Support Groups For Alcoholics

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Support Groups For Alcoholics 

Support groups usually exist in the community as a follow-on support after primary care addiction treatment has completed.

Groups available include Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery, and Al-Anon for family members.

Typically, attendees meet one per week with the objective of assisting each other (mutual aid) in dealing with the issues attached to alcohol addiction.

Support groups for alcoholics are essential in helping people avoid relapse, handle sobriety difficulties, and assist friends and family members.  

Compared to behavioural treatment programmes, support groups and 12 step programmes are an efficient means of increasing abstinence from alcohol problems.  [1 

A study on the effectiveness of peer support groups revealed that support from a peer community has meaningful outcome on addictions to drugs and substance use. [2] 

Alcoholics Anonymous 

Alcoholics Anonymous is the most popular support group and was established in 1935. 

It is a fellowship of recovering alcoholics whose purpose is to help other drug and alcohol addicts recover from alcoholism through meetings and sponsorship. 

It is a free local service in-person and online international group that offers alcohol service and for anyone and families affected, irrespective of their gender, age, and background.

Principles Of AA 12 Step Programme  

AA is based on the 12-step programme that lays out spiritual principles as follows: 

  • Confessing that alcohol abuse and drug use has power over you.  
  • Greater power is the remedy for restoration and  
  • Confession and seeking forgiveness for those you wronged. 

Effectiveness Of AA 

Alcoholics Anonymous is a big group with over 2 million members in more than 120 countries. [3] 

AA has an average yearly attendance of approximately 4.24 million. In the UK, continental Europe specifically, the attendance is at about 400,000 yearly.  

75% of the attendees confirm to be sober for at least two years, while 10% have been sober for not more than half a year. [4] 

The platform is fully equipped with resources to help anyone locate and get useful contacts wherever they are. For example, it has a local resources locator on its website, where you can find it using your postal code. 

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) 

According to NACoA, among young people, one in four children or about 18.25 million children in the US live in families with alcohol or drug problem. [5] 

On the other hand, one in five children in the UK is in families with alcohol-dependent parents. [6 

Uses Of NACoA 

This organisation is a national charity working for family and friends, therefore, offers training, education and confidential advice to social workers, teachers, and health practitioners. 

Although it doesn't offer direct help to children by giving them therapy, it links them to registered charity organisations that can provide such assistance and fully supports frontline workers. 

Al-Anon Family Members Group 

Al-Anon is a 12 step programme with the community of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope to resolve their shared problems. 

Al-Anon is a non-profit national charity organisation that offers support to the families affected and friends of alcoholics and those affected by someone else's drinking problem.  

Al-Anon members adds up to about 700 groups in the UK and Ireland. Anyone that needs help for families of alcoholics can find a haven, strength, and hope while there. [7] 


Uses Of Al-Anon 

Family members, friends, and carers of alcoholics, often attend Al-Anon meetings in the twelve-step programme while trying to cope, and challenge their loved one's drinking. 

Al Anon meetings help participants better understand how to help a loved one face their alcohol dependency, and treatment options.

Smart Recovery For Alcohol & Drug Addiction Support

Smart Recovery is a peer-based recovery support group dedicated to helping people achieve lifelong abstinence from drug or alcohol use. 

The Smart Recovery programme is a registered charity based on drug or alcohol addiction exploration and a support system with a strong psychological emphasis.  

It offers people and family, a choice of recovery support options online and in-person, and looks at the individual as a whole, not simply the alcohol or drugs addiction. 

Family Lives

Family Lives is a charity registered in the UK, providing a confidential helpline and forum community for all aspects of family life, including addiction or alcohol issues.

Taking Action

Real help and support doesn't mean making your life perfect and taking away all difficulties; it means sharing the journey towards a better life and helping you maintain a positive outlook no matter the difficulties. 

Yes, you may get great value and help from the support services, but people are there to serve each other – it's not about receiving sole salvation from carers of the group.  

If you go into a group for help with your drinking and drugs addiction, do so with the knowledge that your fellow members have been where you are now, and that they have something unique to offer.

Be open to hearing their ideas and advice on beating addiction from carers.  

The local support services of a sober community can be invaluable, both in achieving sobriety and keeping it over the long haul.

They have support frontline workers to make it easy to move beyond addiction as easily as possible.

Find alcoholic support for families locally, or online in your area. If you are an alcoholic yourself, talk to a physician or counsellor in the first instance.

If you know an alcoholic, keep encouraging them to face the reality of their drug and alcohol addiction, and to start treatment on the road to sobriety. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023