Whether you’ve just quit drinking or plan to quit drinking soon, it’s a good time to start thinking about alcohol support groups. Even if you quit a while ago, sometimes it helps to hang out with other people who understand an alcohol problem. Alcohol support groups are especially great for helping you maintain sobriety in the long term. Scientific studies show that recovering addicts who enter a support group are much less likely to relapse or start drinking again.
What are Alcohol Support groups?
They’re meetings specifically for people trying to control their drinking. The meetings are an opportunity to share, meet peers, and find a support system. Similar support groups exist for other addictions and mental health disorders. Some have described support groups as “free therapy” because it provides something similar.
At Breathe Life Healing Centers, we host weekly BreatheOUT meetings for those who’ve completed our programs. You can attend in person if you happen to be in the West Hollywood area. If not, you can still participate by tuning into our podcast online.
You may already be familiar with some of the larger networks of alcohol support groups. The most popular, by far, is the 70+-year-old 12 step Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. It’s international and has a current estimated membership of about 2 million people worldwide. Because of AA’s size, you are likely to find a group meeting in your area. Although convenient and popular, AA is not for everyone. They use spiritual, Christian beliefs in their meetings; this can be a positive or negative, depending on your individual needs.
Why you should join a support group for alcoholics
Without further ado, let’s get into the 4 advantages of alcohol support groups.
Duh, obviously! The word support is even in the name. However, we might not realize all that we’re missing until we find it in a group meeting.
Support comes in many forms. We can find it at home, with friends, lovers, and communities of all sorts. These relationships are important and will help you on your recovery journey. However, these “real world” situations and relationships can sometimes get turbulent. The benefit of joining a support group is that you can consistently expect a serene atmosphere of earnest peers looking to help each other.
The supportive environment in group meetings provides a sort of vacation from the real world. Meaning, for a brief time you can exchange the demands and judgments of an anti-alcoholic world, for kindness, understanding, and acceptance.
AA and many other alcohol support groups include a sponsor/sponsee program. This means people in the group pair up to help each other, kind of like a buddy system. Usually, one of the two has been involved with the program longer and is the sponsor. This person is supposed to help initiate, support, and guide the newer member.
Having a partner in the struggle makes you accountable. There’s someone else out there relying on you, who wants to see you succeed. In addition to your sponsor or sponsee, the whole group will start to care about your recovery. Having these relationships makes you more accountable; you won’t want to let these people down by relapsing.
In the words of Brad Lamm, founder of Breathe Life Healing Centers:
The sponsor-sponsee relationship in twelve-step recovery is one of the key components in the process of maintaining long-term sobriety. Initially coined in the early years of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), the sponsor has the single purpose of helping the sponsee recover from the compulsive behavior that brought the sufferer into twelve-step work, which in turn helps the sponsor recover.
3. They Can be Really Fun!
When we quit drinking, a lot of us wonder how we’ll have any fun without alcohol. For a while now, most of our social outings have been about drinking. Going out for a beer, or whatever your poison was, became the standard meet-up plan. It can be hard to adjust your weekend plans to a sober lifestyle, which is why thousands of ex-drinkers have organized support groups and meet-ups to just hang out and have fun.
When we quit drinking, we also usually have to cut out certain relationships. After we distance ourselves from bad influences and toxic relationships, we can be left a little short on friends. Participating in support group outings will help you find a new friend group. Alcohol support groups can be a great way of getting you back out in the world, mixing and mingling again.
4. They’re Free!!
Unlike therapy, alcohol support groups are free, and they can provide similar benefits over the long term. Group meetings are usually organized by normal people like you and I, not psychologists or doctors. They’re about peer-support, so everyone is on an equal level. Sometimes, they may ask for donations to provide refreshments or other services, but otherwise, there are no significant fees for alcohol support groups.
Treat Your Alcohol Abuse Today
Reach out to us at Breath Life Healing Centers if you are struggling with an alcohol problem, we have the resources and expertise to help you break free at our alcohol rehab in Los Angeles.