Mutual Aid Resources
Guide to Mutual Aid Resources
People seeking or in long-term recovery, 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 found to sustain 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 addiction, their families and friends and for 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 addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
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. Email us at email@example.com with your ideas and suggestions.
Faces & Voices of Recovery as an organization does not endorse particular recovery mutual aid group. We honor all pathways of recovery.
The 16-step empowerment model is a holistic approach to overcoming addiction that views people in their wholeness – mind, body and spirit. A fundamental basis of this model is flexibility and an openness which leads to continually ask: What works? Who does it work for? and How can we help it work better? It encourages people to be continually open to new information and not to become trapped in dogmatic teachings. At its core, this model is based on love not fear; internal control not external authoritarianism; affirmation not deflation; and trust in the ability of people to find their own healing path when given education, support, hope and choices.
There is an increasing number of groups within AA that are not religious in their thinking or practice. These groups don’t recite prayers at the beginning or ending of their meetings nor do they suggest that a belief in God is required to get sober or to maintain sobriety. The AA Agnostica website does not endorse or oppose any form of religion or atheism.
A nondenominational network of Christ-centered support and recovery groups. Meetings are open to men and women of all ages who struggle with various addictions and who are seeking lasting change in their lives. Loved ones and friends are also welcomed. AV partners with local church families and various Christian ministries that desire to reach out to those who are struggling with addiction-related issues.
In-person meetings in seven states (MD, MA, NE, NJ, NY, PA, WA).
AddictionSurvivors.org is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing peer support communities for those with addiction disorders and their families and friends. Their forums include communities for opioid addiction, alcohol dependence, stimulant addictions, and benzodiazepine addiction.
Adult Children of Alcoholics is an anonymous 12 step, 12 tradition program of women and men who grew up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. Members meet with each other in a mutually respectful, safe environment and acknowledge common experiences. They discover how childhood affected them in the past and influences them in the present.
AFIRM has links to Methadone Anonymous, Methadone Patient Support and Community Education Project. AFIRM spun off from Methadone Anonymous and is a self help group for, and led by, current and former methadone maintenance treatment patients. “Have you ever attended a 12-Step meeting and were not allowed to ‘share’ because you are a methadone patient? Have you ever gone to one of these meetings and felt like you could not be honest about being a methadone patient because there were things you needed to talk about?” AFIRM is useful for people who want to follow a 12-Step program while on methadone maintenance.
Founded 1955 with over 24,000 in-person groups in 115 countries. Fellowship of men, women and children whose lives have been affected by a family member or friend’s drinking. Al-Anon Family Group information is available in English, Spanish, and French. In general Al-Anon groups prefer that only family and friends of alcoholics attend their meetings. In Al-Anon, the focus is on the family member or friend, not the person with alcoholism. All family members, children, spouses, parents and friends or employers are welcome.
Fellowship of men and women who come together to share their experience, strength and hope with the purpose of staying sober and helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. AA materials are available in English, Spanish and French. More specific information on AA members including the 2004 AA survey is available on the AA website. There are many online AA meetings. To find meetings in the U.S. and Canada, inquire at local AA offices or view AA’s online list. A growing number of private firms are offering text and other applications for finding AA meetings at no cost.
The Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous was formed to serve all online AA Groups in the rapidly growing online fellowship. It offers links to international sites in several languages and sponsors real time meetings, email meetings, events calendar, information and links to other sites and groups. There are an extraordinary number and variety of online groups available for US participants. More information can be found here. Membership in the Intergroup is open to all online AA groups and all AA members.
AA has meetings for young people, women and other groups.
An interdenominational, Christian fellowship that ministers to three groups: alcoholics or substance abusers, family members, and adult children raised in families affected by alcohol or substance abuse. Alcoholics For Christ ministries provide nondenominational, Jesus-centered, substance abuse support groups that utilize a common format and can be supported by the entire Bible-believing Christian community worldwide.
Founded 1977. Over 100 open in-person groups nationwide, many in metro-Detroit.
AV groups use the 12 Steps and the Alcoholics Victorious Creed in meetings. AV offers a “safe environment for recovering people who recognize Jesus Christ as their ‘Higher Power.’” Alcoholics Victorious is a public service of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. The AV website has a good directory of 12-Step and non-12 Step recovery resources and websites.
All Addicts Anonymous (AAA) is a program for all addicts and all addictions. It is grounded in the principles of the Four Absolutes, the Twelve Steps, and the Ten Points as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous.
