Q: What makes ARC different from other groups?
A: There are many things that set us apart from other groups. Some of these include:
- We use a wide variety of evidence-based techniques, methods, and tools from many different areas in the fields of psychology and addiction.
- We don’t use any single core book, especially those that are unchanging.
- Our meetings consist of a number of different formats (discussion meetings, educational presentations, talks on addiction myths and controversies, tool-teaching, speaker meetings, etc).
- We are open-minded and progressive, continuously making changes to our program in order to stay up-to-date with the latest research on addiction and recovery.
- We have a Code of Conduct that ensures our meetings are a safe, positive, and harassment-free atmosphere.
- We have a Library of books where members can borrow, order, and purchase from, as well as an online addiction research database.
- We continuously share the latest news and research on addiction and recovery on our social media pages.
- We have an email list for the purpose of reminding members about upcoming meetings, events, and updates about our group.
Q: Is ARC an abstinence-based group?
A: We do indeed value abstinence when recovering from addiction. However, ARC allows for individual choice and understands that there are many different paths to recovery. There is no one perfect solution for everyone. We also value the harm reduction model in addiction recovery, as it has been proven to be beneficial for many people who struggle with substance use and/or addictive behaviours. We don’t believe abstinence vs. harm reduction needs to be an either-or question. The research states that both can be beneficial, and that abstinence can even be an end-goal of a person’s harm reduction plan. That said, the education, support, and tools we offer can help anyone in recovery, no matter which path they have chosen.
Q: Is ARC a religious / spiritual group?
A: While we respect and recognize that religion and spirituality are important aspects of recovery for some people, not everyone shares this view. For this reason, ARC is a completely secular group, meaning that we have no ties to religion and instead focus on the science and social aspect of addiction recovery. If you are a religious or spiritual person, you are completely welcome at our group. The education and support we offer can benefit anyone in recovery, regardless of their religious/spiritual beliefs.
Q: Does your group have “sponsors”?
A: This is a question that we have thought about and discussed extensively. The conclusion we came to is that we should *not* incorporate any sort of sponsorship into our program. This is because, generally speaking, most members and volunteers of our group are not professionals on addiction or mental health, despite the amount of clean time they may have or how long they have been in recovery. Also, not having any type of sponsorship helps to ensure that our members are safe from harassment, as this has been an issue with some other groups.
Q: Does your group use labels? (i.e. “Addict”/”Alcoholic)
A: The simple answer to this question is “no”. The reason is that we at ARC believe language is very important when talking about addiction and recovery. Using labels can often send the wrong message, be counter-productive to recovery, and can heighten the stigma that is already attached to those struggling with substance use and/or addictive behaviours.
Q: How effective is your group?
A: The truth is we don’t know. Our group hasn’t existed long enough to reliably say just how effective out meetings really are. That being said, the variety of methods, tools, and techniques we use in our program have indeed been shown to be effective for those struggling with substance use and or addictive behaviours.
Q: Who can attend?
A: Anyone 18 or older can attend our meetings, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, cultural background, religion, etc. Whether you are struggling with substance use and/or addictive behaviours, are a friend or family member of someone who struggles with these issues, or if you’re simply a general member of the community who is curious about our group, you are welcome at our meetings.
Q: Is there a cost to attend?
A: No, our meetings are completely free for members to attend. We do, however, accept donations at our meetings in order to help cover the cost of room rentals, promotional material, literature, etc. Our group is run entirely by volunteers, so facilitators and other members of the Steering Committee do not receive any kind of monetary reward for the help they provide. All donations go strictly towards the sustainability and growth of our organization.
Q: Can I attend your group if I have been using that day?
A: If you have been using and want to attend our group, we will not turn you away. All we ask is that you do not be disruptive to the group, and that you are mindful and respectful of all in attendance during the meeting.