Addiction Support & Self Help Groups

One of the more popular and omnipresent addiction treatment options out there are support groups. Almost everyone is familiar with the various 12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous, but there are other many other types of addiction & sobriety self help groups.

The general format for these is a free flow meeting where past and recovering addicts share their stories in a welcoming environment. Additionally, sponsor arrangements may be facilitated to help addicts maintain sobriety.

  • Religious Groups – There are a wide variety of programs and meetings offered by various religious entities. These generally center around the higher power / religious aspect more than others.
  • Professional Organizations – Some professional organizations provide support networks and meetings to handle occupation related pathologies or compulsions.
  • Local Self Help Groups – These can be 12 step groups, but just as often they’re just like-minded people looking to help others by providing some level of accountability and discussion around specific ailments.

How to find a local support group

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a locator here ( SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator) but you can find most local chapters of the major 12 step programs on their websites. Additionally, most local police departments, hospitals and addiction treatment centers should be able to point you in the right direction.

How to choose a 12 step group

There are no shortage of self help groups for nearly any pathology or compulsion you can imagine. When choosing a local 12 step program meet up, here are a few things to consider:

  • How frequent are the meetings?
  • How many people attend?
  • What is the focus of the group?
  • Are there any reviews from past or current members?
  • Is there any affiliation with another organization?
  • How far is the group meeting point from my home?

Most meetings are entirely free and don’t require any kind of sustained membership, so it’s recommended that you drop in for a meeting. If you don’t like it, it’s easy enough to find another group that meets your needs better.

Most popular addiction / self help / 12 step groups

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the 2 most popular 12 step & addiction treatment support groups are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. A more in depth list can be found below:

  • AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
  • ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics
  • Al-Anon/Alateen, for friends and families of alcoholics
  • CA – Cocaine Anonymous
  • CLA – Clutterers Anonymous
  • CMA – Crystal Meth Anonymous
  • Co-Anon, for friends and family of addicts
  • CoDA – Co-Dependents Anonymous, for people working to end patterns of dysfunctional relationships and develop functional and healthy relationships
  • COSA – an auxiliary group of Sex Addicts Anonymous
  • COSLAA – CoSex and Love Addicts Anonymous
  • DA – Debtors Anonymous
  • EA – Emotions Anonymous, for recovery from mental and emotional illness
  • FA – Families Anonymous, for relatives and friends of addicts
  • FA – Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
  • FAA – Food Addicts Anonymous
  • GA – Gamblers Anonymous
  • Gam-Anon/Gam-A-Teen, for friends and family members of problem gamblers
  • HA – Heroin Anonymous
  • MA – Marijuana Anonymous
  • NA – Narcotics Anonymous
  • N/A – Neurotics Anonymous, for recovery from mental and emotional illness
  • Nar-Anon, for friends and family members of addicts
  • NicA – Nicotine Anonymous
  • OA – Overeaters Anonymous
  • OLGA – Online Gamers Anonymous
  • PA – Pills Anonymous, for recovery from prescription pill addiction.
  • SA – Sexaholics Anonymous
  • SA – Smokers Anonymous
  • SAA – Sex Addicts Anonymous
  • SCA – Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
  • SIA – Survivors of Incest Anonymous
  • SLAA – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
  • SRA – Sexual Recovery Anonymous
  • UA – Underearners Anonymous
  • WA – Workaholics Anonymous