Nonprofit support group for parents whose children (of all ages) have behavioral problems, including alcohol and/or drug use. Focus is on providing structure, consequences and consistency in addressing these issues. BILY Too – The Youth Group youth peer support groups, are available in some areas.
Founded 1982. In-person meetings in 14 states (mostly in California) and Canada.
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.
DRA is a nonprofessional, independent, 12-Step based self-help organization for people with a dual diagnosis – people with chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illnesses. DRA’s Preamble and Twelve Traditions help guide its meetings, groups, intergroups, and service boards to operate in ways that best nurture the recovery of all members of its Fellowship.
Founded 1989. 880 in-person meetings.
EA is a 12-Step fellowship of people who come together for the purpose of working toward recovery from emotional difficulties. EA is most suitable for people who are dually diagnosed and already attend AA or NA and people who want to use the 12 steps for emotional concerns not limited by diagnosis. Information available in English, Spanish, French, Japanese, and Spanish.
Founded 1971. 1000 chapters.
Families Anonymous (FA) is a 12-Step, self -help recovery program and fellowship of support groups for relatives and friends of those who have alcohol, drug or behavioral problems. Website includes information on meetings, literature, and an e-meeting. For those affected by drug or alcohol abuse, or related behavioral problems of a relative or friend.
Founded 1971. Over 500 in-person groups and online.
Gam-Anon is a 12-Step fellowship for men and women who are husbands, wives, relatives or close friends of compulsive gamblers who have been affected by the gambling problem. Gam-Anon’s purpose is to help individuals learn acceptance and understanding of the gambling illness, and to use the program to rebuild lives, and give assistance to those who suffer. Gam-Anon follows the same guidelines as Al-Anon Family Groups.
Founded 1960. 500 in-person groups.
GA is a fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other to recover from compulsive gambling by following a 12-Step program. Gamblers Anonymous has developed Twenty Questions to help individuals decide if they are compulsive gamblers and want to stop gambling. GA has a toll-free national hotline at 888-GA-HELPS or 888-424-3577.
Founded 1957. Approximately 1200 in-person meetings.
Founded by parents who lost their child to addiction, GRASP is a model support group for those who have lost loved ones. The group’s founders have information on forming groups and a link where departed loved ones can be commemorated. There’s information on coping methods, meditations, literature recommendations, and other resources and personal reflections. This group is representative of many local groups that respond to the need for support by relatives who have lost someone to alcohol and/or drugs.
Founded 2002. Seven in-person groups.
GROW, International, was originally organized in Australia. GROW in America is fully developed in Illinois and New Jersey, with some groups in Rhode Island. People come to GROW with diverse problems in living, such as mental health issues, emotional troubles, or difficulty coping with grief, loneliness, anxiety or stress. GROW offers leadership training and consultation to develop new groups.
Founded 1957. 650 in-person groups in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and other countries.
The Harm Reduction, Abstinence, and Moderation Support (HAMS) Network is a free-of-charge, peer-led support group for people concerned about their use of alcohol, marijuana, nicotine and/or caffeine. HAMS is open and welcoming to people who wish to reduce or eliminate the harm in their lives caused by any substance or any behavior. The 11 elements of the HAMS program help members to achieve safer use, reduced use, or abstinence from alcohol/drugs. HAMS sponsors live meetings in New York City and a chat room and email group as well articles on its website.
HA is a 12-Step program adapted from AA’s 12 steps and is concerned solely with the personal recovery and continued sobriety of heroin addicts. There are no dues or fees for membership. HA will assist new groups that seek to begin meetings in new locations.
Founded 2004. In-person meetings in 11 states (AZ, CA, GA, IL, LA, MI, OH, SC, TX, UT, WA).
InTheRooms.com is the World’s Largest, Online Social Network for the Global Recovery Community. InTheRooms is for people already in Recovery, Seeking Immediate Help from any Addiction, and their Family, Friends and Allies. You will have unlimited access to over 117 live online Recovery meetings weekly. ITR offers AA, NA, and other 12 Step and non 12 Step Support Groups, Geo Locatable Global Meeting Finder, Daily E Meditations, Afternoon Affirmations, Free iPhone and Android Apps, Speaker Tape Library and much more. Join over 444,855 who are willing to share their Experience, Strength and Hope with you 24 / 7 / 365.
JACS assists the Jewish community in exploring recovery in a nurturing Jewish environment. It is a self-help/mutual aid movement of recovering Jewish people empowering themselves, talking to their communities and advocating for services on behalf of addicted Jews and families.
