There is a lot of debate about the necessity of a recovery group for those trying to escape addition. For some people a recovery support group is a must; I used to think the same way as well. The reality is though, that plenty of people do recover without the need for any support group; although some people do benefit from belonging to one. The following is just my opinion and is not meant to offend anyone.
My Experiences with Support Groups
During my twenties I managed to give up the booze for two years with the help of AA. The support group helped me but I became a bit of a zealot – I could never handle anything in moderation. I remember during that time bumping into this man who was already a few years sober but didn’t belong to any support group. I was only a few months off the booze but my reaction was to judge this guy badly – how could he really be sober if he wasn’t in the 12 Step Programme? In fact this man was just one of a number of people that I judged unfairly because of doing things a different way. I was arrogant and ignorant. I was not alone though; there were plenty of other people who believed that a recovery support group is vital to staying sober.
Despite my feelings of smugness about doing things the right way my own recovery was on shaky ground. I ended up drinking again even though I attended a recovery support group every day for almost two years. I am not blaming AA for this; it was my decision after all. My point is that belonging to a recovery support group is no guarantee of anything. In fact, I would go so far as to say that some people do very well without them. In my own case sobriety feels stronger now and more enjoyable than it ever did when I attended meetings every day. I have now almost doubled the time sober by doing it alone – so for me the idea of a group being necessary has been completely disproved.
There is More Than One Way to Lead a Good Life in Recovery
I am not trying to be disrespectful to any members of AA or any other support group here. I believe there is plenty of room for all methods of recovery. I would like to suggest though, that while it is understandable that we believe our own recovery method to be the best one for us it does not necessarily mean that it is the best one for everyone else. I would never dissuade somebody from joining a recovery support group, but I also wouldn’t try and talk them out of going it alone. If it works it works and that is all that should matter at the end of the day. There is no one size fits all and to pretend otherwise is a bit ignorant. I am comfortable in my recovery and don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything by not belonging to a recovery support group. It is possible to make it alone and for some of us it is preferable.
Anyway this is just my view on the subject and I’d be interested in what other people think.