Community Support, Mutual Help or “Self-Help” organizations, Other faith based mutual help, Natural recovery
Self-help groups, also known as mutual help, mutual aid, or support groups, are groups of people who provide mutual support for each other. In a self-help group, the members share a common problem, often a common disease or addiction. Their mutual goal is to help each other to deal with, if possible to heal or to recover from, this problem. While Michael K. Bartalos (1992) has pointed out the contradictory nature of the terms “self-help” and “support,” the former U.S. surgeon general C. Everett Koop has said that self-help brings together two central but disparate themes of American culture, individualism and cooperation (“Sharing Solutions” 1992). In traditional society, family and friends provided social support. In modern industrial society, however, family and community ties are often disrupted due to mobility and other social changes. Thus, people often choose to join with others who share mutual interests and concerns.
Twelve-step groups are the most frequently encountered MHOs, have a non-denominational spiritual orientation, and referral to these groups is considered an evidence-based practice. Other groups like SMART Recovery, though less prevalent and less well studied, are based on principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, have a more secular orientation and are also popular with many people in recovery.
Community Support Groups
- AA – Alcoholics Anonymous:
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
- Al-Anon/Alateen, for friends and families of alcoholics:
Al-Anon defines itself as an independent fellowship with the stated purpose of helping relatives and friends of alcoholics. Al-Anon holds the view that alcoholism is a family illness. Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.
- CA – Cocaine Anonymous:
Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances. CA uses the Twelve Step Recovery Program; because it has already been proven that the Twelve Step Recovery Program works.
- CMA – Crystal Meth Anonymous:
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from addiction to crystal meth. Our primary purpose is to lead a sober life and to carry the message of recovery to the crystal meth addict who still suffers.
- GA – Gamblers Anonymous:
Gamblers Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who meet on a regular basis to share their experience, strength, and hope in order to arrest their gambling and cope with other gambling-related problems. They have found that the sharing of truthful feelings and thoughts at meetings is an extremely powerful antidote in helping people to stop, and stay stopped from gambling. However, even if a person continues to wager or has periodic relapses, he or she is still encouraged to attend meetings.
For friends and family members of problem gamblers- Gam-Anon groups are composed of men and women who are husbands, wives, relatives or close friends of compulsive gambler. They are seeking a solution for living with this problem by changing their own lives.
- HA – Heroin Anonymous:
Heroin Anonymous is a non-profit fellowship of men and women who have found a solution to heroin addiction. HA is a fellowship of complete abstinence from all drugs and alcohol. We are recovered heroin addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay sober. Heroin Anonymous is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of heroin addicts who turn to us for help.
- MA – Marijuana Anonymous:
Marijuana Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using marijuana.
- NA – Narcotics Anonymous:
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) describes itself as a “nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem”. Narcotics Anonymous uses a traditional 12-step model that has been expanded and developed for people with varied substance abuse issues and it is the second-largest 12-step organization.