery Support
An Islamic fellowship of men and women supporting recovery from alcohol and drug addictions
Catholic Recovery Support Meetings
National Catholic Council on Alcoholism and Related Drug Problems (NCCA): A body affiliated with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that promotes greater awareness and acceptance of alcoholism and other chemical addictions, and prevention issues
Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints Recovery Meetings
LDS has in-person and online meetings for individuals in recovery and their family and friends. This site also features the program recovery guides from the LDS perspective.
Secular Recovery Support Groups
A movement focused on recovery from addiction without concentrating on the spiritual or religious aspects found in both 12 Step and Faith-based recovery.
- SMART Recovery®: An abstinence-based organization that uses “common sense self-help procedures” designed to empower participants to abstain and develop a more positive lifestyle.
- Rational Recovery: An abstinence-based recovery approach claims it is the “antithesis and irreconcilable arch-rival of Alcoholics Anonymous.”
- Women For Sobriety (WFS), founded in 1976 by Jean Kirkpatrick, is an organization and self-help program for women alcoholics.
- 24/7 Help Yourself: a unique website that has been developed from years of research and development into managing addictive behavior and behavioral change to provide guidance and support to manage your alcohol consumption
Find Your Recovery Support Meeting Today
Self Help Group Locator: provides information (searchable by zip code) about non-12-Step self-help group meetings, including Moderation Management, SMART recovery, Recovery, Inc., SOS (secular organization for sobriety), WFS (woman for sobriety), and Life Ring
Learn How to Start a Meeting: Giving and Receiving Support
One aspect of joining these groups is that if the orientation, value, and support are what you need to shore up your foundation in recovery, most have a free course or instructional format for starting a meeting in your area.
There are several benefits of starting a meeting:
- You know you will have the meeting you prefer
- It is an excellent way to give back to other people by taking the time to set up the meeting.
- It will also provide you with support, guidance, and encouragement for your recovery.
Mutual Aid and Support Groups Strengthen Your Recovery
Take advantage of the choices for Recovery Support Meetings – one size does not fit all in recovery.
Decide which type of meeting would best suit your individual needs to reinforce, enrich, and help you achieve your goal of long-term recovery.
Bio: Marilyn L. Davis
Marilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at From Addict 2 Advocate and Two Drops of Ink. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available on Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.
For editing services, contact her at email@example.com.
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