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Group 401

Ask Horizon: Do I need a 12-Step Program and Counseling?

Alcoholics Anonymous AAQ: My name is Jane and I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been going to AA and have recently started private counseling. Do you recommend that I continue AA or just stick to counseling?

A: Great question. In a nutshell, YES! Any positive venue that supports your recovery should be pursued.

When working towards recovery many of our clients seek support outside of their scheduled counseling or group sessions.

At Horizon, we encourage our clients to do so by adding another support to their recovery by creating accountability to another group. As a result, the number of weekdays on which they actively participate in recovery activities increases. More not less, is critical for recovery when dealing with addiction.

Bill Bly, a Senior Counselor at Horizon Village says “One way we can supplement the work we do is try to encourage our clients to experience 12-step support groups. Self-help and 12-step groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous have helped millions of individuals whose lives have been shattered by alcohol and drugs. They offer hope and shatter the stereotypes associated with addiction.”

We find that self-help programs can help bridge the gap between day-to-day living and formal treatment. This is accomplished through offering a place where people feel as though they belong and that they are not unique, thereby ending their isolation and loneliness. These groups also provide a feeling of hope and give people faith in themselves and others. Those who follow the suggestions of self help group members have a much better chance of not relapsing. The principles of these programs can impact every aspect of life in a positive manner.

Some other ideas that can help you find outlets and support for your recovery include:

  • Finding a positive group of friends to spend time with.
  • Pursuing a hobby or interest.
  • Exercise, meditate, or practice yoga.
  • Encouraging family members to attend meetings or support groups for families dealing with addiction.
  • Having a sponsor or recovery coach.

What about support for mental illness?

Self-help groups also exist for those dealing with issues related to a mental illness. The Mental Health Association of Erie County offers a variety of services including a support group for people in their 20’s and support groups for persons with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Other resources include the Mental Health Peer Connection through WNY Independent Living that offers support groups and vocational services.