For many of us, finding a support group has been the single most important step we have taken in our recovery. Isolation is one of the most powerful and damaging effects of addiction and abuse. Participating in a support group can begin to reduce that isolation. It doesn’t happen all at once – most of us have learned how to stay isolated even when we are in groups! But it can happen. And it can be a powerful way to experience God’s love and attentiveness to us.
The National Association for Christian Recovery is a network of individuals – not a network of support groups. There are no “NACR Groups”. We do, however, want to assist you in finding a support group that will help you in your recovery and we hope that the material provided here will give you a good start.
A few words of wisdom about committing to participation in a support group:
Try to postpone reaching any conclusions about whether or not a particular group will be helpful until you have attended several meetings of the group. Some people suggest that it takes attending 6-8 times before you can really know whether it’s a good fit. Initial reactions are just too complex to be your only guide about this.
The dynamics of support groups are usually quite different from the dynamics of other kinds of groups (like discussion groups or Bible study groups), so don’t assume you already know the social norms. Plan on it taking some time for you to figure out what is appropriate. It’s okay for this to take time!
There is nothing magical about the support group process – it is a tool, but we have to use the tool. There are things a support group cannot do: It cannot do your recovery for you. Only you can do your recovery. But a good support group can offer a safe environment to try out the new skills you are learning, allow you to learn from the experience, strength and hope of others and support you as you take the next step in your recovery.
Take what works and leave the rest. There will probably be stuff that is unhelpful in any group. Expect that. It does not mean that group participation is a bad idea for you. Focus on what works. You can take the next step in your own recovery even in less than optimal circumstances.
If there are no written group guidelines which establish confidentiality as an requirement for all group participants, ask questions. You have a right to know the ‘rules of the game’.
Keep coming back! We all have times when it just doesn’t seem like it’s helping. Learn to distrust the inner voice that says “I can’t change” or “I’m not getting it right” or “my problems are so different from everyone else” or “I’m not getting better fast enough”. It can be hard work sometimes – but you are worth it! You are a precious, lovable, fallible child of God, a unique and irreplaceable treasure! You are worth all the hard work.
The best referrals to groups will come from someone you know who is already a member of a group. If you do not know of any church-based ministries, however, don’t hesitate to start by phoning the larger congregations in your community. Remember that a church which you would not consider attending regularly may nevertheless have a support group ministry which is well suited to your needs.
Here is a list of distinctively Christian 12 step networks:
- Alcoholics for Christ
Today Alcoholics for Christ has over 100 open groups meeting nationwide. There are a number of meetings in prisons, county jails, rehab centers. counseling centers, and other institutions.
- Alcoholics Victorious
There are currently more than 125 groups. They meet mostly in local churches, but also in institutions, including some rescue missions. There is no common format for group process.
- Celebrate Recovery
A ministry of Saddleback Valley Community Church. Offers a Bible-based curriculum for support groups and a growing network of groups.
Re:Generation is a biblically-based 12-step discipleship program for healing, recovery and freedom from any type of struggle. It began at Watermark Community Church in Dallas, TX.
- Christians United Against Addiction
Network of 12 step groups in the Philadelphia area.
- Free in One
Meetings in Los Angeles and Chicago
- Endlich Leben
German-language Christian twelve step groups.
- Overcomers Outreach
Large network of 12 Step groups that ‘bridge’ between the Christian community and the recovery community.
- Prodigals International
A Christian ministry dedicated to helping men, women and families overcome sexual addiction.
- Recovery In Christ Ministries
Recovery In Christ Ministries, Inc. is dedicated to helping any individual or institution in Reaching Out to a Hurting World while enabling true Recovery in Christ.
Spanish language network of Christian twelve step groups.
SECULAR (Not explicitly Christian) RESOURCES
We encourage you not to dismiss lightly the possibility of finding a “secular” support group. In some cases finding a local, explicitly Christian support group may not be a realistic possibility. It is important to remember that most Christians in recovery today began their recovery journey in a ‘secular’ support group – and most still find that participation in ‘secular’ support groups is essential to maintaining their recovery! So, you will find Christians in almost any recovery group.
In some situations, participation in a secular group may mean tolerating some constraints on what can be said about your faith as part of the group process – try to remember that these constraints serve an important purpose for many people and that you can always supplement your secular group experience with other kinds of Christian fellowship in support of your recovery. It is also true that many Christians who struggle with spiritual abuse issues may find it helpful to begin their recovery in a setting which is completely free of religious connections – getting help in a secular setting does not mean that your recovery is any less Christian!
Here is an incomplete list of 12 step fellowships:
- Adult Children of Alcoholics
- Al-Anon, Alateen
- Codependents Anonymous
- Codependents of Sex Addicts
- Families Anonymous
- Nar-Anon Family Groups
- S-Anon International Family Groups
- Alcoholics Anonymous
- Chemically Dependent Anonymous
- Cocaine Anonymous
- Crystal Meth Anonymous
- Heroin Anonymous
- Marijuana Anonymous
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Nicotine Anonymous
- Compulsive Eaters Anonymous – HOW
- Eating Disorders Anonymous
- Food Addicts Anonymous
- Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous
- Overeaters Anonymous
- Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous
- CoSex and Love Addicts Anonymous
- SA: Sexaholics Anonymous
- SAA: Sex Addicts Anonymous
- SCA: Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
- SLAA: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
- SRA: Sexual Recovery Anonymous
- Debtors Anonymous
- Depressed Anonymous
- Dual Recovery Anonymous
- Emotions Anonymous
- On Line Gamers Anonymous
- Survivors of Incest Anonymous
- Workaholics Anonymous
- Recovery Couples Anonymous
Another way to find a support group that fits your situation is to call one of the “Self-help Centers” or “Self-help Clearinghouses” which have formed in many states. Many have a computerized database of different kinds of groups. Often these Clearinghouses are a function of county Mental Health Associations – call your county government offices to see if there is such a center in your area.