Support Groups and Meetings

What are support groups?

Self help, support and mutual aid groups allow people to come together to share their experiences and offer practical and emotional support to help each other. 

People go to self help support groups for many different reasons. Some simply want information. Others may want to seek support from people who have been through something similar. 

Groups provide support to people who are finding it difficult to cope due to their addiction by providing practical advice on how to change their habits and learning to cope with life in a more positive way.

Support groups are not all the same, some will ask that service users are abstinent whilst others will support service users with controlled use of substances. Be patient and find one that works for you.

Alcoholics Anonymous 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions.

AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. AA’s primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

How to get help from Alcoholics Anonymous:


Call the helpline on 0845 769 7555. 
Attend an alcoholics anonymous meeting near you.

For more information about AA visit

Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. 

The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances. Their purpose is to offer recovery to individuals who are suffering from addiction. They use the 12 Steps of Recovery.

CA delivers support within the city centre of Edinburgh and across Scotland. Meetings take place every day except a Saturday in city centre locations in Edinburgh.  


Call the local helpline on 0141 959 6363.  The National Helpline (0800 612 0225) is open 10am – 10pm everyday.

Meetings take place every day except a Saturday in city centre locations in Edinburgh. 

For more information about CA, including meeting details, visit


The Serenity Cafe/Comas , 8 Jackson's Entry, The Tun, 111 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh offers:

  • Cocaine Anonymous on:
    Tuesdays - 1pm - 2pm & at 6pm - 7pm
    Wednesday 8pm
    Thursday 8pm
    Saturday 8pm
  • Women's Cocaine Anonymous Saturdays at 5.30pm
  • Families Anonymous Tuesdays at 7.30pm
  • SMART Group Thursday 7pm
  • Polish Alcoholics Anonymous Sunday 10am - 1pm



Focus ARBD Group for Edinburgh  and the Lothians

Focus ARBD are an advocacy group of people who have difficulties brought on by heavy drinking over the years. The group members speak up about things that matter to them and to other people in their position. Some of the group have difficulty with short term memory, balance, learning new skills, coping with mood swings, lack motivation and have difficulty dealing with letters or official phone calls. Some of the group have been formally diagnosed as having Alcohol Related Brain Damage (ARBD) but you don't need to have been diagnosed with ARBD to join the group.

The group try to find ways of helping professionals, such as GPs, Psychiatrists, Nurses and Social Workers, really understand what impact their difficulties have on their lives. In this way, they hope to make services better for people whose brains have been damaged by alcohol. The group also support each other from their own experiences.

The FOCUS ARBD group meets regularly in Edinburgh.

The group is supported by 2 Development Workers. Colin one of the Development Workers can meet with people who would like to join the group. He will explain what the group does and then new members can decide if they want to become involved.

If it would be helpful to have a support worker or a family member or friend with you at the meeting that will be ok. Some people may need to get a taxi to the meetings. Focus ARBD can arrange and pay for the taxi. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided at the meetings.

If you are interested in this group then please contact

Colin Murray            Mobile 07549927694

or Email :       

Opiate Replacement Therapy Recovery and ME - ORT RECOVERY & ME 

Courtesy of The Scottish Recovery Consortium there is a very new kid on the mutual aid/recovery fellowship block! People from across Scotland and in recovery, got together last year to ask what can we do to help more people successfully come off Opiate Replacement Therapies ( that's methadone and suboxone)

What they came up with was a brand new recovery meeting format focussed exclusively on people seeking ORT, run by people with a lived experience of recovery that includes coming off ORT. At this new meeting we thought we could hear shares from people who have come off and stayed successfully in recovery. At these meetings, we would let people know all about the recovery opportunities in their area. We could have ORT recovery guides available and information about recovery.

