Ambivalence Regarding AA/NA

If you are addicted to alcohol or another drug, should you go to AA or NA? I will tell my clients that they should at least try it once with an open mind. Many times people have decided that they will despise this type of a support group before they even give it a chance. This entry will talk about the misconceptions and possible benefits of adding support groups to your current recovery plan.

Before talking about common misconceptions about these programs I want to say that I do not specifically use the 12 steps as the backbone of my treatment. However, I have had several clients who received my services, and who also participated in AA or NA, who greatly benefited from participating in both treatment and a support group. This is because support groups remind them of their current goals, and help them avoid complacency and overconfidence, which are two common pitfalls that lead clients to use again.

Some common misconceptions about support groups:
“They will force me to be a Christian.”
“They do not want you to participate in therapy.”
“They make you talk.”
“They will force me to do the twelve steps.”

Now keep in mind that all groups are different and have different dynamics. If you go to a group that you do not feel comfortable with, then trying another group is a good idea. You may find that you feel comfortable with this group instead. Also, there are other support groups that do not have anything to do with the 12 steps, such as SMART Recovery, which gives you support, but in a different way.

The reason that I advocate for participation in support groups is that you may benefit from support from individuals who have experienced addiction in their own lives. They likely have a better understanding of each of the steps and struggles that you are facing, and have developed positive ways of dealing with these struggles. It is also important to build new connections with people.

Although I am not currently running a 12-step program, I advocate for participation in support groups for my clients. This may be by participation in the best known support groups of this kind, AA and NA, but you could also participate in many other support groups as well. To find local resources, check the resources tab of Vantage Point menu.

As always, contact me if you have any further questions on my thoughts regarding support groups or if you need further assistance in deciding which may be the best fit for you.


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