Founded 1978. About 50 groups.
An online social networking tool with virtual meetings for the Jewish Recovery Community.
In the Rooms is a comprehensive online social network for the recovery community worldwide. Their mission is to help, inform, touch, connect, and heal those already in recovery, seeking recovery, and the family and friends supporting recovery around the world.
LifeRing sponsors face-to-face groups and online connections to chat rooms, discussion forums, blogs, and links to sources of information related to recovery from addiction. LifeRing is not affiliated with any other organization, and is independent financially, legally, and organizationally. LifeRing meetings are started and led by peer volunteers called “conveners.”
Founded in 2001. Over 115 in-person groups and online.
Marijuana Anonymous is a 12-Step fellowship that addresses the common problem of marijuana addiction. There are in-person and online meetings. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using marijuana. The website offers daily online meetings led by a volunteer and a chat room. In addition they offer literature and an online newsletter.
Meetings (in 39 states and nine foreign countries) and online.
Methadone Anonymous Support is a 12-Step program for people recovering from opiate addiction. The website’s meeting locator is organized by state and hosts daily online meetings and forums. There are recovery stories and an expert to answer questions.
In-person meetings in most states and online.
National. Founded 1989. 50 groups including prison-based meetings.
Millati Islami is a fellowship of men and women, joined together on the Path of Peace. We share our experiences, strengths, and hopes while recovering from our active addiction to mind- and mood-altering substances. Following Millati Islami’s 12 Steps to Recovery, members look to Allah (G-D) to guide us on Millati Islami (the Path of Peace). While recovering, we strive to become rightly guided Muslims, submitting our will and services to Allah. members look to Allah (G-D) to guide us on Millati Islami (the Path of Peace). While recovering, we strive to become rightly guided Muslims, submitting our will and services to Allah.
MM groups support problem drinkers who want to reduce their drinking and make other positive lifestyle changes and is for people who have experienced mild to moderate levels of alcohol-related problems. Moderation Management’s online support group is for people who want to limit their alcohol intake without total abstinence. MM requires that participants begin with abstinence for 30 days and recommends AA or another abstinence program for who cannot follow “the MM limits.”
Founded 1993. In-person meetings in 17 states (CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IL, MD, MA, MI, MO, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, TX, WV) and online.
The main goal of this site is to reduce the stigma and misinformation surrounding the use of Methadone Maintenance Treatment (MMT) during pregnancy through the sharing of accurate information and support. This site offers support, education and hope to expectant women in recovery from an opioid dependence who are utilizing MMT. Expectant and postpartum MMT patients and the professionals who care for them are welcome and encouraged to join.
Nar-Anon Family Groups is a 12-Step program for relatives and friends who are concerned about the addiction or drug problem of another. Nar-Anon’s program of recovery is adapted from Narcotics Anonymous and uses Nar-Anon’s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts. Nar-Anon literature is available on its website.
NA is a fellowship of men and women who come together for the purpose of sharing their recovery from drug abuse. NA members are working together in a spirit of unity and cooperation to carry their message of recovery. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using. NA members share their successes and challenges in overcoming active addiction and living drug-free, productive lives through the application of principles contained within the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of NA. Information is available in several languages, on audio tapes and in Braille.
NA has meetings for young people, women and other groups.
Founded 1953. Over 61,000 in-person groups in US and 129 countries.
Nicotine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women helping each other to live our lives free of nicotine. “The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using nicotine.” Information available in 13 languages.
Founded 1980. In-person meetings (36 states and 35 countries) and online.
The Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous was formed to serve all online AA Groups in the rapidly growing online Fellowship. It offers links to international sites in several languages and sponsors real time meetings, email meetings, events calendar, information and links to other sites and groups. The number and variety of online groups available for U.S.A. participants is truly extraordinary. More information can be found here. Membership in the Intergroup is open to all online AA groups and all AA members. There are no dues or fees for membership.
Opiates Anonymous is a 12 step fellowship whose members have a desire to stop using opiates and all other mind altering substances. Our members share their experience on how they have recovered from a hopeless state so that they may help others to recover. We do not endorse nor oppose any outside causes. We wish to stay free from any controversy. We are not affiliated with any political organizations, religions, sects, or denominations. Our Seventh Tradition states that we are fully self-supporting declining outside contributions. The only membership requirement is a desire to stop using opiates and all other mind-altering substances. Our Fifth Tradition states that our primary purpose is to carry the message to the addict who still suffers. Our 12 Step Recovery Program is based on the instructions in the first 164 pages of the book Alcoholics Anonymous because our experience has shown us that it is simple and that it works.
