Five facts about recovery support group options:
- The “secret sauce” to members’ success in these groups was active involvement, which can take a form as simple as facilitating a meeting or helping to set up the room.
- Leaders of organizations offering a secular alternative to 12-Step support groups felt jubilation over study results published in March in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. The study found that active engagement in a mutual help group offers equivalent benefits no matter which type of group an individual joins.
- Lead researcher Sarah E. Zemore, PhD, senior scientist at the Alcohol Research Group, explains that while effect sizes for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its derivatives have always been large, “The number of people who stick with AA after formal treatment is quite small.” For some, the religious nature of the 12 Steps leads to a search for other options.
- Zemore’s Peer Alternatives in Addiction study compared alcoholand drug use outcomes for participants in 12-Step groups and three secular alternatives: SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety and LifeRing Secular Recovery. After adjustment for possible confounding factors, they found that substance use outcomes at baseline, six months and 12 months were about the same in all groups.
- Preliminary analysis of the data showed that SMART Recovery members had a lower likelihood of abstinence from alcohol at 12 months. But the adjusted analyses uncovered a simple explanation for this: Fewer SMART Recovery members had identified abstinence as their primary goal.
Addiction professionals annually convene at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders to share what’s working: Clinicians hear from thought leaders on delivering treatment, while executives of behavioral healthcare organizations learn how to run more effective, more efficient, and ethically minded businesses.