Step by Step Guides to Finding Treatment for Drug Use Disorders
Support Groups

What about 12-step programs—Do they work?

Although they are not treatment or a substitute for treatment, self-help groups like 12-step programs can be a great source of support and encouragement while a person is engaged in treatment, and after. The most well-known self-help groups are those affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA), all of which are based on the 12-step model.

Most drug addiction treatment programs encourage patients to participate in a self-help group during and after formal treatment. So long as they do not discourage participants from taking medications (which are a crucial part of treatment for opioid addiction and can be helpful in treating alcohol or nicotine addiction), these groups can be particularly helpful during recovery, as they are a source of ongoing communal support and encouragement to stay in recovery. Information on local meetings can be found on their websites. Support groups for family members of people with addictions, like Al-anon or Alateen, can also be helpful.

There are other groups in the private sector that can provide a lot of support. To find meetings in your area, contact local hospitals, treatment centers, or faith-based organizations. These organizations often coordinate support groups for substance use.