Mutual Aid is basically people helping each other. In Recovery it's usually used to mean 12 Step Fellowships or groups like Smart Recovery.
For us it definitely includes the !2 Step Fellowships like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous; and if you come to stay with us you will have to go to meetings of NA and AA.
Mutual Aid works. There is something particularly special about one addict helping another. It's often easier for an addict to follow the experience of another who is further on in the Recovery journey.
For us Mutual Aid is about how our project operates. At the heart of the house is a Community of people who all want Recovery. Each individual in the Community has made a decision to play an active part in helping and supporting their fellow residents.
This means a lot more than being good about cleaning the house and doing the cooking etc. It means that all residents play a part in keeping the Community safe and healthy. Everyone takes responsibility to make the best contribution they can to engage in a Recovery Community. One where everyone is able and willing to share what is going on for them. Where everyone is willing to listen to and support their fellow residents. A Community where it's safe to raise problems; where it's safe to talk about
difficult stuff and where people can learn from each other with mutual respect.
Being an active part of a Mutual Aid Community isn't easy. We have often developed ways of behaving that keep things to ourself because it makes us feel safer. The fact is that we need to change this. We can't get well on our own. We need the help of others and we need to have courage to accept it. Of course it's also true that once we start accepting help in a Mutual Aid setting, then we also give help, even if we don't realise it.