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Self-Help Groups for Alcohol and Substance Addiction


Alcoholics Anonymous logo
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

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 addiction, compulsion, or other behavioral difficulties. The process involves the following:

  • admitting that you are powerless to control your addiction 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

Major twelve-step programs for substance addiction are:

Other Self-Help Support Groups for Substance Abuse and Addiction

Other Self-Help Support Groups for Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Problems


Narcotics Anonymous
Co-occurring disorders, also referred to as dual diagnosis, is a term used when a person has both a mental health disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, and a substance abuse problem. Mental health problems and addiction have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of one's ability to function, handle life's difficulties, and relate to others. Whether your mental health issue or your addiction came first, recovery depends on treating both problems.

Dual Recovery AnonymousExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  is a 12-step group that addresses both substance abuse problems and co-occurring mental health disorders.


Support Groups for Family and Friends

Family and friends of problem drinkers can find understanding and support at Al-Anon and AlateenExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving  meetings. The members come together to:

Al-anon and Alateen
  • 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