Whenever I am doing an intervention or talking to someone that is new to sobriety, I make sure to mention that there is free help out there if someone is not quite ready to go to treatment or cannot afford the cost of a treatment program. Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other programs are highly effective support groups for individuals that are trying to stay clean and sober. Also, these groups can be found all over the world in any language. In fact, there is a support group for almost anything you could imagine. There are divorce support groups, groups for overeating and other eating disorders, sex addiction, gambling, codependency, the list goes on and on. At many churches, there are also drug and alcohol addiction support groups that also study the bible or whatever religious doctrines are used depending on the religion.
For some people it is difficult to see the benefits of a support group right off the bat. I have heard people say “this is a cult” or “I disagree with their views”, obviously if you want to find the negative in something you will be able to, but the fact is, these support groups have helped millions of people recover from addiction and other debilitating habits or problems.
One of the best support groups I can think of for people who have an addict or alcoholic in their life that is causing them pain or suffering is Al-Anon. Often times the drinking or using of another person has become such a pressing issue in the mind of a family member or friend that it becomes difficult to live life normally or to have hope that there will ever be any positive change. In the rooms of Al-Anon people are able to share their “experience, strength and hope” with each other so that they are able to make positive choices to change how they think and feel. In this way, Al-Anon offers a new way of life for supporters, even if the addict or alcoholic does not stop using or drinking.
Support groups provide a safe environment where individuals are able to share their experience with others. They are not treatment in and of themselves, but they are guided by spiritual principles and organized in a democratic way that can be understood by anyone. These programs can help build character and the fellowship that is created is priceless. Many people that meet in the rooms of a support group become lifelong friends and these friendships can help sustain a meaningful life and assist in long-term recovery.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.