What Can I Expect from a Recovery Support Group?

Attending your first recovery support group can be intimidating. However, attending a recovery meeting can give you the support and guidance you need to move forward in your healing process. It’s normal to feel alone and ashamed when struggling with addiction or other challenges, but meeting with others in similar situations can help you feel connected, hopeful, and motivated.

The information below will help you know what to expect from a recovery support group meeting for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

These meetings are for people seeking help for recovery from substance abuse, pornography use, and other problematic behaviors.

These meetings are guided by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but individuals from any or no faith tradition are welcome to attend.

Understand that support groups might be only one aspect of your recovery process. A support group can be a great help for you, but you may also need professional help or a treatment group. Support group meetings are not run by professional counselors and are not considered treatment groups.

Meeting participants use the Addiction Recovery Program guide, are led by volunteer Church-service missionaries, and are supported by a meeting facilitator.

The Church-service missionaries and facilitator use the steps found in the Addiction Recovery Program (ARP) guide to conduct the meeting. The Addiction Recovery Program guide helps those struggling with addiction or other problematic behaviors to find recovery through the Savior Jesus Christ.

The facilitator is typically someone who has applied the principles found in the 12 steps and is living successfully in recovery.

A recovery meeting is a safe place.

The goal of the facilitator and the group leaders is to make all attendees feel comfortable and safe. To help create a safe environment:

  • All participants are encouraged to introduce themselves by their first name only to help protect anonymity.
  • General recovery meetings are held for men and women combined, men only, or women only. Pornography use recovery meetings are held for men only or women only.
  • You can choose to listen only if you don’t feel comfortable participating or sharing. If you prefer only to listen, simply say “pass” when it is your turn to read or speak. You are welcome to participate to whatever extent you feel comfortable.
  • We follow the rule of Alcoholics Anonymous: “Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here.”

Meetings follow a regular format.

Meetings begin with a reading of the ARP mission statement. Then, if the participants are comfortable doing so, they will introduce themselves. After that, all 12 steps of recovery outlined in the ARP study guide will be introduced. Next is the step study portion of the meeting, where the group will read through all the material for one step.

The group will then move to the sharing portion of the meeting. During the sharing portion, participants are invited to share their related personal experiences and how they have applied gospel principles to them. The facilitator will ask you to focus on solutions and to avoid graphic details.

Through sharing your personal experiences, others are assured that they are not alone.

You can choose to call into a phone meeting if needed.

Call-in meetings are held to eliminate travel, make meetings accessible to more people, and provide a degree of anonymity that is not possible in a face-to-face meeting. Call-in meetings are worthwhile, but face-to-face meetings are preferable.

Participants learn helpful principles at group meetings.

The Addiction Recovery Program guide has adapted the original Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. into a framework of the doctrines, principles, and beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These steps emphasize key principles that can help you in recovery, such as being accountable, being honest, trusting in God, and seeking forgiveness.

Meetings are places of hope.

Addiction and other problematic behaviors can be difficult to overcome; however, all things are possible with the help of Jesus Christ.

Find a meeting near you.

Note: If you have a spouse or a loved one in need of support, the Addiction Recovery Program also holds Spouse and Family Support meetings. See “What Is the Spouse and Family Support Program?” or “What Can I Expect from a Spouse and Family Support Group?” for more information.