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03-31 Everyone needs help: Five strong resources for recovering teens

Everyone needs help: Five strong resources for recovering teens

The Al-Anon program has been doing good work for “the families and friends of alcoholics” since 1961. It provides a 12-step program for people who are affected by the addiction of someone close to them. They even have Al-Ateen, a program expressly geared towards adolescents. Nar-Anon and Narateen offer similar programs for the friends and family of drug addicts.

Both are great programs, but a crucial point needs to be made: These programs are for those around addicts, not addicts themselves.

So where can a teen in recovery turn to? Getting treatment is an important and necessary step, but it’s also the first step. A person who graduates from a recovery program is faced with the task of rebuilding their life, and it isn’t easy. It can mean finding a job, restarting one’s education plans, and finding new friends – particularly if one’s friends have habits and behaviors capable of retriggering addiction. Given how deeply teens rely on their friends, it’s a task that’s often difficult and intimidating.

Fortunately, there are ways to find help.

Five places for teens to find support after rehab

  • Alcoholics Anonymous: Perhaps the oldest support group in operation, AA has been helping alcoholics stay sober since 1935. AA pioneered the usage of the 12-step model for treatment, and they offer resources for adolescent alcoholics too.
  • Narcotics Anonymous: Founded in 1953, NA offers a 12-step group environment for anyone struggling with addiction. Young members are welcome to attend meetings. Despite the group’s name, NA also welcomes those who are struggling with alcoholism.
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous: Addiction is a disease often occurring in tandem with mental disorders like depression and anxiety. This 12-step group offers mutual support for those who are dealing with both addiction and mental illness, called dual diagnosis.
  • SMART Recovery: Traditional 12-step groups like AA and NA often have a spiritual side to them that can be intimidating or even off-putting to some teens. Founded in 1994, SMART Recovery offers a secular, more scientific approach to recovery. In addition to drug and alcohol addiction, SMART also offers support for process addictions like gambling. Adolescents are welcome to join their program, and they also have an outreach program for young adults.
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety: SOS is another alternative for those looking for a secular alternative to traditional 12-step groups. They welcome religious and nonreligious people alike.

Seeking help is critical

There are dozens of additional support groups available, all of which provide help, assistance and comfort to teens in recovery. Another excellent resource is the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Their site offers a “Find a Physician” feature which helps find medical professionals experienced in treating and diagnosing addiction.

Addiction is a serious disease which strikes young and old alike. It’s dangerous, and can be lethal if left untreated. Fortunately, it also responds to treatment. Located in rural San Diego County, the Sovereign Health Group’s Rancho San Diego facility offers residential treatment for adolescents aged 12 to 17. Our compassionate experts provide treatment for addiction, mental health, eating disorders and co-occurring conditions.

A healthier life for your teen can start today. Please contact our 24/7 helpline.

About the author

Brian Moore is a staff writer and graphic designer for the Sovereign Health Group. A 20-year veteran of the newspaper industry, he writes articles and creates graphics across Sovereign’s portfolio of marketing and content products. Brian enjoys music, bicycling and playing the tuba, which’s he’s done with varying degrees of success for over 25 years. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author and designer at

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