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What To Look For In Drug Addiction Support Groups

Choosing the right one from the available drug addiction support groups can be difficult. Since many are volunteer groups, the quality of support may vary greatly. Sadly, some groups can end up being more harmful then helpful. Some groups can even be abusive. So it's absolutely critical that you find an addiction group that's going to be helpful and not harmful for you. Below are four things to look for when trying to find good drug addiction support groups:

1. Get a referral! Get a referral! Get a referral!

The best way to find good addiction groups in your area is to ask someone who would know. Getting a referral should help you find well-established and organized meetings in your area. Doctors, counselors, nurses and school psychologists/guidance counselors are generally great sources of information about addiction groups. Reach out to a few of these experts and ask them where they would recommend you find a good addiction group.

2. Look for AA, NA or Al-anon groups being help at hospitals or churches.

When looking for a group, try to find groups that meet at churches or hospitals. Many churches host AA, NA and/or Al-anon meetings. Groups that are organized at churches or hospitals tend to be less dysfunctional and much more well- organized. Additionally, they are also less likely to have people selling drugs to the group. Meetings at stand alone locations can be magnets for drug dealers trying to get vulnerable people to relapse. Meetings can also attract sexual predators, so extra caution should be used when deciding which meetings to attend, and during attendance at meetings.

To find a meeting at a church or hospital, search AA meetings online and look for church or hospital meeting locations. You can also go to your local hospital and ask them if they host any AA groups.

3. Go to a few meetings and listen before you commit to a group.

Never pick a meeting right away. Always go to the meeting and listen for at least two or three meetings before you commit to the group and choose a sponsor. Also, try multiple meetings in your area. Don't choose the first group you attend. Once you've attended a few  different groups a few times, you'll get a sense of which meeting is the best fit and which you would be comfortable attending on a regular basis.

Questions to ask yourself while at the meeting:

  1. Do you feel comfortable with the people in this group?
  2. Is it well-run? Does it start and end on time? Do they stick to the topic?
  3. Does it support the importance of confidentiality?
  4. Do the people in the group seem to have similar issues to you?

4. Make sure they are actually working the 12-steps.

Once you go to the meeting a few times, make sure the group is actually working the 12-steps. This is absolutely critical! The main reason you are attending these groups is to work the 12-steps. If they’re not working the 12-steps than you are not going to benefit from going to that group--it's that simple.

They may be fun to be with and supportive of your issues. But if they're not working the steps, you are wasting your time. Working the 12-steps in the most imperative thing that you must do to understand addiction and figure out how to move past it. The 12-steps must be a fundamental part of why they are conducting the meeting. If you go a few times and they're not working the 12-steps, move on and find a different group.

Visit our 12-step page to review the steps as you look for drug addiction support groups.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

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