Alcohol addiction is an isolating disease. People with alcohol use disorders often feel stereotyped, stigmatized and helpless. But there are more resources for people with alcoholism than ever before.
Each year, more than 2 million people attend support group meetings, and more than 1 million receive treatment for alcohol addiction. Help is available for those who seek it, and different types of support exist to treat people with different needs and beliefs.
If you are a friend or family member of someone with an alcohol-related problem, you have options, too. Learn about support groups, resources and reliable information on alcohol addiction.
Support groups allow people in recovery to talk to one another in a safe environment. Listening to the stories of others and learning from their experiences shows individuals that they aren’t alone.
Connecting with other people is so important to recovery that alcohol rehab facilities often introduce clients to support groups. Twelve-step groups are common, but there are several other types of support groups that can benefit people in recovery from alcoholism.
Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest, oldest and most well-known support group for people in recovery from alcoholism. Its purpose is to empower members to achieve and maintain sobriety. AA emphasizes a 12-step program that encourages participants to achieve a spiritual awakening that guides their recovery.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety is composed of support groups located across the United States. The groups use the writings of founder James Christopher as a guide toward a nonreligious path to sobriety. Membership is free and anonymous.
SMART Recovery was developed out of a desire for a scientific, less spiritual self-help approach for recovery from addiction. The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program gives participants tools for recovery. SMART Recovery hosts free online forums and community support groups.
Women for Sobriety is a nonprofit organization that helps women overcome alcoholism. Its New Life self-help program emphasizes 13 acceptance statements that assist women with acknowledging and overcoming the disease of alcohol addiction.
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Celebrate Recovery is a spiritual recovery program based on biblical readings. More than 29,000 churches across the world use the program. Celebrate Recovery teaches people affected by addiction to overcome detrimental habits by introducing them to the words of Jesus Christ.
LifeRing Secular Recovery is an international network of people in recovery from alcohol and other drugs. The group uses peer support to promote personal growth and lead individuals in recovery as they develop personalized strategies for maintaining sobriety.
Alcoholism is a family disease. Its impact isn’t limited to one person. Friends, family members and others close to the alcoholic often experience side effects of the person’s symptoms. Numerous groups help people cope with someone else’s alcoholism and provide guidance for supporting and loving someone with the disease.
Al-Anon is a support group for friends and family members affected by problem drinkers. At Al-Anon meetings, participants share how someone else’s alcohol abuse has affected them. By listening to others, participants learn how to cope with someone else’s problematic drinking.
Alateen is a support group for adolescents and young adults affected by a family member’s alcoholism. At Alateen meetings, youth learn from the experiences of their peers and find support from people their age.
Adult Children of Alcoholics group meetings are held in an estimated 1,500 locations across the United States. Members discuss how their lives were affected by a parent’s alcoholism, and they follow a 12-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. It emphasizes a loss of control over the effects of alcoholism and finding serenity through a higher power.
Co-Dependents Anonymous is a support group for people striving to improve their relationship with someone affected by an addiction. Members practice the group’s 12 steps and principles to recover from codependence.
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids raises awareness of the culture of alcohol and drug abuse in the United States. Parents can learn how to talk to their children about alcohol, how to convince their child to stop drinking and how to support their child’s recovery.
Alcoholism is a complicated disease, and it’s often misunderstood by people who haven’t spent time learning about it. A lot of incorrect information is promoted by people who mistake alcohol addiction for a moral problem. The following organizations are authoritative resources that provide accurate information about alcoholism and related mental health issues.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine is a professional group of more than 4,000 physicians and other professionals who practice addiction medicine. The group’s mission is to improve access to treatment, support research on addiction and educate the public about substance use disorders.
The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry is another professional group composed of health professionals and experts on addiction. The group is dedicated to educating and improving addiction policy, practice and prevention.
The American Psychological Association is the leading group of mental health professionals. The organization establishes standards for the field of psychology.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is a government agency that conducts research on the effects of alcohol on health. It provides educational information for the public.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducts research on alcohol and other drugs. It offers resources and knowledge for people wishing to learn more about the diseases of addiction and alcoholism.
The National Institute of Mental Health oversees research on mental health disorders. It’s the largest biomedical research agency in the world, and it provides resources on a wide range of mental health topics.
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The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is a nonprofit that provides referral services, intervention programs, professional training, prevention information, public awareness campaigns and other recovery resources.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration oversees NIDA, NIAAA and NIMH. It produces a variety of informational pamphlets, e-books and brochures on preventing, treating and recovering from alcohol use disorders.
If you or someone you know needs help achieving or maintaining sobriety, reach out to one of the toll-free hotlines below for support from trained professionals.
Phone: 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)
SAMHSA National Helpline provides information on mental health issues and alcohol use disorders any time of day, every day of the year. You can also call to receive a referral to a local mental health provider.
Phone: 1-800-NCA-CALL (1-800-622-2255)
NCADD Hope Line employs trained professionals that listen to your needs, assist you in determining your best course of action and refer you to appropriate resources in your community.
Phone: 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373)
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’ helpline is for parents whose children are abusing alcohol or other drugs. Support specialists help parents devise a plan for preventing future substance abuse. By using the support groups and resources above, you can become more educated and prepared to face alcoholism or help another person recover from alcoholism. Understanding the disease of addiction is one of the first steps toward sobriety.