Are Addiction Recovery Programs Addictive and Harmful?

June 4, 2015 Becky Doyle

Potentially addictive or harmful qualities of addiction recovery programs are the source of heated debates across the country. One main debate is whether or not addiction recovery programs are more harmful than they are helpful. For instance, I was recently asked, "If addicts can become addicted to anything, doesn't that also apply to recovery groups?"

My first thought is that has more to do with the person than the program. To get a better handle on this concept, I consulted Merriam-Webster's dictionary for the definition of addictive. There it is defined as:

1. causing a strong and harmful need to regularly have or do something
2. very enjoyable in a way that makes you want to do or have something again

Based on this definition, sure -- I can bite off on the notion that it's possible to become addicted to a recovery program. Frequent attendance at addiction recovery meetings is very common among recovering addicts. But are recovery programs harmful and addictive? If a person is suffering or is causing unnecessary harm to others as the result of their activity within the addiction recovery program, then that could be considered a new addiction. However, I would not characterize any recovery program as being inherently addictive. In my experience, recovery programs of all types are not harmful. If anything, they seek to help a person fight a drug or alcohol addiction.

Misconceptions of Addiction Recovery Programs as Addictive and Harmful

Misconceptions and myths about recovery programs are rampant. They are further fueled by the vast numbers of non-addicts who cannot understand the condition and, therefore, are unable to comprehend the vital role such recovery programs play in an addict's recovery. For a man or woman who was unable to stop drinking on his or her own, these programs provide hope because the tools and solutions that have worked for countless others.

One common reason for this misconception is that addicts in early recovery may attend numerous addiction recovery program meetings. This often cuts into time that was usually spent with friends or family, and those individuals may feel ignored or left behind. It's important to remember that loved ones who start attending these meetings find that those lessons, those tools, and that literature are their only barrier between themselves and drinking or using.

Addiction Recovery Programs -- Addictive and Harmful?

What do you think? Just remember, an individual can only determine if he or she -- and no one else -- has an addiction.

You can find Becky on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and her website.

APA Reference
Doyle, B. (2015, June 4). Are Addiction Recovery Programs Addictive and Harmful?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Becky Doyle

Dream Center For Recovery
July, 16 2015 at 6:38 am

What comes to mind immediately is BALANCE. When we are in addiction balance flies out the window and the scale is tipped heavily to one side. In recovery efforts, may they be 12 step, smart recovery, therapy, support groups, whatever, the key is balance. Most alcoholics and addicts don't have a natural knack for balance so sometimes having a daily schedule of meditation, work, meetings, time with a sponsor, social time, good food, exercise and so on can help maintain balance especially in the early stages of recovery.
Yes, I have seen folks throw themselves in to programs with all their being, eating, breathing and sleeping the program of their choice - but let's face it, this is obsessive - addictive behavior with little or no balance. As Becky said, there's no inherent harm factors in recover programs. They offer accountability, structure and support. Nothing wrong with all that. Whoever seeks recovery will surely be extended a helping hand. It's up to them to take suggestions of those who have gone before them on how to maintain healthy balance in their new life with out the routine of getting and using.
In the end it all depends on each persons intention to get and stay clean regardless of the route taken. Different things work for different people. Most recovery programs are based around developing new behaviors, becoming a better person, and helping others. I simply can't find anything wrong with that kind of solution. People who get hung up on the intricate stuff in between are not seeing the big picture.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
July, 30 2015 at 9:53 am

I absolutely love what you said here-ESPECIALLY the last sentence! Balance is absolutely the key, and the big picture is what matters most. If you're nit-picking at details, you are looking for excuses to say it won't work, and you will always find one.

Dorcas Nduati
June, 9 2015 at 11:38 pm

We have NACADA in our country which helps people addicted in alcohol and drugs. Can you imagine even lecturers are so much addicted with alcohol they go to class to teach while drunk. God have mercy and come for their rescue.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Becky Doyle
July, 30 2015 at 9:51 am

WOW. That's pretty crazy.

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