Regular weekly meetings are now happening across Scotland. Meetings in Lothian take place at the following venues:

EDINBURGH Friday 3pm - 4pm at Serenity Cafe, 8 Jackson Entry, Edinburgh EH18PJ Telephone: 0131 556 8765

WEST LOTHIAN Tuesday 4pm - 5pm, Pre-Sync, 27 George Street, Bathgate

LINLITHGOW Thursday 2pm - 3pm, The LYPP Lounge, 29 The , Linlithgow, EH497EX Telephone 01506 670433

Vennel, Linlithgow, EH497EX Telephone 01506 670433


Other National Contact details are  as follows:

Scottish Recovery Consortium, 2/1 30 Bell St, Glasgow G1 1LG

D.D.Telephone: 0141 559 6933  or    Mobile 07917 697 660

Narcotics Anonymous 

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. They are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean.

NA encourages its members to abstain completely from all drugs including alcohol because NA members have discovered that complete and continuous abstinence provides the best foundation for recovery and personal growth.

NA host weekly local meetings. Each group is autonomous, organising itself according to a series of 12 principles common to the entire organisation. Meetings, which take place in rooms rented from public, religious or other organisations, may be 'open', meaning anyone can attend or 'closed', meaning only for people who want to address their own drug problems. You can attend a meeting in person or speak via the "on-line chatroom." Check out the meetings section on the NA website for more information about them plus how to find and attend them.

Call the national helpline on 0300 999 1212.

For more information about NA visit, including meeting details, visit

NHS Service User Support Forums /Volunteers

The Substance Misuse Directorate of NHS Lothian has three regular service user forums:

1. Alcohol Problems Service, The Spittal Street Centre, 22-24 Spittal Street, Edinburgh 0131 537 8300.

2. St John's Hospital, Howden, Livingston

3. LEAP (Lothian and Edinburgh Abstinence Programme) at Woodlands House, Astley Ainslie Hospital, 74 Canaan Lane, Edinburgh. 0131 466 4400

These forums are open to service users involved with any NHS alcohol or drug services. In partnership with service users the directorate has developed a service user strategy. As part of the service user strategy it is envisaged that service user involvement will continue to develop in all parts of the Substance Misuse Directorate.


Substance Misuse Directorate regularly seeks volunteers to assist in particular pieces of work. In the Ritson Clinic (an inpatient detoxification and assessment ward at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital) eight volunteers are delivering a peer led group to encourage continued engagement in recovery following discharge from hospital. 

At LEAP, volunteers are used in many different ways.  Some as buddies, some as peer supporters and others as more practical volunteers. 

Meanwhile, West Lothian has just begun to involve volunteers in their service and their role is just beginning to emerge. 

There is also a volunteer involved in a recovery focussed gardening group at 29 Morningside Park, Edinburgh.

All our volunteers are recruited through the normal NHS processes and receive appropriate training and supervision (from staff).

SMART (Self Management And Recovery Training)

The three local alcohol and drug partnerships and NHS Lothian have signed up to a Lothian-wide SMART Recovery consortium, the largest of its kind in the UK. There are currently over 20 weekly groups taking place in Lothian. They are open to everyone accessing NHS and/or voluntary sector organisations.

SMART stands for “Self Management and Recovery Training”. SMART Recovery is about helping people to develop the tools and skills they need to gain control over their addictive behaviours. The programme focuses on self help ‘mutual aid’ and uses secular and science-based therapeutic techniques

There are two types of SMART meetings:

1. Service led meetings run by SMART champions for their local service users

2. Peer led meetings run by facilitators and open to anyone

3. Family & Friends SMART Group

SMART Meetings take place in a variety of locations plus there are also some Online SMART Recovery Groups.
For the latest details on groups go to the SMARTRECOVERYUK website Click on "Meetings Directory" and "Online Meetings" where information is displayed on how to access the meetings.

Meetings are generally open to anyone in recovery whether they be peer or champion led. However it is advisable to contact the person responsible for the meeting if this is going to be your first visit with the group.

People not in recovery such as interested staff and or family/carers may also attend meetings but again it is advised to agree this first with the meeting contact.

Please note that a few meetings will be closed to service users who are not involved with a particular service. This applies to the existing meetings of LEAP and Turning Point Leith.



A list of meetings open to anyone appears on SMARTRECOVERYUK website. Including a list of Partner Services who run meetings some of which are open to anyone in recovery or seeking help for themselves and some of which are Service-user specific and they will be marked as such.

Last Reviewed: 17/02/2017