Recovery Support


Recovery Support Services (RSS) refer to the collection of community services that can provide emotional and practical support for those in recovery from a SUD. Components include mutual aid groups (for example, 12-step groups), recovery coaching, recovery housing, recovery management (checkups and telephone case monitoring), recovery community centers, and recovery-based education (high schools and colleges).

Mutual Aid Groups

Mutual aid groups, such as 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or SMART Recovery, provide ongoing support for people with SUDs. The groups are free of charge and held in a community setting or online. Groups rely on peer support rather than professional services and create a space for people in recovery to share experiences, build relationships, and offer encouragement and hope.

Peer Recovery Support Services

Peer recovery support services, such as recovery community centers, help patients remain engaged in treatment and/or the recovery process by linking them together both in groups and in one-on-one relationships with peer leaders who have direct experience with substance use disorders and recovery. Depending on the needs of the individual, peer leaders may provide mentorship and coaching, or help connect individuals to treatment, mutual-aid groups, or other resources. Peer workers may also facilitate or lead community-building activities, helping recovering individuals build alternative social networks organized around substance-free activities.

Recovery High Schools

Recovery high schools are secondary schools designed specifically for students in recovery from SUD. Although each school operates differently depending on available community resources and state standards, all recovery high schools aim to educate and support students in recovery from SUD (or co-occurring disorders) and their families while meeting state requirements for awarding a secondary school diploma. Schools tend to be staffed by administrators, teachers, substance abuse counselors, and mental health professionals.

A Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) is a College or University-provided, supportive environment within the campus culture that support students in their recovery so that they can continue to grow, develop, and fulfill their academic and adult potential. These programs are designed to provide an educational opportunity alongside recovery support to ensure that students do not have to sacrifice one for the other. CRP’s are represented by many types and levels of support services for students. They can include community meetings, clinical support services, residential services, and other recovery-friendly activities on campus.

A Recovery Community Organization (RCO) is an independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. These organizations organize recovery-focused policy advocacy activities, carry out recovery-focused community education and outreach programs, and/or provide peer-based recovery support services.

Recovery Residence (RR) is a broad term describing a sober, safe, and healthy living environment that promotes recovery from alcohol and other drug use and associated problems. Many thousands exist in the United States that vary in size, organization, and target population. At a minimum, RRs offer peer-to-peer recovery support with some providing professionally delivered clinical services all aimed at promoting abstinence-based, long-term recovery.

An Alternative Peer Group (APG) is a community-based, family-centered, professionally staffed, positive peer support program that offers prosocial activities, counseling, and case-management for adolescents who struggle with SUDs or self-destructive behaviors.