January is Self-Help Group Awareness Month
January represents a time of new beginnings for many people, including those recovering from addiction. This January is also Self-Help Group Awareness Month. For many people in addiction recovery and their loved ones, connecting with support groups that enhance self-awareness and self-esteem, with a focus on sobriety maintenance, can be a valuable source of help and encouragement.
Support groups have always been an important component of drug rehabilitation programs and aftercare services. The self-help group awareness month programs that are being highlighted are an extension of these existing models that enable more opportunity for ongoing growth and development in a variety of forums. Also, in addition to the new groups that will be formed as the year begins, there are many well-established support groups that have, for years in some instances, been offering people the assistance, guidance and encouragement to live productive drug free lives.
Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most popular support groups for people with an alcohol use disorder that is widely available today. This program originated in 1935 and has set the course for recovery with many adaptations such as for special need individuals and other substances of abuse. This support group model is integrated in most professional drug recovery programs in drug rehab centers all across American and internationally. Since its inception AA has had a high recovery and sustainable sobriety success rate, primarily with men.
AA support groups meetings are typically held weekly and facilitated by people that are in various stages of recovery from alcohol abuse and addiction. Family and friends that support people in addiction are also welcome at AA meetings. AA programs also utilize the 12 Steps model that has been successful in effecting recovery for thousands of people over the years.
Other Self Help Groups
- Dual Recovery Anonymous supports individuals with co-occurring disorders such as drug or alcohol addiction and mental disorders. This support group also uses the 12-step model among other interventions.
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) offer its members self-empowerment tools for recovery and sobriety maintenance utilizing a science-based approach.
- SMART Recovery (Self-Management & Recovery Training) works to empower their members through cognitive behavioral therapy and self-directed change to achieve self-empowerment, motivation, problem solving skills, self-reliance, urge management, lifestyle balance and enhanced self-esteem.
- Women for Sobriety (WFS) focus on supporting other women who are struggling with alcoholism. The women who participate in this program are those who were dissatisfied with the traditional AA program or found it inadequate to meet their goals for recovery and support. This self-help group is founded on the “New Life Program” series of statements and affirmations and the premise that the physical and psychological needs relative to alcohol abuse is different for women than it is for men. This support group has a weekly meeting structure that is deliberately designed to accommodate only a small group of around eight to 10 women so as to encourage confidential discussions. The emphasis of this self-help group is on positive reinforcement of each other, spiritual growth, relaxation, meditation and emotional encouragement.
Support groups make a significant contribution to the recovery and sobriety maintenance process. The benefits of these meetings are immeasurable and include:
- Having a safe place to get support and discuss similar challenges.
- Expand awareness and knowledge in areas of interest through interaction with people with the same interests.
- Connecting with others who can empathize with what you’re going through
- Reduce feelings of isolation and abandonment
- Getting help to stay motivated and positive about life in general
- Having more than one person to turn to for help to get through stressful times that could trigger a substance abuse episode.
There are many available resources that can help people seeking help for addiction. The January Self-Help Group Awareness Month initiatives will enable even greater access and assistance in getting connected to a support group that is right for you and your loved one.