Can Self-Help Groups Replace Treatment Programs?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Self-Help Group

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of the most commonly known self-help groups out there – with weekly meetings, individuals from all walks of life can come in and talk about their experiences while learning of new tools and resources to help them on their journey to recovery. Other self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and even non-12 step programs such as SMART Recovery and Women for Sobriety offer group support to those who need a community of people with similar problems or experiences. Self-help groups can provide much-needed support, but they are typically best when used in addition to a reputable treatment program. As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), self-help groups often provide an “added layer of community-level social support to help people achieve and maintain abstinence and other healthy lifestyle behaviors over the course of a lifetime.”

When deciding on which self-help group to add to your treatment regime, it’s important to look at each group and determine which one most closely aligns with your beliefs, values, and attitudes towards recovery. Don’t disregard non-12 step self-help groups, however; a 2018 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to explore whether or not non-12 step groups were just as successful as 12-step groups – 651 participants were involved, and the study showed that either one provides a number of benefits. Prominent levels of participation, satisfaction, and cohesion among members were found, making it ultimately a choice determined by you.

At this point, you may be wondering, what are the differences? In your research, you’ll notice that some groups emphasize religion while others don’t – you’ll also find that some programs are more structured in agreed-upon ground rules or promises, while others are a bit more open. All in all, what truly matters is that you attend something that is conducive to your recovery – something that uplifts, motivates, inspires, and provides you with the support you need to get through challenging times. Some treatment centers host self-help groups at their location, meaning that you can talk to the coordinators at your treatment center to see about attending one of them in addition to your daily structure of therapy and activities.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.

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