Recovery Support Groups
Recovery support groups (also called self help, mutual help, or mutual aid groups) often play a vital role in recovery from alcoholism or substance use disorder. Research has shown that active involvement in support groups improves the likelihood of success in recovery.
The recovery community has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with new and improved online recovery support and other innovations.
Collegiate Recovery Programs
College and graduate students in recovery face unique challenges and opportunities. Collegiate recovery programs offer a supportive program designed to provide educational opportunities as well as recovery support.
Addiction Professionals of North Carolina runs a state collegiate recovery program and provides a list of such programs at colleges and Universities in North Carolina.
The Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE) also supports collegiate recovery programs and communities across the nation.
Recovery Community Organizations
Recovery community organizations are non-profit groups led by representatives of local communities of recovery. These organizations often engage in recovery-focused policy advocacy activities, carry out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, or offer peer-based recovery support services.
In North Carolina, recovery community organizations include:
Help for Professionals
North Carolina Professionals Health Program encourages the well-being and recovery of medical professionals through compassion, support, accountability, and advocacy. NCPHP’s experienced team assists health care providers with substance use disorders, mental health issues, and other issues that may affect their ability to deliver optimal care and services to their patients.
The North Carolina Lawyer Assistance Program is a service of the North Carolina State Bar that provides free, confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, and law students in addressing substance abuse, mental health issues, and other stressors that impair or may impair a lawyer’s ability to practice law effectively.
BarCARES is a confidential, short-term intervention program provided cost-free to members of participating judicial district bars, voluntary bar associations and law schools.
National Recovery Organizations
National organizations that provide information and advocacy on recovery issues include:
The Ten Guiding
Principles of Recovery
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the ten guiding principles of recovery are these:
- Recovery emerges from hope
- Recovery is person-driven
- Recovery occurs through many pathways
- Recovery is holistic
- Recovery is supported by peers and allies
- Recovery is supported through relationships and social networks
- Recovery is influenced by a person’s culture
- Recovery is supported by addressing trauma
- Recovery involves individual, family and community strengths and responsibility
- Recovery is based on respect
Learn more from SAMHSA through the links below:
Learn more from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD):
Learn more from Shatterproof:
Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, I grew up in Cary and Apex. My two loving parents and great kid sister gave me an idyllic childhood. We played together, traveled together and spent long summer days in the family boat skiing across Lake Jordan. Every day at 5:30 we ate our family dinner together. I played travel soccer, did well in school, graduated from college but by the age of 25 was living out of my car hopelessly addicted to various drugs.
Luckily, I made it to a local peer-based treatment facility and began my recovery journey. Though the journey has not always been smooth, this newfound lifestyle provides me with joy I never thought possible.
Running and exercise have complemented my recovery in calming my mind and increasing my whole-body health. A friend and I started the Oak City Recovery Run Club which connects the running community with the recovering and provides running shoes and race registrations for those experiencing homelessness. Watching club members finish races they never thought they could start fuels our mission and pushes us onward.
Reinvigorating my relationship with my family, recovery has given me a beautifully fulfilling life—I am nearing the end of my Master of Social Work degree at NC State, I have great friends and a loving relationship with an amazing girlfriend.
Currently, I am the Rapid Response Administrator where I oversee an incredible post overdose response team that goes into the community to build relationships with overdose survivors and assist them on their journeys.
Recovery is wonderful and life is good.
I was raised in an adoptive family who provided everything I needed and wanted. I was extremely popular in school and academically gifted; I performed well in class with minimal effort. Using recreational drugs in high school provided relief from my insecurities but allowed peers to influence my decisions at an early age.
At 24, I sustained injuries from recreational sports and was prescribed large amounts of opioids from our family physician. Initially, I believed that I needed these pills in order to manage a normal life. Eventually my habit grew so large that the prescribed amount could not satiate my use. My dependence led me to the streets and after a short time of buying the same prescription on the streets, settled for its cheaper, more abundant alternative: heroin.
By the age of 31, I had overdosed seven separate times, reversed by naloxone on each one, was engaged in human trafficking and sex work, and was homeless with a bleak outlook on life.
Thankfully a peer outreach worker kept checking on and encouraging me to seek treatment–she brought me to a non-medical detox on June 22, 2016, and I began my recovery journey.
