People who are in treatment for alcoholism often need additional support as they work to break free from alcohol addiction, as do their family members and close friends who are trying to help. Support groups and alcohol-dependency recovery organizations can be an essential part of this journey, helping people prevent relapses and deal with the challenges they may face in trying to get sober. Groups dedicated to these goals include:
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): This is a support group that helps people recover from alcohol dependency through group sessions, one-on-one therapy, and support classes. As part of this recovery, AA connects individuals within the group so they have a partner for accountability and encouragement. Together, members of the group follow the 12 steps of AA, which are specific plans for how people can accept their addiction and then choose to lead a life of sobriety. Find a chapter of AA near you by asking your local hospital’s healthcare outreach office for information, visiting www.aa.org, or calling 212-870-3400.
Al-Anon Family Groups is a support network for people who are affected by another person’s alcoholism or alcohol abuse. People who live with the effects and consequences of a person’s addiction can use this group as a way to connect with other individuals facing similar challenges. Through this interaction, friends and relatives can gain a greater understanding of how they can cope and help their loved ones face the struggles of breaking an addiction. Al-Anon also helps people accept and address the emotional and mental effects a loved one’s alcoholism can have. A local chapter of AA can help you connect with an Al-Anon group. You can also ask your local hospital’s healthcare outreach office for more information, visit www.al-anon.alateen.org, or call 888-4AL-ANON (888-425-2666).
Alateen is a support group for children of people with an alcohol dependence or an alcohol abuse problem. Alateen is more about sharing personal experiences and stories rather than receiving lessons or instructions. This process is meant to allow these young people to connect with one another, find support, and help them get more comfortable when reaching out for help. Visit www.al-anon.alateen.org/for-teens for more information and to find a chapter near you. You can also call 888-4AL-ANON (888-425-2666).
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) offers services that can help friends and family prepare an intervention and find appropriate treatment facilities. NCADD can also help direct people suffering from alcohol addiction toward healthcare professionals and other individuals who are coping with many of the same problems. NCADD can connect family members and loved ones with other individuals in similar positions so they can rely on one another, ask questions, and help families learn to cope. To find local NCADD affiliates, call 800-622-2255 or visit www.ncadd.org.
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) provides training and education for clergy, teachers, healthcare providers, and social workers so they are better prepared to address the concerns of children of alcohol-dependent parents. Though NACoA does not provide direct assistance in the form of support groups or therapy, they can help connect children to relevant local organizations. To learn more, visit www.nacoa.org or call 888-55-4COAS.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offers free pamphlets and publications that can offer a wealth of knowledge to addicts, family members, and healthcare professionals. Visit www.niaaa.nih.gov or call 301-443-3860.