Stopping alcohol use or drug use is just the beginning of the recovery process. You or your family member must learn new ways to cope with daily life, including how to have fun or deal with stress, anger, or social situations without using drugs or drinking alcohol. Learning these new skills is a lot of work.
Participants in self-help groups support and encourage one another to become or stay drug and alcohol free. Twelve-Step programs are perhaps the best known of the self-help groups. These programs include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous, and many others.
Members themselves, not treatment facilities, run self-help groups. In many places, self-help groups offer meetings for people with particular needs.
Many treatment programs recommend or require attendance at self-help groups. By attending, many people make new friends who help them stay in recovery. The number of meetings required varies by treatment program. Many programs require participants to attend “90 meetings in 90 days,” as AA and NA recommend. Some treatment programs encourage people to find a “sponsor,” that is, someone who has been in the group for a while and can offer personal support and advice.
Self-help groups are very important in most people’s recovery. It is important to understand, however, that these groups are not the same as treatment.
There are self-help groups for family members, too.