“They certainly work” – That is the summary of the benefits of self-help groups in the field of problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling etc. Self-help and mutual help works not only for the individual but for the partners, children and the whole family as well. Even the workplace, community and wider society benefit from recovery and changes in lifestyle.
To participate in self-help groups is a very effective form of intervention when it comes to problems or addiction with substances or behaviour. It can be a catalyst, which will activate self-determination to solve the problems. Attending the group helps individuals understand the reasons behind the substance use and very effectively helps them regain responsibility for their own lives. Together it is possible to change life and find ways to solve problems, improve communication and find a better life.
Consumption of alcohol and other drugs represents a real big problem in many work places. In many cases employees and their experiences can be a real value to the company. If an employee with (former) alcohol or drug problems recovers and is stabilised on long term by attending self-help groups he/she even gives example for others in the company and helps to de-stigmatise problems with alcohol and drugs or behavioural disorders.
Society and community benefit in many ways. First of all, society gains back responsible and social engaged citizens. Mutual-help groups give example that people are able to solve huge problems by sharing their experiences and by learning on each other examples. And a lot of participants in self-help groups who are attending these groups on long term are starting to take over responsibility for others or initiate new groups. They help themselves by helping others – a principle called helper-therapy-principle! Self-help groups are low in cost and are supported by committed volunteers.
The groups and the people involved are working together with the professional field and are building networks in community and society. And: They certainly work!