Alcohol addiction is one of the most challenging things to overcome in life. It places every bit of stress on your body and mind at once. Whilst you are going through withdrawal, it is always helpful to have as much reassurance as is viable. That is where alcohol support groups come in.
Alcohol abuse support groups help users to come together and to ensure everyone has the best sustenance possible when dealing with withdrawal from addiction. These congregations help former users heal both their body and mind, whilst among others in a similar situation.
So what kind of alcohol recovery groups are there? And why should you join one?
Why Join A Support Group?
Joining a support group and opening up to others can often be a daunting prospect. However, it is well worth it. Alcohol treatment and rehab centers often fail to fulfil the emotional needs of users during the recovery process. This is why alcoholism support groups are important.
Alcohol help groups ensure that the uses emotional needs are also taken care of. They make sure there is all the sustenance a user needs available, and help them to build connections with others who may be suffering. The stories of others successes will help the former user to continue their sobriety and act as an incentive to keep going. In addition to all that, most alcohol meeting groups are completely free, which makes them very accessible and well worth a try.
Furthermore, it is likely that there is a support system to suit your individual needs, which highlights the amount of diversity amongst the congregations. Joining the correct group for you could go a long way to aiding with your mental health on the path to recovery.
The Different Kinds Of Support Groups
When it comes to alcohol addiction support groups, there is plenty of choice. The trick is finding the most suitable congregation for you. Support groups range in their styles, from 12 step programs such as the well known alcoholics anonymous, to non 12 step support programs, which focus on the individual. So what are the key differences between each program?
12 Step Support Groups
The most famous of 12 step support congregations is Alcoholics Anonymous (The AA). 12 step program focuses on a 12 step program to recovery, in which they are in theory guided to sobriety.
The program is designed to take away the shame that comes with addiction and embrace the fact that it has brought you to where you are now. By embracing the past; it helps the user come to terms with themselves, and with guidance from others, to heal.
Members of these alcohol support groups are encouraged to share their stories, regardless of whether they are failures or triumphs. This help to give other members perspective on where to improve in their own recovery, as well as inspiring them with the stories of triumph. The tales of others may even help to provide former users with effective coping strategies for the times they may feel like a relapse is about to occur. In fact, 12 step programs allow individuals to recognise that setbacks are a common part of recovery, and tend to happen to the best of people. The stories told by other congregation members help former users to get back on the path to sobriety after slipping up, so that they still believe they can achieve success.
Non 12 Step Support Groups
Unlike 12 step alcohol support groups, these groups focus on controlling what you can. There is no focus on a higher power or other stories. Instead, you simply focus on self management and how you can aid your own recovery. Non-12-step program congregations include SMART (self management and recovery training) and SOS (Secular organization for sobriety). These supportive systems help to ensure former users maintain the right attitude to get the correct behavioral changes out of themselves. They heavily focus on attitude.
Due to these sessions often being one on one, or in smaller groups, some former users will be more at ease in a non-12-step congregation.
Support Groups For Families Of Addicts
Often when someone becomes an addict, they also change the world for those around them. Families and friends often struggle to know how to deal with an addict, as many haven’t had a reason to know. That is why there are support systems for the families of users.
These congregations provide families with reassurance, understanding and provide the most essential advice on how to deal with a loved one’s alcoholism. They ensure the family know what to do in every situation, to help the user deal with cravings and much more. The most popular support systems for families are Al-anon and Alateen.
How The Support Groups Work
12 Step Support Groups
The goal of the 12 step program is to successfully abstain from all alcohol consumption. According to 12 step program philosophy, that can be achieved in these steps:
- Admit and recognise that you cannot always control your alcoholism
- Recognize the guidance of a higher power
- Allow the higher power to help
- Allow the higher power to change your morals
- Recognize you were led astray and admit wrongdoings
- Allow the higher power to correct your errors
- Ask and accept forgiveness
- Recognize your errors to those who love and care for you
- Name all those who suffered because of you and decide to right those wrongs
- Fix broken relationships and get forgiveness
- Request divine guidance
- Talk about issues with others and help them to rebuild their lives, as you did.
Non 12 Step Support Groups
Non-12-step support groups work by giving users a chance at recovery without a higher power. By not relying on this feature, these programs open themselves up to those who aren’t necessarily religious or spiritual. For this reason, non religious alcohol support groups are vital
Treatment is based around science instead. It views alcohol as a behavioral disorder and aims to change that. The gatherings in non-12-step programs are often much smaller, so users don’t have to be as comfortable with sharing, it is all about self improvement.
Support Groups For Families
These programs work by relieving families of their burdens and helping them to find new ways of coping with a user. During these support sessions, families will be given ways to deal with the mental and financial strains placed upon them. In addition to that, they can gain the reassurance of others in a similar situation, and feel like they’re no longer alone.
Examples Of Support Groups
12 Step Support Groups – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
The AA is by far the world biggest alcohol support group. The 12 step program has over 2 million members and it is believed that there is at least one support system in every community. With over 115,000 groups around the world and rising, the AA is continuing its worldwide expansion.
The key to making the AA work is engagement. Getting involved is the key to a successful cleansing from alcohol. Most systems recommend you attend at least three times a week for this reason.
Non 12 Step Programs – SOS And SMART
These two support systems are some of the best known alcohol support groups other than the AA.
They are both non-spiritual alternatives and focus on the individuals recovery rather than a groups. They use science and behavioral accountability in their approaches, meeting regularly in the hope of altering behavioral patterns.
SMART also encourages sustaining sobriety by prescribing drugs which may help physically. Though undergoing SMART recovery are urged to stay motivated and undergo regular psychological assessments.
Family Support Group – Al Anon And Alateen
Al-anon and its teenage based counterpart Alateen focus on helping families deal with a loved one’s alcoholism. They use 12 step programs to guide people through the best coping mechanisms and give them the emotional reassurance they need. They also help with the financial side of addiction.
In the case of Alateen, teens are helped to deal with a family members alcoholism. This may be by guiding them through ways to deal with any abuse that comes from the addiction or just the distancing/lack of love that they receive.
The general aim of Alateen is to help the teenager rebuild and have their own life, not being disrupted by an alcoholic in their family. The alcohol group aims to help teenagers feel good about themselves again.
Online Support Groups
An alternative to all the well known programs are their online versions. Online alcohol support groups help those with less time to recover in their own personal space. This may also help with anonymity and feeling safe.
Alcohol support groups online can come in the form of both 12 step non-12-step or even family based programs. This versatility makes them open to everyone who is in need. Plus there is no fixed geographic location, so there’s more people to share with and get reassurance from.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Support Groups
Fetal alcohol syndrome support groups are support systems especially for those who have the syndrome. They help to guide the person with the disorder through everyday life tasks and help them talk about their struggles with others that are similar. These alcohol protecting groups can also come in any form. They can be physical or online, 12 step or non-12-step, or even for family. Regardless of the form they come in, they provide essential mental reassurance for the individual.