People seeking or in long-term recovery, along with their families and loved ones, have a growing number of mutual aid groups to choose to participate in. Some of these groups are online and others hold in-person/face-to-face meetings in communities across the country. Helping others as part of a mutual aid group is an important way that many people have sustained their personal long-term recovery.
Find out about the growing number and scope of volunteer recovery mutual aid groups. This one-stop resource is for people in or seeking recovery from substance use disorder, their families and friends, addiction treatment service providers, and other allied service professionals. Numerous research studies have shown that mutual aid groups play a significant role in the process of recovery. Here you can learn about the many varieties of online and in-person mutual aid groups that are helping people find and sustain their recovery from substance use disorder.
The Guide to Mutual Aid Resources was developed by Ernest and Linda Kurtz for the Behavioral Health Recovery Management project in 2001. In 2005, the Guide moved to Faces & Voices of Recovery. Ernest Kurtz continued to manage it with the help of committee members Mike Boyle, Linda Kurtz, Pat Taylor and Bill White. In 2009, Lora Passetti and Bill White took over responsibility for working with committee members to update the Guide. In 2009, Faces & Voices of Recovery received funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Partner for Recovery Initiative to enhance the Guide.
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Faces & Voices of Recovery as an organization honors all pathways of recovery.
Guide to Recovery Groups
BPSO provides useful information and support to the families, friends and loved ones of those who suffer from bipolar disorder (manic depression). “These resources have helped many of us inform ourselves, cope with behaviors that sometimes arise from the illness, better understand our own reactions, and determine how we may best support our loved ones in their efforts to understand and live with this often terrible disease.” Its private, closed and unmoderated online listserv isn’t always available; however, the BPSO website offers many useful links to bipolar resources and websites. Members must not be diagnosed bipolar themselves.
Bipolar World is for individuals with bipolar disorder (manic depression) and the families and friends who care for them to meet, share and support each other. In addition to offering news and advice through links with professionals such as “Ask the Doctor,” there are message boards, chat rooms and resources on topics such as dual diagnosis, veterans with PTSD, teens, and parents of bipolar children.
The Buddhist Recovery Network supports the use of Buddhist teachings, traditions and practices to help people recover from the suffering caused by addictive behaviors. Open to people of all backgrounds, and respectful of all recovery paths, the organization promotes mindfulness and meditation, and is grounded in Buddhist principles of non-harming, compassion and interdependence. It seeks to serve an international audience through teaching, training, treatment, research, publication, advocacy and community-building initiatives. Their 2009 inaugural conference brochure describes their history and mission in great detail.
Founded 2008. In-person meetings in 19 states, Australia, Canada, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
Celebrate Recovery is part of Saddleback Church. Celebrate has eight recovery principles based on the beatitudes. Celebrate Recovery provides peer support and service ministry within a Christ-centered, Bible-based recovery program. Conference listings and Celebrate Recovery tools are available online.
Founded 1990. 10,000 churches.
CDA is a 12-Step fellowship of men and women whose primary purpose is to stay clean and sober and to help others like them to achieve recovery from chemical dependence. The only requirement for membership is a desire to abstain from all mood changing and mind-altering chemicals. CDA does not attempt to replace AA or NA and encourages its members to use other programs along with CDA. CDA offers literature in the form of books and pamphlets including a starter kit for new groups.
Founded in 1980. Over 60 in-person groups mostly in Maryland and Delaware.
Co-Anon Family Groups is a 12-Step fellowship of men and women who are husbands, wives, parents, relatives, or close friends of someone who is dependent on cocaine. Co-Anon’s Emeeting has over 300 members on 5 continents and functions as an “email group”. Co-Anon literature can be ordered through their website, where there are links to other resources including a newsletter that members of any 12-Step group will find helpful.
In-person meetings in 13 states, Canada, the United Kingdom and online.
Cocaine Anonymous is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of anyone who wants to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances (including alcohol and other drugs) and to help others achieve the same.
Founded 1982. Over 2,000 weekly in-person meetings in the U.S. and Canada and 175 meetings in the United Kingdom.
Crystal Meth Anonymous is a 12-Step fellowship whose primary purpose is to lead a sober life and to carry the message of recovery to the crystal meth addict who still suffers. Membership is open to anyone with a desire to stop using drugs. CMA is a relatively young program, with growing activity.
Founded 2000. 500 in-person weekly meetings.
Depressed Anonymous helps to form groups or circles of support for persons depressed. It uses a 12-Step program of recovery to provide therapeutic resources for depressed individuals of all ages and works with the chronically depressed and those recently discharged from health facilities who were treated for depression. Depressed Anonymous seeks to inform and educate the public about the signs and symptoms of depression, inform them of where they can go to seek help and to establish self-help programs in their own communities.
DBSA is a patient-directed organization that focuses on depression and bipolar disorder for individuals with these disorders and their families. In addition to their public education work, support for research and public policy, DBSA offers in-person and online peer mutual aid groups. DBSA also hosts interactive screening and wellness tools.
Founded 1986. 275 chapters and 1,000 peer-run in-person support groups and online.
DTR is a program for people with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. It is a Twelve Step fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope so that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from their particular addiction(s) and manage their mental disorder(s).
Founded in 1989.
State of Oregon. Founded 1996. In-person meetings at over 100 chapters.
DDA is a peer support program based on an authorized version of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with an additional 5 steps that focus on dual diagnosis (mental illness and substance abuse). DDA’s unique 12 steps plus 5 program offers hope for achieving the promise of recovery.
Founded in 1996.