Copyright Goodheart-Willcox Co., Inc. Chapter 9 Alcohol 291 Support Groups Community support groups can be helpful tools for those overcoming alcohol-use disorders. Support groups are groups of people with a common problem who share struggles and examples of getting through that problem. Alcoholics Anonymous (also known as AA) is the most well known and widely used self-help program for people with alcohol-use disorders. The program includes a support group element. The goal of AA is to help people with alcohol-use disorders change how they think about drinking. This program involves going through 12 distinct steps, which are a set of guiding principles designed to help people recover from addiction. According to AA, when a person with a severe alcohol-use disorder consumes even a small amount of alcohol, the presence of alcohol in the bloodstream leads to an irresistible craving for more alcohol. Thus, the goal for recovery is never to drink any alcohol again. During AA meetings, group members share with other group members any alcohol-related problems they have experienced (Figure 9.18). This process of sharing their experiences may help people stop drinking. Self-Management Strategies Many programs that help people with alcohol-use disorders also teach self-management skills. First, these programs focus on helping people become aware of why they drink. Understanding the motivations that lead someone to drink is an important first step in learning how to avoid alcohol-use disorders. Next, people develop skills for managing the situations that lead them to want to have a drink. These skills include the following: • avoiding situations where alcohol is present • responding in new ways to these situations • learning new strategies for handling stress • developing strategies for refusing alcohol People can use these types of self-management skills in combination with other treatments for alcohol-use disorders. Other treatments may include attending AA meetings or undergoing detoxification. Helping a Loved One with an Alcohol-Use Disorder Loving and caring about someone with an alcohol-use disorder can be very difficult. People who have loved ones with an alcohol-use disorder may feel ashamed, angry, afraid, and guilty. Other people feel so overwhelmed by their loved one’s alcohol-use disorder that they just deny the problem and pretend that nothing is wrong. iStock.com/asiseeit Figure 9.18 People who are trying to quit drinking may attend frequent AA meetings. What is the goal of AA?