Many people have noticed their drinking or drug use has increased during the pandemic. Some have realized their use has crossed over into addiction and need support in stopping or reducing their use. Luckily there are many free programs and meetings available on-line (and in-person meetings will resume post-pandemic). Nearly everyone has heard of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA has an extensive international network of meetings, tons of publications, and is well-established. There are also groups that focus on specific identities: women, LGBTQ people, and youth, for example.
However, AA isn’t for everyone. Some folks would like a meeting focused on the substance they use, for example, marijuana or other drugs. Others want to focus on addictions that are not substances such as sex or gambling. These specific topics are addressed by other groups in the using a modified AA structure. Examples included: Marijuana Anonymous, Sex Addiction Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Over eaters Anonymous.
Still others are dislike the language of AA and the focus on God. This can be especially true to LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced rejection or bigotry from religious institutions in the past. To address this there have been several alternatives to AA, that still have the elements of group support and free meetings. A popular example is SMART recovery. There are also Buddhist-based meetings such as Recovery Dharma, Refuge Recovery, and the Heart of Recovery Programs which do not require being Buddhist or familiar to Buddhism but involve meditations as part of their meetings. There are also secular groups such as LifeRing, Women for Sobriety, Save Our Sobriety (SOS), and Moderation Management. One recovery site, In the Rooms, has a variety of the recovery meetings mentioned above and more on-line.
Recovery from addiction is a journey that can be challenging at times. Having support can make all the difference on that journey. Whether you go to a meeting just to listen to others talk, to share, or to make sober friends, there is something to be gained from attending. Remember that no one meeting represents an entire program. Feel free to look around and try various meetings until you find one or two that feel like a good fit for you.
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