Addiction: what to Expect From Recovery Groups

There are many recovery groups that can help you reach your goals. Perhaps you have just finished treatment for your substance abuse and are looking to get clean again. Or you could just want to cut back on problem drinking. You're sure to find the right group.

You can also choose where you want to meet, since more groups are meeting online. Before you decide on a group to join, here are some things that you should know and the expectations you will have when you get there.

Which potential benefits are there?

A recovery group is a great way to get rid of a bad habit. Some benefits are:

Do you prefer to meet in person or do you prefer online?

Online support may work for you. You might find it difficult to make an appointment in person depending on how busy you are or how accessible your transportation. Talking to others online can feel more intimate and comfortable than meeting face-to-face. You can participate in online recovery groups in a number of ways.

Recovery groups can be offered by some organizations that allow members to meet remotely via video conference software. This may seem a lot more like meeting face-to-face.

You can also get support through social media. You can interact with each other through messages and posts. However, there are some disadvantages to this method that you need to be aware of. These are:

You must also be truthful with yourself. If you don't have the opportunity to talk face-to-face, will you be honest about your own personal struggles in recovering? People in recovery said that online meetings were better than face-to-face meetings for sharing the truth.

The Recovery Approach

You can view the meeting's working environment before you go. Ask if the moderator/facilitator leads meetings. Ask these other questions:

What's a typical meeting? What training has the facilitator received? Is privacy protected? What rules apply to group participation? Each group has its own approach. These are the top types of recovery groups.

12-step groups. You've probably already heard about these groups, which include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups pair new members with "sponsors," who are people who have been sober longer and can help them through difficult times. The goal of this approach is to completely stop the use of alcohol and drugs. Each member celebrates the days since their last use of these substances. Meetings may include elements of spirituality, like talking about higher powers or praying the Serenity Prayer.

SMART Recovery. This is also called Self-Management and Recovery Training. It does not include sponsors. You use psychological methods instead to identify your addictions to alcohol or drugs. The meetings are led by trained facilitators. The facilitators will show you how to motivate yourself to make changes in your life. You'll also develop ways that don't involve alcohol and drugs to cope with your thoughts and feelings.

Moderation management. Moderation Management is a good option if you are unable to stop drinking. You should still be ready to ditch alcohol completely. For the first 30 day, you should abstain from alcohol in order to reap its benefits. Along with support groups, the program teaches you to figure out where you run into problems with alcohol. They might recommend that you keep track of all your alcohol consumption.

There are also Refuge Recovery programs that offer meditation and Buddhist teachings, as well as support groups for certain populations like Women for Sobriety.

Find the best fit

There may be several groups that you attend before finally finding one that is right for you. It is possible to prefer to listen and relax at first. You may find that you gain more from speaking out and sharing your personal experiences.

You'll find other people who understand the struggles of recovery and will be able to chat with you over coffee or on a video-screen.