Support Groups for Addiction Recovery (Types, Benefits)

Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

Support Groups for Addiction Recovery

Table of Contents

Addiction recovery support groups are organizations of individuals who come together to learn and share experiences related to overcoming addiction. People in these groups offer each other mutual encouragement, advice, and understanding. The groups aim to provide a safe space for people struggling with addiction to build relationships and find ways to cope with their triggers without turning back to substance use.

The use of support groups for addiction recovery has been proven to be incredibly effective. Research indicates that people in such groups have higher rates of abstinence, longer periods of sobriety, and greater overall satisfaction with the recovery process than those who don’t attend these meetings.

The first formalized programs utilizing support groups to treat addictions began in the early 20th century. Since then, the use of support groups in addiction treatment has expanded significantly and is now recommended by most centers and government organizations as a key component of recovery and sobriety maintenance programs.

What are Support Groups for Addiction Recovery?

Support groups are an important part of addiction recovery. Support groups provide individuals in recovery with a safe and secure environment to share their experiences, struggles, successes, and concerns related to overcoming addiction. In a support group setting, people work together to build hope and create links between people in similar situations who can help each other stay on the path towards sobriety.

They also provide a place where people can come and discuss their feelings about recovery, get advice from others who have gone through similar experiences, and learn how to cope with cravings or difficult emotions.

Individuals in recovery need to be surrounded by supportive people who understand their situation and are willing to help them stay on the path of sobriety. They help a recovering addict build support systems that help them achieve long-term sobriety.

What are Support Groups for Addiction Recovery

What Are the Myths and Misperceptions About Support Groups for Addiction Recovery?

Unfortunately, many myths and misperceptions about addiction recovery support groups can prevent people from seeking the help they need. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Myth 1: You must be an addict to attend a support group.

This is false. Many support groups are open to anyone affected by or concerned about someone’s substance abuse issues, such as family members and friends. There are many family support groups available as well.

  • Myth 2: Going to a support group means you need to be stronger to do it.

Going to a support group is not an admission of failure but proof that you are strong enough to ask for help. Studies have shown that individuals who attend support groups have better outcomes than those who do not.

  • Myth 3: Support groups don’t work.

Contrary to popular belief, support groups can be beneficial in the recovery process. They provide a safe space for individuals to share their stories, receive support and encouragement from other group members, and develop coping strategies to help battle addiction.

  • Myth 4: You won’t make any friends at a support group.

This is not true. Support groups foster a sense of community and allow you to meet people going through the same struggles as you.

  • Myth 5: Support groups aren’t confidential.

Support group meetings are entirely confidential, allowing members to share their stories without fear of judgment or consequences. This encourages honest and open conversations about addiction, helping participants feel more comfortable discussing their recovery.

By understanding and eliminating the myths and misperceptions about addiction support groups, individuals can make informed decisions about their recovery and choose their best path.

What Are the Myths and Misperceptions About Support Groups for Addiction Recovery

What Are the Types of Support Groups for Addiction Recovery?

Many different types of support groups are available for individuals recovering from addiction. These include:

  • 12-Step Groups: 12-step programs use a step-by-step approach to recovery and involve attending regular meetings with other group members. They can provide emotional support and practical advice on how to stay sober and handle difficult situations.
  • Mutual Aid Groups: Also known as self-help groups, mutual aid groups offer peer support and rely heavily on members’ shared experiences. Popular examples include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
  • Online Support Groups: Online support groups provide an anonymous space for people to share their stories and learn from others facing similar issues. Some of these groups also offer access to counselors and therapists.
  • Inpatient Programs: For individuals with severe addiction, inpatient programs provide a safe and structured environment for recovery. These programs can include residential treatment, detoxification, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
  • Outpatient Programs: Outpatient programs offer counseling, therapy, support groups, and other activities. In some cases, they may also provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT). They can also give psychological assistance in the treatment programs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or motivational interviewing in recovery training.

Finding the right support group can be a vital part of recovery from addiction, so it’s important to research your options and find one that fits your needs. According to studies, they also help prevent relapse in people in addiction treatment.

