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Exploring the Effectiveness and Role of Support Groups in Substance Abuse Recovery

Last Updated:
October 24, 2023
Kay Nicole

Exploring the Effectiveness and Role of Support Groups in Substance Abuse Recovery

You will recover best if you seek help from support groups. This is why one of the main things that you need to focus on in your recovery is understanding the role of support groups in recovery. You should never sleep on this aspect of substance abuse recovery. It should be your main priority to look for a solid network of support groups to ensure a smooth recovery journey. This article will help you to do just that.

Substance Abuse Recovery

Substance abuse addiction is a mental health concern wherein a person becomes incapable of resisting cravings for a certain substance like alcohol or drugs. It is a complex and challenging condition as one becomes incapable of being fully in control of his or her life. This in turn leads to harmful and dangerous consequences. Recovery from it should be undertaken in the soonest time possible.

Support Groups

A support group is a dedicated gathering of individuals who spend time together to share and discuss challenges, emotions, and experiences concerning a certain topic. A substance abuse support group will be one that discusses everything under the sun involving substance abuse and substance abuse recovery. A substance abuse support group will offer a safe space where you will be heard and understood. When with one, you will be discussing topics that range from practical daily chore tips to grieving and parenting.

Effectiveness of Support Groups

A support group will be vital in your substance abuse recovery journey because of the following:

  1. Being part of a support group will help you to feel less isolated. This is because a support group will give you a sense of community as you will be able to connect with others who are undergoing the same challenges.
  2. A support group will help you improve your coping skills. This will effortlessly happen as individuals share their struggles and means and strategies to conquer each.
  3. Emotional support is something that people always receive from support groups. This is the most natural thing that happens when people listen and empathize with each other.
  4. Support groups help each of their members to have enhanced self-esteem.
  5. It will be easier for you to be held accountable and responsible for all your actions as you will have people checking up on you and rooting for you every step of the way.
  6. Being a member of a support group will help you feel less of the stigma that people in your journey experience. With one, you will have a supportive environment that will allow you to fully accept yourself and everything that has happened in your life.
  7. Support groups help in the overall improvement of one’s quality of life. Members of support groups have better social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being.

Different Kinds of Support Groups

The following are the main different kinds of support groups:

  1. 12-Step Programs (Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and etc.)

Members of this support group follow a structured 12-step program that puts emphasis on self-examination, surrender, amends, and spiritual growth.

  • PROS: Has a global presence, has a strong sense of community, and is available worldwide.
  • CONS: May not be compatible with people who are not into spirituality
  1. Celebrate Recovery

This support group also follows a 12-step model but it is centered on biblical teachings

  • PROS: Integrates recovery and spirituality and focuses on healing relational and emotional issues.
  • CONS: May not be suitable with non-Christians
  1. SMART Recovery

This support group is science-based and focuses on using evidence-based techniques to promote and effect self-empowerment and self-improvement.

  • PROS: Self-directed and non-religious.
  • CONS: You will need more self-motivation and there will be not as much emphasis on fellowship.
  1. Moderation Management

Harm reduction is the focus of this group. Thus, this support group centers on moderation instead of total abstinence.

  • PROS: Less stigma on individuals who are not ready to fully give up substance use.
  • CONS: Not compatible with individuals who have severe addiction.
  1. Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA)

This support group is for individuals who have mental health issues that co-occur with substance abuse. The support group addresses both at the same time.

  • PROS: Provides specialized and holistic recovery.
  • CONS: Not as available and widely recognized
  1. Women for Sobriety

This support group is totally dedicated to providing a community for women with substance abuse issues.

  • PROS: Provides a safe and supportive space for women.
  • CONS: Less known and limited to women.
  1. LGBTQ+ Support Groups

This kind of support group especially caters to members of the LGBTQ+ community and provides support on challenges that the community uniquely faces.

  • PROS: A safe supportive space that also addresses issues of discrimination.
  • CONS: May fail to address specific addiction issues and is only for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Each kind of support group comes with advantages and disadvantages. Your choice will ultimately boil down to what you need and what feels right for you. Never ever forget that help is available every step of the way. As you just read, there are all kinds of support groups that can provide a safe and welcoming space for you. You simply need to know what you prefer. The decision to heal and recover is a personal one. But in order to successfully accomplish it, you will need the help of a supportive team. This is why having a support group for your substance abuse recovery is extremely essential.

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