I now work as a Rapid Responder at the treatment center that returned me to a happy, joyous, productive, and contributing member of society. Recovery has given me the opportunity to be a mother to my children, a daughter to my parents, and an individual who believes in the potential of others who might be struggling with the hopeless state of mind addiction causes.
We do recover.
I always excelled in school and presented well. However, unbeknownst to me and everyone else, I was living with undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. High school became more and more challenging until someone offered me a prescription medication. This medication relieved me of all the suffering that I was experiencing from major depression and anxiety.
I grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
At age 18, I was assaulted with a baseball bat and was prescribed a large amount of opiates. Things progressed until I found heroin that was cheaper and more accessible and despite many attempts with the best intentions, I could not stop on my own.
By age 20, I had overdosed from heroin on three separate occasions, and each time, my overdose was reversed with naloxone.
I needed several second chances, but eventually I was afforded access to quality treatment. I have since sustained recovery, which for me means that I have not had to use alcohol or other drugs since May, 2013.
Recovery allowed me to finish my education and I now have a Master’s in Social Work and am a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.
Now, I’m working as the Naloxone Program Coordinator for Caring Services of High Point so that I can help give other people the same opportunities I was given to change their life.
I grew up in Greenville, North Carolina. When I was 12, my mother had knee surgery and was prescribed pain killers.
She put the extras in her medicine cabinet. I experimented with them and got hooked.
By 15, I was on heroin.
By 18, I was homeless, living in a Walmart parking lot.
I checked myself into detox and then participated in treatment.
Today, at 21 years of age, I am in recovery, working on getting an education so I can become a social worker to help other young people avoid my experience.
I shouldn’t be alive today, and that’s the truth. My addiction began with alcohol at age 11, and quickly progressed. I suffered severe childhood abuse and trauma, and never knew what true happiness felt like until I began using. I felt that the only time I could bear my life was when I was using opiates and I was hooked immediately.
I, like so many others, rode the train of addiction all the way to the bottom – homelessness, banned from my family, in and out of treatment and incarceration. I prayed for death on a daily basis and pushed the limits of it constantly.
I gave my devastating addiction 22 years of my life, but today I can tell my story of redemption. After a nine-month relapse four years ago, my perspective finally shifted from looking into the eyes of death to striving to find the purpose that I was created for.
It hasn’t been easy, true change rarely is, but it has been the most amazing journey of my life. I often tell people that if I can do it, anyone can! I have learned to accept and forgive myself for the mistakes I’ve made, and above all, have learned to love myself. Recovery gives me freedom and peace, things I’ve never known before. Now, I use the past that weighed me down as my platform to success. There is nothing that can stop you once you grasp that you are unstoppable. From barely hanging on, to recovery strong.
Following a minor car accident, Bryan struggled with an addiction to opioids. Now in recovery, he wants to spread a message of hope. Watch Brian’s story here.
For the first 20 years of my life, I didn’t smoke, drank rarely, and didn’t do recreational drugs. When I was 20, I was in a car wreck that destroyed my body. Doctors prescribed opiates to help manage the pain of my injuries. At first, I didn’t really want to take them, but I felt like I needed to so I could heal.
Those opiates became a part of my life. At first, I was more psychologically addicted to them because they made me feel like a better, more confident person. And then the physical dependency began, and continued to compound over the following 18 years. I doctor-shopped, manipulated my family, and lied to keep getting the meds.
I struggled for a long time, and I didn’t think I’d be able to find sobriety. It wasn’t that I didn’t want it, but you start to think that the only way you’ll be able to escape your addiction is through death.
I tried numerous in-patient treatment programs in different places – South Carolina, Florida, Las Vegas, and Black Mountain. I realized it was all too easy to go away and try to get treatment, and then come back home without any follow-up care. It was impossible to stay in recovery. I needed to battle my problem where I lived, so I went to a local outpatient program and utilized my local NA support group. The people were kind and understanding. The open environment they created allowed me to try to be open about the battles I was facing daily.
I’ve been in recovery since October 23, 2017. Ultimately, it’s not just a culmination of the therapy and accountability – it’s also a matter of being willing to change all of the habits that evolved based on my distorted thought process while I was addicted. I had to allow myself to be vulnerable and not be ashamed of my struggles or cover them up. I’m thankful that I’m here to speak on it, stay positive, and keep moving forward. I cannot say that I am proud of my addiction, but I am certainly proud of who I have become through it all. I am simply thankful for each and every thing God has blessed me with and still simply strive to live one day at a time!!