Drug addiction recovery groups

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Building in Texas where recovery groups have meeting
Clubhouse in Texas where recovery groups have meetings.

Drug addiction recovery groups are voluntary associations of people who share a common desire to overcome their drug addiction. Different groups use different methods, ranging from completely secular to explicitly spiritual. Some programs may advocate a reduction in the use of illegal drugs rather than outright abstention, although this is for other programs typically not a sustainable treatment plan in the long term. One survey of members who found active involvement in any addiction recovery group correlates with higher chances of maintaining sobriety. The survey found group participation increased when the individual members' beliefs matched those of their primary support group (often people will be members of multiple addiction recovery groups).[1] Analysis of the survey results found a significant positive correlation between the religiosity of members and their participation in twelve-step programs (self named "spiritual" addiction recovery programs) and to a lesser level in non religious SMART Recovery groups, the correlation factor being three times smaller for SMART Recovery than for the twelve-step addiction recovery groups. Religiosity was inversely related to participation in Secular Organizations for Sobriety.[1]

A survey of a cross-sectional sample of clinicians working in outpatient facilities (selected from the SAMHSA On-line Treatment Facility Locator) found that clinicians only referring clients to twelve-step groups were more likely than those referring their clients to twelve-step groups and "twelve-step alternatives" to believe less strongly in the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral and psychodynamic-oriented therapy, and were likely to be unfamiliar with twelve-step alternatives. A logistic regression of clinician's knowledge and awareness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy effectiveness and preference for the twelve-step model was correlated with referring exclusively to twelve-step groups.[2]

Drug addiction recovery groups take the form of twelve-step programs and non-twelve-step programs.

Twelve-step recovery groups[edit]

The twelve-step program many groups follow are laid out in a twelve-step process. Participants attend meetings and are able to make new connections with other members who are striving towards a similar goal. If a person is unable to attend a meeting face-to-face, many of the groups have meetings by phone or online as another option. Each group has its own textbook, workbooks or both, which provide information about their program of recovery and suggestion on how to "work the steps". Often, free literature is available for anyone who asks for it at a meeting. This provides potential new members or family members with relevant information about both the addiction and that specific groups' version of the twelve-step process of recovery. New members are invited to work with another member who has already been through the twelve-steps at least once. That person serves as a guide to the new member, answers questions and provides feedback as the new member goes through the steps. These groups are spiritually based and encourage a belief in a power greater than the members. Most do not have one specific conception of what that means and allow the member to decide what spirituality means to them as it applies to their recovery. The groups emphasize living on a spiritual yet not necessarily religious basis. Groups typically advocate for complete abstinence, usually from all drugs including alcohol. This is because of the perceived potential for cross-addiction, the idea that there is a tendency to trade one addiction for another. Despite the idea of cross-addiction being accepted as real in many addiction recovery groups, there is said to be little empirical evidence to support it and recent research suggests that the opposite is more likely to be true.[3]

The following is a list of twelve-step drug addiction recovery groups. Most deal with substances such as drugs and alcohol rather than food or certain other behavioral addictions like sex or gambling.

  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - This group gave birth to the twelve-step program of recovery. Meetings are focused on alcoholism only and advocate complete abstinence. Meetings are held all over the world.
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA) - This group is focused on cessation of cocaine and all other mind-altering substances.[4] The program advocates complete abstinence from all mind-altering substances in order to recover from the disease of addiction. Meetings are held all over the world.
  • Heroin Anonymous (HA) - This group is focused on abstinence from heroin along with all other drugs including alcohol.[5] Meetings are held in England and the United States.
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) - This group focuses on abstinence from crystal meth although it does recognize the potential for cross-addiction, the tendency for an addict to substitute one addiction for another.[6] Meetings are currently available in eight countries.
  • Marijuana Anonymous (MA) - This group focuses of recovery from marijuana addiction.[7] Groups meet in eleven countries.
  • Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) - This group is for those desiring to stop the use of nicotine in all forms. Groups are available in many countries.
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) - This group has meetings in 139 countries and focuses on recovery from the use of all drugs and alcohol. The group makes no distinction between any mood or mind altering substance and encourages members to look for similarities the common problem they all share, rather than focusing on the differences.[8]
  • Pills Anonymous (PA) - This group is focused on addiction to pills and all other mind-altering substances. Groups are available in seven countries.
  • Celebrate Recovery (CR) - Celebrate recovery is a recovery program for any life problem, including addiction to drugs and alcohol. The other groups allow for the new members to decide on what a higher power means to them. In celebrate recovery, the group recognizes Jesus Christ as their higher power. Their groups are located in the United States.
  • Pagans in Recovery (PIR) - Pagans in recovery has adapted the twelve step program of recovery into language that is not overtly Christian as it was originally written, so that those with other belief systems can more comfortably work the program. They have their own literature but do not currently have an official site for meeting availability.

Non-twelve-step recovery groups[edit]

These groups do not follow the twelve-step recovery method, although their members may also attend twelve-step meeting also.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Atkins, R.; Hawdon, JE (2007). "Religiosity and participation in mutual-aid support groups for addictions". Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. 33 (3): 321–331. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2007.07.001. PMC 2095128. PMID 17889302.
  2. ^ Fenster, Judy (July 2006). "Characteristics of clinicians likely to refer clients to 12-Step programs versus a diversity of post-treatment options". Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 83 (3): 238–246. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2005.11.017. PMID 16376025.
  3. ^ Editorial Staff. "Exploring Cross Addiction". American Addiction Centers. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  4. ^ "Cocaine Anonymous World Services …And All Other Mind-Altering Substances". ca.org. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  5. ^ "Heroin Anonymous World Services | About". Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  6. ^ https://crystalmeth.org/for-the-fellowship/cma-literature/send/2-cma-literature/11-what-is-crystal-meth-anonymous.html
  7. ^ "Home Page". Marijuana Anonymous World Services. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  8. ^ https://www.na.org/admin/include/spaw2/uploads/pdf/litfiles/us_english/IP/EN3122.pdf

Further reading[edit]