Support groups: The most common form in the popular consciousness supports addicts, but in both reality and fiction, all varieties of personal problems have groups dedicated to group therapy for them. The members sit in a circle and a leader, either a fellow addict who has become a mentor, or a professionalnote , guides the group in sharing their experiences battling addiction. Either way, it's way cheaper than paying for a one-on-one session with a psychiatrist.
Typically portrayed as Epiphany Therapy in productions like the Lifetime Movie of the Week or on a Very Special Episode about addiction. Some films and other works are entirely set in a support group. The support group may be a weekly meeting or it may be a live-in treatment facility. When addiction is involved, falling Off the Wagon is a natural accompanying trope for the character. Legitimate examples of support group types include alcoholics, drug addicts, gambling addicts, sex addicts and food addicts. Authors may make fun of support groups by making up new ones. Like a Weird Trade Union, these can be patently ridiculous parodies of support groups.
There are several formulas:
- Introducing yourself, and identifying as the particular class of person the group supports. (For example, "Hi, I'm Bob, and I'm an alcoholic"). A Truth in Television formula, with a good psychological reason for its use, as many addicts deny they are addicted ("I'm not addicted. I just like a few shots of Gargle Blaster to clear my head in the morning."). Usually the others will respond in a bored, monotone voice, "Hello, (name)."
- A main character will be reticent to share with the group, become prodded by a kindly-voiced, empathetic group leader. If meant to show the value of support groups, this helps the person to achieve catharsis and feel better.
- A character is required by court order (due to a impaired driving, domestic violence, etc) to attend a support group. They don't think they need to be there, and this comes out in their torrent of disdain for the group. Their rant about how "they don't have any problems" reveals their selfish, narcissistic, self-entitled attitudes and lack of self-awareness. This is often the set-up for An Aesop, later in the story, when they realize they do have a problem.
- Characters face Addiction Displacement. If it's an alcoholic who's "on the wagon, they take up some other addictive habit to distract them from their cravings. Standard replacement habits include coffee, sweets or cigarettes (to replace alcohol); gum or binge-eating (to replace tobacco); compulsive shopping (to replace gambling).
- Important characters tend to meet each other in these groups. As addiction knows no boundaries, a poor character may meet a wealthy Tech Bro or CEO. This creates a plausible reason for a cross-class friendship (or romance).
In Very Special Episode, it's likely that there will be some degree of Narm. That is, scenes about the addict heroically overcoming their demons that are supposed to be serious, but due to either over-sappiness, teary hugging sequences, or excessive melodrama, the drama is lost to the point of surpassing "cheesy" and becoming unintentionally funny. A gritty Kitchen Sink Drama about impoverished addicts will avoid this by focusing on the grim realism of the harm their addiction is doing to their health, mental well-being, and family.
Monsters Anonymous is a Sub-Trope. In comedies or children's stories, one of these might show up in conjunction with I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin! or any of the related "fictional drug equivalent" tropes.
- A certain major telecom company ran an ad campaign that depicted another major telecom company in various support groups such as mythological creatures, chronic liars, etc., to imply that the rival company is not being truthful with their customers.
- In EDENS ZERO, Daichi mentions that he attends group therapy specifically tailored towards Sadists like him who are addicted to torturing people, and has earned a commemorative coin after holding out for 60 days straight. However, these sessions prove to be a very poor influence, since they don't count No-Holds-Barred Beatdowns as "real" torture, and by the time he makes his first appearance, he's already about to go Off the Wagon.
- Comedian Adam Ferrara once introduced himself when going on stage at the Just for Laughs festival by saying, "Hello, my name is Adam and I am a boyfriend. It's been two years since my last decision. The other day I had the urge to make a decision, but I called up my sponsor and he talked to me until those feelings went away."
- French comedian Manu Payet has a sketch about going to "Nutella Anonymous" meetings.
- Tim Vine:
Tim: So I went into Alcoholics Anonymous. I said, "I can't stop gambling!" They said, "No, you want Gamblers Anonymous." I said, "You're probably right. I'm so drunk I don't know where I am."
- In All Fall Down, Paradigm admits to Portia that since everyone lost their powers, he's been attending meetings at "Remaining Heroes".
- The Alternates used to be an ad-hoc super-team, but now they're basically a support group for people struggling with their mundane lives.
- In the Astro City story "Aftermaths", we see that Michael Teniceck (from "The Nearness Of You") now runs "Miranda's Friends", a support group for people who have lost loved ones in superpowered struggles.
- Civil War II reveals that Iron Man goes to AA meetings, and is Carol Danvers's sponsor. Which causes a bit of friction when they're on opposite sides of the conflict and both need to attend a meeting. Tony picks one at random to avoid an awkward encounter with Carol, and discovers that she had exactly the same idea.
- Deadpool Team-Up #883: After Deadpool spends most of the comic as the new Herald of Galactus, it ends with him joining a support group for former Heralds (which were apparently quite a few).
- The Goblinaholics Anonymous from Goblins (2007) are adventurers who try to overcome their Goblin-killing addiction.
- In volume 4 of Harley Quinn, Harley attempts to set up a support group for other repentant former Joker minions. Unfortunately, their first meeting gets raided by Hugo Strange's anti-"clown" group.
- The Incredible Hulk: Betty Ross and Joe Fixit once imagined a support group for gamma-irradiated superhumans. "Sitting in tiny little chairs... which keep breaking under us..."
- Noob has Arthéon attend a support group for players that lost their previous characters after doing Real Money Trade. His story makes everyone else feel better about themselves.
- The Outside Circle: The "In Search Of Your Inner Warrior" Program that Pete joins helpes Native American criminals rehabilitate by helping them get to the root problem of their lives: that they're hurting from how their ancestors were treated in the colonial days of America, and how the effects of it are felt even today.
- PS238 has a support group for metahumans who have been Brought Down to Normal. Ron/Captain Clarinet starts attending after seemingly losing his powers; Tyler does too, at his parents' insistence, but technically he has a different problem. Most of the participants are former superheroes, though one is a villain whose attendance is a condition of his parole.
- Robin (1993): Tim Drake goes undercover to a gambling support group when trying to track down the new violent thieving vigilante Violet since she's targeting underground casinos and gambling rings. The Catholic church that hosts the group has a signboard listing a bunch of different support groups for addicts and people dealing with various traumas like having cancer or losing a loved one.
- Runaways introduced Excelsior, a support group for former teenage superheroes coming to terms with how much their youthful adventures have negatively impacted their lives into adulthood. By the end of their involvement in the series they have decided to become superheroes again, reasoning that they are adults now and can responsibly handle the situation.
- Second Coming: The Superman Substitute co-protagonist Sunstar attends a support group for costumed heroes and villains, also including the Batman Parody Night Justice.
- