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Self-Help Groups for Alcohol and Substance Use Disorders

If you're trying to give up substances, peer support groups can be an invaluable source of guidance, comfort, and inspiration. Connecting with others who know first-hand what you're going through can help reduce feelings of isolation, fear, and hopelessness, and being motivated and staying positive is much easier with others you can turn to and lean on to get you through difficult times. Groups are a safe place to obtain support and discuss challenges, and serve to help in maintaining sobriety.

The Twelve-Step Program Model

A variety of support groups utilize the twelve-step program process. The twelve-step program is a set of guiding "spiritual principles" based on the approved literature outlining a course of action for recovery from substance use disorders, compulsion, or other behavioral difficulties. The process involves the following:

  • admitting that you are powerless to control your dependence or compulsion
  • recognizing a higher power "as you understand it" that can give strength
  • reviewing, with the help of your sponsor, the mistakes you’ve made in the past
  • making amends for past mistakes and wrongs
  • learning how to live a new life, free from old unhealthy habits behavior
  • helping others who have substance use disorders

Support Groups for Family and Friends

Family and friends of problem drinkers can find understanding and support at group meetings. The members come together to:

  • Encourage one another
  • Discuss difficulties
  • Help each other understand the principles of the Al-Anon program
  • Learn effective ways to cope with problems
  • Learn how to use the Twelve Steps and Alateen's Twelve Traditions
  • Share experiences, strength, and hope with each other

Self-Help Resources

Please Note: The sites listed here are not affiliated with IHS, HHS, or the Federal Government, and as such, we cannot provide an endorsement of their services.

Major twelve-step programs for substance dependence are:

Alcoholics Anonymous Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  - founders of the 12 step program

Narcotics Anonymous Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving 

Find local meetings and support groups on the Al-Anon websiteExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving .

Family and friends of problem drinkers can find understanding and support at Al-Anon and Alateen Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  meetings.