Many online resources, such as websites, blogs, and podcasts, are available to help individuals in their recovery journey. Utilizing these resources can be a great way to stay connected and get your needed support.

Ultimately, no matter what type of support group or resource one chooses, it’s important to remember that addiction is a complex illness and that seeking professional help is important.

What Are the Types of Support Groups for Addiction Recovery

What Are the Benefits of Joining Support Groups for Addiction Recovery?

One of the best things someone struggling with addiction can do to begin their journey toward recovery is to join a support group treatment program. Support groups provide relief and comfort as individuals share stories, discuss challenges, and provide one another with emotional support. Here are some of the key benefits of joining a support group for addiction recovery:


Peer-to-peer support is critical for those in recovery. Having an informal network or close group of friends with the same goals and ambitions for staying sober can help keep someone on track and accountable. This accountability is invaluable as individuals often receive positive reinforcement from their peers when they remain committed to sobriety while also receiving support during times of doubt or stress.

A Safe Environment

Peer support groups provide an environment free of judgment, enabling people to openly share their stories and feelings without fear of criticism or ridicule. Furthermore, they typically include members who have gone through the same struggles, providing solace in knowing that someone else understands you.

Being able to openly talk about addiction and its associated issues in a safe space can be incredibly beneficial when recovering. Research shows that social support leads to better results in addiction recovery.

An Opportunity to Help Others

Not only do support groups provide an invaluable service to those seeking recovery, but they also offer members the chance to give back. Many group members eventually become more experienced and comfortable with their new sober life and begin mentoring newly recovering individuals.

This helps those recently sober and gives a sense of purpose and accomplishment to the mentor, as they witness first-hand the progress they’ve helped another person make.

An Opportunity to Help Others

What to Expect From a Support Group for Addiction Recovery?

When you enter a support group for addiction recovery, you can expect to find many like-minded individuals struggling with the same problem. These groups offer a safe and secure environment to share your experiences, thoughts, and feelings about addiction.

During meetings, participants can express their struggles without judgment or criticism in the form of group therapy. This is usually done through discussion topics, group activities, and occasional guest speakers.

The primary purpose of these meetings is to help members understand their addiction and find ways to cope with it in a healthy way. Support groups often provide resources for recovery, such as educational materials, counseling services, or access to support networks. This can be incredibly helpful in the long-term journey towards sobriety and overall wellness.

Support groups can be a great source of understanding and acceptance for people who feel isolated and alone in their struggles with addiction. With the help of peers, members can gain insight into their issues while learning from other people’s experiences. This allows for an open exchange of ideas that can be beneficial in many ways

What to Expect From a Support Group for Addiction Recovery

How to Overcome the Psychological Obstacles to Joining a Support Group for Addiction Recovery?

There are many psychosocial obstacles to joining a support group for addiction recovery, and it can be difficult to overcome them. However, with the proper guidance and support, people struggling with substance abuse issues can take positive steps towards their physical and mental health.

One of the most common psychological obstacles to joining a support group is fear of judgment. It’s natural to feel apprehensive about sharing our struggles with addiction in a public setting. Taking the first step and talking to someone who understands can be incredibly empowering, and it’s important to remember that support groups are a safe place for people to share their stories without feeling judged.

Another psychological obstacle is guilt and shame. People struggling with substance abuse often feel tremendous guilt or shame about their behavior. They may be reluctant to share these feelings with anyone. In a support group, members need to understand that no one is here to judge or shame them but rather to provide emotional support and understanding so they can work towards recovery together.

How to Overcome the Psychological Obstacles to Joining a Support Group for Addiction Recovery

Finally, many people feel overwhelmed by the process of recovery. Joining a support group can provide structure and a sense of community that makes the process seem less daunting. Having others to share experiences and advice with can be invaluable, and many people find tremendous comfort in knowing they are not alone in their struggles. It’s essential to remember that there is a difference between enabling and supporting addicts, and support groups prevent enabling. That’s why they’re so successful in the long run.

By addressing and overcoming these psychological obstacles, individuals struggling with substance abuse issues can take the first steps toward recovery.

How to Get the Most From a Support Group?

