Support Groups for People Affected by Addiction

Peer support groups like AA and Al Anon have taught millions of people how to deal with addiction, whether it impacts them directly or through a loved one. How do these support groups help? What benefits do they really offer? Read on to find out.
Young female wearing ear buds

If you’ve been affected by addiction, it’s important to find a support group. 

You don’t need to complete treatment to find support. Your loved one doesn’t need to be in recovery, either. Even and especially when someone is trapped within active addiction, other people can understand and relate to your experience, and they can provide a great deal of comfort, peace and stability. 

Here we list a few support groups—for the person who struggles with addiction and their loved ones—and explain how they help.

How does attending a support group help me in my recovery?

Refusing help isn’t a sign of strength—it’s an omen of self-destruction.  Maybe you disagree with that statement for the time being. That’s okay. In due time, you’ll learn to trust others and lean on them during times of need.

How do you get there? At first, you only need to show up. Strangers and soon-to-be friends will show you unconditional kindness. They will nod in agreement and empathize with your experience, having lived it themselves. They will mourn and cry with you, and they will give you honest feedback that’s rooted in their own experiences. A wonderful group of people will know and accept you, and they will understand the madness of your addiction unlike anyone else.

Support groups help you in so many ways, giving you:

  • The hope and belief that you, too, can build a life of recovery
  • Friendship and solidarity in good times and bad
  • Understanding and acceptance of your disease
  • The wisdom of others’ experiences
  • Structure in your daily life and recovery

More than that, support groups lay the groundwork for those in early and middle recovery. Without putting your trust in others, without seeking outside opinion and support, you’re likely to rely on old ways of doing things, which, as the saying goes, got you here in the first place. 

Help For Me

Support Groups for Individuals Struggling with Addiction

The most popular peer-support format, millions of people around the world attend Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

AA/NA Twelve Step meetings are free to attend and open to anyone who wants to stop drinking or using other drugs. And regular AA or NA participation has been shown to help you embrace recovery by:

  • Strengthening your confidence about maintaining your recovery
  • Learning and implementing sober social skills
  • Developing social networks supportive of your recovery
  • Making other lifestyle changes that positively impact your recovery from addiction

Explore more recovery resources:

Woman Speaking At Support Group Meeting For Mental Health Or Dependency Issues In Community Space

Help for a Loved One

Support Groups for Families and Friends

When a loved one struggles with addiction, your first instinct might be to bury the problem, to hide it from the outside world. Or maybe your addicted loved one has convinced you not to speak openly about the problem, or you’ve otherwise learned that it’s not worth the trouble of bringing it up.

You don’t have to suffer in silence, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of your loved one’s addiction—it has nothing to do with you. Your parenting, your partnership, your friendship has nothing to do with the presence of addiction, and no part of you is to blame. But you have to learn to take good care of yourself.

Support groups will:

  • Teach you the three Cs—you did not cause addiction, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it
  • Connect you with others who understand the fear and pain of addiction
  • Help you regain control of your own life
  • Bring peace and self-love amidst the chaos of addiction
ID 319, Portrait of a young man in group therapy at a coworking