Your Guide to Addiction Recovery Programs and Groups

To successfully beat addiction, most recovering addicts need the help of seasoned professionals specializing in substance abuse treatment. They also benefit from camaraderie and support of other recovering addicts who are familiar with the struggles associated with overcoming dependency on drugs or alcohol. The people related to addiction recovery programs provide psychological and physical support systems necessary for anyone to overcome substance addiction.

Beyond associated people, available addiction recovery programs provide substance abusers with a multitude of options for recovery tailored their individual needs. Inpatient treatment is one such option, as is self-help recovery. Finding the right program is the first step toward a life of sobriety.

Inpatient Recovery Programs

Licensed addiction treatment facilities provide inpatient recovery programs under high standards of medical care. For patients of these programs, doctors and nurses are on staff 24 hours per day and every day of the year. For many, overcoming drug or alcohol addiction is a rough physical road. Having access to professional medical staff throughout this process provides not only safety but comfort as well.

The primary objective of any inpatient treatment program is that of providing recovering addicts with the tools and skills needed to achieve lifelong sobriety. Individual addiction severity and other factors determine how long a patient must stay in such a program for optimum results.

Upon completion of an inpatient addiction recovery program, patients are encouraged to enter a support group or sober living home. These types of programs extend potential for full recovery from substance abuse and help patients transition back into real-world, unsupervised life.

Some programs and facilities are considered luxury treatment centers. These often offer additional aftercare aspects and options for patients long after departure from the inpatient facility.

What to Expect From Inpatient Recovery Programs

Inpatient recovery programs are varied in aspects related to patient physical and psychological needs. But certain traits of inpatient rehabilitation programs are consistent.

These consistencies include:

  • Medical support for detoxification and throughout the program
  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • Management of prescriptions
  • Diagnostic support for underlying medical conditions
  • Therapy for the recovering addict and family
  • 12-step programs
  • Education for prevention of relapse

Self-Help Recovery Programs

Self-help programs for addiction recovery are often structured like 12-step programs. These programs are individually directed but gain the benefits of the structure of support groups.

12-step programs are some of the most popular forms of recovery because they rely upon behavioral treatment or therapy as a foundation. Participants are held accountable for admitting their addiction and use of drugs or alcohol. Each must independently renounce that lifestyle of substance abuse and participate in support groups toward ongoing sobriety.

Some distinct features are consistent throughout self-help recovery programs. Most of these standard elements originated within a text written for Alcoholics Anonymous, dating back to 1939. There are two primary categories of self-help programs. Those are spiritually-connected support groups and secular support groups.

Support Groups With a Spiritual Connection

The two most widely-known support groups centered around a spiritual connection are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Both programs emphasize spiritual connection and turning to a higher power for strength and freedom from addiction. Other programs of this kind include offshoots derived from the principles of AA. Derivatives include Cocaine Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous. All of these AA-type programs employ the 12-step recovery structure.

Alcoholics attend AA, while drug addicts recover through NA. Both programs involve regular support group meetings and peer association throughout recovery from addiction. Abstinence is the enduring goal for participants of both programs and sobriety longevity is celebrated much as an individual’s birthday.

AA, NA, and similar programs provide great success for committed people who participate. There are over 56,000 AA support groups and similar recovery programs in the United States, alone. Almost every community in the country offers a program.

Secular Support Groups

There are three primary secular support groups with widespread availability. Those are Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), Rational Recovery (RR), and Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery). Each of these is an alternative to AA, NA, and other 12-step recovery programs.

Unlike AA, SOS encourages participants to turn to their power, versus a higher power, for guidance through addiction recovery. This organization works well for addicts who want to become sober separate from spirituality or religious affiliation. Local groups operate autonomously, yet present the same fundamental structure and principles in helping individuals in their community attain sobriety. Clear communication and scientific insight are considered the cornerstones to a sober and fulfilling life.

Rational Recovery uses Addictive Voice Recognition Techniques as the basis for addiction recovery. This Addictive Voice, as it is known, is the internal thought or feeling which motivates an addict to turn to drugs or alcohol. Through a commitment to abstinence, RR members use understanding and management of their addictive internal pressures to recover independently and maintain addiction. There is no required support group attendance after a recovering addict has learned the RR techniques.

SMART Recovery utilizes scientific research as the basis for addiction recovery. Prescription medications and therapy are assets within this program which fluidly reacts and changes according to emerging addiction research and medicine. Face-to-face meetings and online meetings are offered daily throughout the United States.

Support Groups for the Families of Alcohol and Substance Abusers

Al-Anon targets friends and family members of recovery alcoholics, to provide support and a forum for those also affected by the addict’s behaviors to share experiences and find solutions to their personal struggles. These programs are available to people with loved ones in all stages of addiction. Participation is not reliant upon the addict being in recovery.

Alateen is a similar program formed around the principles of Al-Anon. Teenagers and children can use this program to navigate their struggles associated with being a friend or family member of an addict.

Nar-Anon is for family members and friends of drug addicts. Also like Al-Anon and Alateen, participation is not reliant upon the user being in recovery or sober. This program is a 12-step process toward helping friends and relatives deal with living with the addict.

What to Expect From Support Groups

Support groups vary from secular to spiritual. They differ in methods of treatment, too. But support groups offer individual members the common goal of achieving sobriety and life free from the struggles of addiction.

Meetings are led by professional therapists or a sponsor who has personally recovered from substance abuse and maintained a sober life with widespread success. Members usually interact within meetings by studying and reading program literature about the 12 steps of recovery.