We must move in our recovery from one addiction to another for two major reasons: first, we have not recognized and treated the underlying addictive process, and second, we have not accurately isolated and focused upon the specific addictions.
Anne Wilson Schaef
Finding my recovery tribe has been hard. Having belonged to several different 12 step recovery groups, I have not found a place where I can talk about my dual diagnosis–alcoholism and depression. Yet 50% of those in the rooms have both–addiction and mental illness. I believe most of what is labeled “relapse” is really untreated mental illness. Sad, but true. Mental illness is a taboo topic at addiction recovery meetings. How can we recover if we can’t be honest?
Addiction is complex and recovery and/or treatment needs to be complex. Each person needs help with social, mental, physical, emotional, employment, legal, relationship, and spiritual issues. Just going to a 12 step program doesn’t help a recovering person with all these issues. Having a 12 step home group as a foundation for recovery provides peer support, framework for positive life change, and disciplined accountability needed to stop addiction. But additional help is needed.
Every one of our courses includes links to online support groups arranged according to type of support offered. Much of what is labeled “relapse” is really untreated mental illness. Having a home group plus adding online support communities is a strong recovery plan. Our mission is to bring new ideas, resources, and online sites together in one place so each member can locate the resources each needs.
Guide to Mutual Aid Resources
Mutual aid is the process of giving and receiving non-clinical and non-professional help to achieve long-term recovery from addiction. There are mutual aid groups for people seeking, initiating and sustaining their recovery and for their families and significant others. Sometimes they are called self-help groups, but we prefer the term mutual aid groups because most people seeking help have exhausted efforts on their own to achieve enduring recovery.
Mutual aid group members voluntarily support one another by providing social, emotional, and informational support. People who participate in mutual aid groups typically increase the likelihood of sustaining their recovery as well as improving their physical and emotional health and well being. Approximately 5 million Americans (2% of the population over the age of 12) attend mutual aid/self-help group meetings each year.
The growing variety of mutual aid groups increases the choices that people in or seeking recovery and family members have to find a support network that will work for them. This Guide was developed to inform the recovery community and service providers about these critical recovery resources.
The Addiction Recovery Guide
Welcome to the Addiction Recovery Guide Message Board. This is a place to share your experiences and questions about treatments for drug and alcohol addictions. If you have questions as to what is appropriate, be sure to review our posting guidelines. Our moderators have no conflicts of interest here, their posts are not influenced and are always made under the name: Moderator.
Twelve Step Help
Step Work Support Groups
Large Database of Addiction Online Groups
Large database of online groups and help arranged by type of addiction– http://www.12step.org/directory/addiction.php
Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
Generally, prolonged withdrawal syndrome is not recognized by medicine. You will find very few doctors to diagnose it and still fewer to treat it. This is a collection of links that might help you educate yourself so that you can find more appropriate care when the time comes as well as hopefully avoiding falling ill at all. I found that being well-educated and finding doctors who respected how much effort I put into educating myself helped me. It must be said, though, that it is also a curse because for every doctor who appreciates a knowledgeable patient there are likely 15 or 20 or maybe even more who feel threatened by that same patient. Still, it is a plus to know what we are doing:
Large database of online groups and help arranged by type of addiction–http://www.12step.org/directory/addiction.php
Help Links for Abuse Survivors—http://www.blueknot.org.au/Resources/Links
PTSD Resources from healthyplace.com
Formal PTSD recovery groups are also available. Some of these groups are dedicated to PTSD recovery and others focus on anxiety disorders in general. Find post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) support groups and help through:
- Anxiety Disorder Association of America (ADAA) offers self-help information online as well as information on PTSD support groups
- ADAA also offers information on finding a therapist for anxiety disorders
- National Center for PTSD provides further information on finding a PTSD recovery therapist
- Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) offers a program locator which allows searching for PTSD recovery treatment programs by state
- The VA National Center for PTSD also offers several help options for those who have served in the military
You can find online post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) help and support through:
- HealthyPlace PTSD forums
- Anxiety Disorder Association of America offers online forums as well as self-help information: http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/self-help-publications
- PTSD Forums provide online PTSD peer support groups
- Daily Strength provides online PTSD peer support groups
- Mental Health of America provides online PTSD information for the general public and for veterans specifically
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides support and programs
- National Center for PTSD provides online PTSD information for the general public as well as veterans specifically
PTSD: US Department of Veterans Affairs
Peer support groups can be an important part of dealing with PTSD, but they are not a substitute for effective treatment for PTSD. If you have problems after a trauma that last more than a short time, you should get professional help.
How can I find a peer support group?
Here are some ideas to help you find a peer support group that can help you deal with PTSD or a traumatic experience:
- Do an online search for “PTSD support groups” or for a group that relates to the specific trauma you experienced, like “disaster support groups.”
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers a list of support groups across the country for a number of different mental health conditions, including PTSD.
- Sidran Institut e Help Desk Help Desk locates support groups for people who have experienced trauma. Sidran does not offer clinical care or counseling services, but can help you locate care or support.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Information HelpLine provides support, referral and information on mental illness care. You may also find family support groups in a NAMI state or local affiliate online or by calling 1(800)950-NAMI (6264).
- We also have information on our Helping a Family Member Who Has PTSD (en Español) webpage for anyone providing care to a loved one with PTSD.
Are there resources specific to Veterans and their families?
If you are a Veteran, or are a caregiver or family member of a Veteran, there are resources to help you deal with specific concerns:
- If you feel that you or your Veteran is in crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press “1.” You can also use the online chat, email, or texting service of the Veterans Crisis Line for immediate needs.
- Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center 1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran, or visit the Vet Center homepage to ask about local support groups.
- The VA Caregiver Support Line provides services and support to family members who are taking care of a Veteran. Call 1-855-260-3274 or visit VA Caregiver Support.
- If you are a Veteran who wants to share your knowledge and experience with other Veterans dealing with mental health conditions, learn about VA’s Peer Specialist and Peer Support Apprentice positions.
- Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) Outreach Center provides 24/7 information on psychological health and traumatic brain injury. Consultants can help you locate community resources by phone (1-866-966-1020) or email.
- For children with parents who have deployed, the Department of Defense created MilitaryKidsConnect (MKC), an online resource for kids to find information and support.
- We also have a list of resources on our Help Your Veteran Get Needed Care (en Español).