'We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.'

Mutual aid is a term used to describe a wide range of meetings where people who have struggled with their substance use meet on a regular basis to support each other. A great way to break the sense of social isolation that often accompany the early days of treatment and recovery, they can be the ideal forum to discuss your struggles, make new friends and if necessary, find a shoulder to cry on. Tea and biscuits are always to be found, so what's not to like?

While it is central to our ethos that Build on Belief does not promote any particular definition of recovery over another, believing as we do that in the end it has to be a personal choice if one is to succeed, we do recommend giving mutual aid meetings a chance. It might work for you, and it might not, but you'll never know if you don't try, will you? Give it a go, there are plenty  to choose from!


I know that sounds a bit 'Lord of the Rings', but the twelve-step fellowship is the largest and most well know of all the mutual aid meetings. In London there are thousands of them, and it is very easy to go to three a day, pretty much every day of the year. That's got to be cool.

All of the meetings are based around the twelve-step programme, and it cannot be denied that 'the rooms' have helped many thousands of people to sustain their recovery from substance use. While experience has taught us that people often find these meetings to be something of a 'marmite' thing, (some Build on Belief staff and volunteers love them, others are more ambivalent)  we nevertheless recommend that you give it  go, and we mean more than once! Some meetings are very large, others small and cosy, so shop around a bit and see if you can find one that suits you.

These meetings fall into the following different categories:

Narcotics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous

Marijuana Anonymous

If you are interested in attending a meeting, please click on the links above. They should take you through to the appropriate website, where you can find details for your nearest meeting.


This is a new thing, but at Build on Belief, we think it's a great idea. Mental health difficulties go hand in hand with substance use problems, and our own evidence base shows that more that sixty percent of our staff, volunteers and service users have diagnosed mental health problems. Based on the twelve-step programme, DDA has a series of additional steps specifically to support those individuals with mental health issues. Any mutual aid meeting that looks to support people with their mental health and substance use gets the thumbs up from us. At present their are only a handful of meetings in London. Details of times and locations can be found below.

Website: www.ddauk.org

Phone: 07702 510 110

E-mail: [email protected]


A very different kind of mutual aid meeting from the fellowship meetings above, SMART meetings have a secular and science based approach to their mutual aid, and use a range of motivational, behavioural and cognitive methods to help individuals change their behaviour and support each other to move forward in their recovery journeys. To find your nearest SMART meeting, please click here

If you want any information on your nearest mutual aid meetings, please feel free to have a chat with the Build on Belief staff and volunteer team. It's worth bearing in mind that the evidence suggests those individuals who attend mutual aid meetings, of whatever kind, have better long term outcomes when it comes to sustaining their recovery from substance use. Just thought we'd mention it.