Attending a support group can be an invaluable part of recovering from addiction. It provides an opportunity to meet with people who have had similar experiences and get advice and encouragement from those on the same journey. Getting the most out of your support group means following some basic steps:

  1. Set realistic goals for yourself. Recovery is a process, and it’s important to set achievable goals. This will help you stay motivated and focused on the long-term outcome.
  2. Share your story. Don’t be afraid to be open and honest about your struggles with addiction. Sharing your story can help you form meaningful connections with others that can provide much-needed support and understanding.
  3. Listen to others. Listening to others’ stories can provide an important perspective on addiction and recovery that you may not have considered before. Knowing you are not alone in your journey can also be comforting.
  4. Make a plan. Support groups can help you develop a plan for managing triggers and staying sober. Working with peers is often the best way to create a plan tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
  5. Get help when you need it. No one can do this alone. If you feel overwhelmed or struggling, seek professional help from an addiction specialist. They can provide valuable resources and support to get you through tough times.

Remember that recovery is a journey with bumps in the road. Reaching out to a support group can give you the strength and resilience to reach the other side. With commitment and determination, recovery is possible.

How to Get the Most From a Support Group

Additional Resources for Addiction Support

In addition to local support groups, many online resources are available for people suffering from addiction. Here are just a few:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) – AA is a fellowship of individuals who share their experiences and support each other in solving everyday problems. It was the first addiction support group to be created.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – NA is a global community of recovering addicts dedicated to supporting and assisting those seeking freedom from drug addiction.
  • SMART Recovery – SMART Recovery provides tools, strategies, and support to help individuals gain control over their addiction.
  • Living Free – Living Free is an online program to help people recover from alcohol and drug addiction. The program provides access to group sessions as well as individual counseling.
  • Addiction Recovery Support Center – The ARSC provides a safe space for recovering addicts to connect, receive support, and learn about addiction recovery.
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) – NCADD offers resources to support individuals and families affected by substance abuse.

Additional Resources for Addiction Support

Find Support Groups Near You

At NuView Treatment Center, we understand that each client has unique needs and preferences. That is why we provide personalized and comprehensive care that addresses addiction’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Our rehab facilities offer you the care you need to overcome your drug addiction.

Our programs are based on evidence-based practices and holistic approaches to help you heal from the inside out. We can find the perfect one for you if you’re looking for a support group to aid your addiction treatment! Contact us at (323) 307 – 7997 or email us at to learn more about how we can help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

To find a local support group, search online using keywords such as “addiction recovery” or “substance abuse treatment” plus your city or zip code. You may also want to ask your doctor for referrals and contact agencies like the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The benefits of joining a support group for addiction recovery include gaining insight into your situation, developing coping skills to manage triggers and cravings, finding emotional support from others who understand your struggles, and feeling less alone. Additionally, having a safe place to share your story can be incredibly empowering and help you on your journey towards recovery.

A. Absolutely. Support groups are generally inclusive and accepting of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. It's important to remember that every individual’s story is unique, so ensuring the group you join provides an open and welcoming environment for everyone is important.

A. It's important to find a support group that is comfortable for you and where you can feel safe and understood. Ask yourself if the group facilitator seems knowledgeable, compassionate, and non-judgmental. Also, consider what activities are offered (such as therapy or educational sessions) and whether they align with your goals. Finally, attend a few sessions before deciding if the group is right for you.

  1. Lookatch, S. J., Wimberly, A. S., & McKay, J. R. (2019). Effects of Social Support and 12-Step Involvement on Recovery among People in Continuing Care for Cocaine Dependence.Substance use & misuse, 54(13), 2144–2155.

  2. Bruce Ellis, Tiffiny Bernichon, Ping Yu, Tracy Roberts, James M Herrell, Effect of social support on substance abuse relapse in a residential treatment setting for women, Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 27, Issue 2, 2004, Pages 213-221,

  3. Tracy, K., & Wallace, S. P. (2016). Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction.Substance abuse and rehabilitation, 7, 143–154.

  4. Wendt, D. C., & Gone, J. P. (2017). Group Therapy for Substance Use Disorders: A Survey of Clinician Practices.Journal of groups in addiction & recovery, 12(4), 243–259.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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