Overcomers Outreach are Christian recovery support groups using the 12 Steps and scripture. The ministry offers support to those with a wide variety of mental health and addiction problems including depression, relationship difficulties, and more. Everyone is welcome at their meetings. The groups operate within local churches and community. Overcomers Outreach Online includes blogs, stories and comments. Overcomers Outreach also has a radio show.
Founded 1977. Over 1,000 in-person groups and online.
RA is a 12-Step spiritual recovery program that is “solution focused” for all problems and behaviors including addiction. Anyone seeking a solution for any kind of addiction, problem or behavior. Families and friends welcome.
Founded 1981. 50 chapters.
A fellowship of couples, many of whom participate in other 12-Step fellowships. RCA members are working to solve their common problems and help other recovering couples restore their relationships. The only requirement for RCA membership is a desire to remain in a committed relationship. Click here to locate an in-person meeting and here for online and telephone meetings.
A community mental health mutual aid group that offers a self-help method of will training; a system of techniques for controlling temperamental behavior and changing attitudes toward nervous symptoms, anxiety, depression, anger and fears. Online chat groups and telephone meetings.
Founded 1937. Over 700 in-person groups and online.
SOS is a network of autonomous, nonprofessional local groups dedicated solely to helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety. SOS is a secular program of recovery and takes a self-empowerment approach. SOS is useful for people with alcohol and other drug problems who have difficulty with the spiritual aspects of many mutual aid groups. SOS has family and friend groups.
Founded (as Secular Sobriety Groups) 1985. Over 750 groups and online.
A non-profit established in 1994. Offers more than 950 weekly face-to-face meetings and 30 online meetings for individuals seeking to abstain from substances or activities. SMART Recovery (Self Management And Recovery Training) is a self-empowering, science-based mutual support group for abstaining from any substance or activity addiction. Teaches tools organized under the 4-Point Program®: 1) Building and Maintaining Motivation, 2) Coping with Urges, 3) Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors, and 4) Living a Balanced Life. Tools include change plan worksheet, cost-benefit analysis, hierarchy of values, ABCs of REBT for urge coping and emotional upsets, brainstorming, role-playing and rehearsing, and more.
SMART Recovery On-Line is a web-based community which supports individuals seeking to abstain from any substance or activity addiction. Established in 1998, SMART Recovery On-Line offers access to message boards, 24/7 live chat, and daily meetings in both type chat and voice chat formats. SMART Recovery Online is available worldwide. Volunteers are available to help newcomers as they post on the message board, enter chat room discussions and participate in meetings.
Sober24 is an online fellowship for people with alcoholism and drug addiction based on 12-Step programs. It includes discussion and chat areas and use of SoberFuse, a recovery management software program. There are virtual meetings on a regular basis, reading materials and other recovery resources.
SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual content of widely available 12-Step programs. SOS takes a secular approach to recovery and maintains that sobriety is a separate issue from religion or spirituality. SOS respects recovery in any form regardless of the path by which it is achieved, supports healthy skepticism, and encourages the use of the scientific method to understand alcoholism. SOS Behind Bars is set up to address the needs of those who are in jails or prisons.
In-person meetings in jails and prisons. Founded in 1985.
The goal of SupportGroups.com is to bring people together around life’s challenges by providing concise, up-to-date information and a meeting place for individuals, their friends and families, and professionals who offer pathways to help. Addiction support groups include ones for use of alcohol, caffeine, cocaine, drugs, ecstasy, gambling, heroin, the internet, marijuana, methamphetamines, prescription drugs, sex, shopping, smoking, sugar, and video games. Additionally, there is support for people taking methadone and suboxone. Groups for many other issues also exist.
Online community with over 220 support groups.
The Calix Society is an association of Catholic alcoholics who are maintaining their sobriety through affiliation with and participation in the Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. They welcome other alcoholics, not members of their faith, or any others, non-alcoholics, who are concerned with the illness of alcoholism and wish to join with us in prayer for our stated purposes.
Women for Sobriety is the first modern national self-help program for women with alcoholism. It is based on a new life program of positivity that encourages emotional and spiritual growth. It is run by women in small mutual aid groups held in hospitals, clinics, treatment facilities, women centers, and wherever women with alcoholism are being treated.