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Supporting Recovery In Southport

What Are Addiction Support Groups?


Support or “self-help” groups can be a vital part of the recovery process for people who misuse drugs or alcohol. These groups are designed to provide a supportive space for people who have faced the same challenges or had similar experiences. In a support group, people can share their stories, receive encouragement, and hear about ways to manage their recovery.

Self-help groups include programs like SMART Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and as well as family, church, and community networks. In addition to support groups for people dealing with substance misuse, other groups offer support for their family members and friends. These groups provide advice and encouragement for people whose lives and relationships have been disrupted by substance misuse, as well as those who want to be helpful in their loved ones’ recovery. 

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery, which got its official start in 1994, is a popular alternative to traditional 12-step programs. It’s based on a four-step process that uses cognitive therapy — changing one’s thinking to manage emotions. The program’s Four Points help participants change behaviours that trigger substance misuse:

  • Building and Maintaining Motivation
  • Coping with Urges
  • Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours
  • Living a Balanced Life
Because recovery is an ongoing process, self-help groups provide support both during and after treatment to help individuals remain drug- or alcohol-free and live healthy lifestyles.

In SMART Recovery, trained volunteers work with participants to identify specific behaviours they need to change to avoid misusing drugs or alcohol. They also teach self-control through cognitive and motivational therapies that use thoughts to manage emotions.

Narcotics Anonymous

What is Narcotics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. There is only ONE requirement for membership, the desire to stop using. We suggest that you keep an open mind and give yourself a break. Our program is a set of principles written so simply that we can follow them in our daily lives. The most important thing about them is that THEY WORK. There are no strings attached to N.A. We are not affiliated with any other organizations, we have no initiation fees or dues, no pledges to sign, no promises to make to anyone. We are not connected with any political, religious or law enforcement groups, and are under no surveillance at any time. Anyone may join us, regardless of age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion.

We are not interested in what or how much you used or who your connections were, what you have done in the past, how much or how little you have, but only in what you want to do about your problem and how we can help. The newcomer is the most important person at any meeting, because we can only keep what we have by giving it away. We have learned from our group experience that those who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.

Open To All Addicts
Narcotics Anonymous is a completely voluntary organisation. Membership is open to anyone with a drug problem seeking help, regardless of what drug or combination of drugs have been used, and irrespective of age, sex, religion, race, creed or class. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using drugs.

Values Anonymity
The basic premise of anonymity allows addicts to attend meetings without fear of legal or social repercussions. This is an important consideration for an addict thinking about going to his first meeting. Anonymity also supports an atmosphere of equality in meetings. It helps insure that no individual's personality or circumstance will be considered more important than the message of recovery shared in NA.

We ask your help in maintaining our tradition of personal anonymity by not identifying our members by name or in full face photos as members of Narcotics Anonymous, or by describing details of their personal circumstances which could reveal their identities.

In carrying our message of recovery, we welcome articles about our fellowship, but not in terms of personalities. We are not secret, just anonymous. Cooperation by the press has been very good, and we hope that continued exposure given to the Narcotics Anonymous program will play a major role in attracting the many thousands of addicts who need help. We thank you for your understanding.

Encourages Abstinence 
Narcotics Anonymous encourages its members to abstain completely from all drugs including alcohol because NA members have discovered that complete and continuous abstinence provides the best foundation for recovery and personal growth. Narcotics Anonymous however, takes no stand on the use of caffeine, nicotine, or sugar. Similarly the use of prescribed medication for the treatment of specific medical or psychiatric conditions is neither encouraged nor prohibited by NA. While recognising numerous questions in these areas, Narcotics Anonymous feels they are matters of personal choice and encourages its members to consult their own experience, the experience of other members, and the opinions of qualified health professionals to help them make up their minds about these subjects.

Meetings
The primary service provided by Narcotics Anonymous is the local meetings (held weekly). Each group is autonomous, organising itself according to a series of 12 principles common to the entire organisation. Meetings, which take place in rooms rented from public, religious or other organisations, may be 'open to all', meaning anyone can attend or 'open to addicts only', meaning only for people who want to address their own drug problems. Meetings are facilitated by NA members. Other members may take part by talking in turn about their experiences of addiction and the recovery, strength and hope they've discovered through NA. Please check out the Meetings section for more information about them plus how to find and attend them.

Non-Religious 
Narcotics Anonymous is a non-religious fellowship, encouraging each member to cultivate an individual understanding, religious or not, of a 'spiritual awakening'.

Addicts Helping Addicts 
Narcotics Anonymous believes one of the cornerstones of its success is the therapeutic value of addicts working with each other to achieve recovery. In meetings members regularly share their personal experiences with each other, not as professionals but as ordinary people who have discovered that sharing brings about solutions to their problems. Narcotics Anonymous has no professional therapists, no residential facilities and no clinics. NA provides no vocational, legal, financial, psychiatric or medical services.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), founded in 1935, is one of the best-known support groups. Its 12-step format emphasizes the importance of God or a higher power in the healing process, but it also has been adapted for nonreligious settings. The first step is admitting that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and need help overcoming it. Other steps, such as making amends for pain or harm you may have caused and committing to continuous improvement, aim to help people become whole, shaping a way of life that relieves the urge to drink.

AA and affiliated groups that follow its principles, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous, are found across the country. There are more than 50,000 AA groups nationwide and thousands of Narcotics Anonymous locations worldwide.

While self-help groups are not intended to be a substitute for formal counseling, many addiction treatment programs encourage joining a support group as part of a recovery plan. The traditional 12-step group:
  • Meets on a regular basis, usually weekly, although some gather only as needed.
  • Is led by its members, who share their personal stories to help one another solve problems.
  • Relies on every member’s participation, which can involve talking, listening, or silent gestures of encouragement.
  • Advises participants to team up with a veteran member to be their sponsor: a mentor who can provide individual support and guidance whenever it’s needed.
  • Restricts meetings to members, or in some cases allows family and friends to attend.

Considerations

While drug and alcohol support groups aim to offer the comfort and compassion of people with similar experiences and perspectives, they differ from other treatment methods that some people prefer. Here are some reasons:

  • Support groups may be anonymous but not private. People who are reluctant to talk about their challenges in front of other people or worry that they will see someone they know in the group may be more comfortable with individual counseling.
  • Twelve-step programs have spiritual or religious overtones. Their distinct philosophy, rooted in spirituality, applies to the whole person, not just substance misuse. Some people respond better to a more focused or clinical approach.​

Sources: 
Al-Anon Family Groups 020 7403 0888
Adult Children of Alcoholics 01590610936
Alcoholics Anonymous 0800 9177 650
Cocaine Anonymous 0300 111 2285 (Mobile Friendly) or 0800 612 0225 (Free from UK Landlines)
Narcotics Anonymous 0300 999 1212
UK SMART Recovery 01463 729548

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