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Group Therapy for Alcoholics

Alcohol addiction recovery requires focus, discipline and a strong support network. The theory behind alcohol addiction support is that the best persons to understand the challenges of addiction recovery is another person who is experiencing or has experienced the same challenges. During treatment, the patience is surrounded by professionals in the field and other alcoholics. Return to the real world can be intimidating prospect.

There is a comfort in the treatment center that can dissipate quickly when the real word experience invades the alcoholic’s space. Before discharge from the treatment center, the patient will be issued a discharge plan. The discharge plan will include a number of recommendations about how to avoid the pitfalls that contribute to the disease.

Many times, persons in recovery simply need help resisting temptation and preventing relapse. This assistance can come in many forms, including a phone number of a recovering alcoholic who volunteers to talk with you at any time or in group support meetings where there are no holds barred.

Alcoholics that benefit the most from rehabilitation build and regularly use expansive support networks. Recovery from alcohol addiction is a lifelong endeavor that has the potential for relapse at the most unexpected moments. When confronted with these challenges, alcohol addiction support groups are an outstanding opportunity to release and vent as well as receive dedicated support.

The 12-Step Recovery Program

The 12-step treatment program is the most proven rehabilitation program for recovering alcoholics. Originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, the 12-step program is the staple of addiction treatment centers. Some centers have refined or made adjustments to the original format but the principles of the 12-step program serve as sound framework for rehabilitation.

Denial is a powerful symptom of all addiction including alcohol addiction. In efforts to get denial on the table, the 12-step program requires participants to state that, “We admit we were powerless under our alcohol addiction.” It seems like an easy step, but it addresses a critical psychological element of addiction.

The 12-step program teaches alcoholics that they can live their life without alcohol. They may need to change their lifestyle and their environment but by confronting the fact that the individual is an alcoholic, the path is clear to begin to learn to live without the substance.

The 12-step program or other faith-based programs or any other type treatment will place great emphasis on identifying the contributing factors to the addiction. Much time will be spent learning how to manage emotions when the addict is confronted with a challenge.

When the recovering alcoholic is released from the program, the possibility of relapse is strong. This is why most treatment centers will arrange contacts at one or more relapse support programs for the patient before discharge.

Types of Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - AA is the largest support group for male and female alcoholics in the country. There are many public and private facilities in communities that permit chapters of AA to use their facilities for support meetings. The typical meeting is an open forum where attendees introduce themselves and discuss challenges that they are facing during recovery.

Most chapters ask volunteers to participate in a mentor program. Every recovering alcoholic who participates in these meetings will have at least one mentor. The mentor agrees to be available at any time. The mentor provides the student with a contact number and encourages the new participant to call to discuss anything that is bothering him or her.

Each AA support group has a leader who calls the meeting to order and makes any important announcements. At some meetings, a topic is discussed before the meeting turns into an open discussion.

Most 12-step treatment centers encourage their patients to join in AA relapse prevention programs immediately upon discharge. The theory is that, at discharge and upon return to the real world, without the support received at the center, the patient is vulnerable to relapse. In many communities, AA support group meetings are held at multiple times of the day and night every day of the week.

The only requirement for AA membership is that the alcoholic must have a desire to stop drinking. AA has no denominational ties, requires no dues or fees and should be considered a productive, user friendly opportunity for recovering alcoholics. AA support meetings provide members the opportunity to share experiences, gain strength from each other and continue their hopeful pursuit of abstinence. Attendees need not be afraid. Meetings and participants have the same goals - to help participants maintain sobriety.

Al-AnonAl-Anon is a 50-year old support network for families, friends and teens who seek a better understanding of their role in helping the alcoholic and offering support once the alcoholic agrees to treatment. Al-Anon was created by recovering alcoholics of the AA program.

Al-Anon meetings encourage group participation as attendees discuss their fears, experiences, frustrations, hopes and failures. Many persons with ties to an alcoholic attend these meetings to gain insight and direction. Al-Anon promotes self-reflection, the establishment of boundaries, and follow-through on consequences if the boundaries are crossed.

Alcoholics who enter treatment through Al-Anon will participate in the 12-step program used by AA.

Al-Anon TeensAl-Anon Teens applies the same principles as Al-Anon. Alcohol addicted teens, teen alcohol abusers, concerned parents and friends are free to attend meetings and learn about behavioral and physical patterns of alcoholism as well as about the Al-Anon 12-step treatment program.

Faith-Based Support Groups – Most religions in the US offer faith-based treatment programs and faith-based relapse prevention support groups. The support meetings usually take place in the church or school. They are public forums, but many faiths offer private session as well.

Faith-based recovery alcohol addiction centers may not use the 12-step treatment program. Prescription medications are rarely used to ease the symptoms during detox and withdrawal. Faith-based-treatment programs can vary greatly. There are both residential treatment centers and outpatient faith-based alcohol addiction treatment centers.

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)ACOA is a support group designed to assist adult children of alcoholics. The format is an open forum. Participants are eager to learn about alcoholism and their role in helping an alcoholic enter treatment or assist in the recovery process. Many of these participants do not understand the disease or the actions of the alcoholic and have suffered.

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