Support Groups

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What is the role of support groups in relapse prevention?

Support Groups

By far the most common form of aftercare for recovering alcohol and drug addicts is the support group. These can be treatment groups facilitated by a professional, but many recovering addicts are encouraged to turn to Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12-step groups. One major benefit of such groups is simply providing a drug-free social outlet to people whose previous friendships are likely to have been organized around their addictions.

In some areas, there may be few or no groups such as Narcotics Anonymous that deal specifically with drug addicts, who may end up attending AA meetings. This is not ideal, as alcoholism often follows a different psychological path than drug addiction, but many people find significant benefit nonetheless.

Many treatment facilities, particularly those connected with religious organizations, have 12-step groups in place and can introduce recovering addicts to the principles of the program. For those with a genuine motivation to recover, a 12-step group can provide guidance, social support, and a spiritual route toward that goal. Many participants choose a "sponsor," a more experienced person who can act as a point of first contact in managing cravings and difficult situations. A good sponsor can help the recovering addict fight "stinking thinking," the rationalizations that make using drugs sound logical and even beneficial.



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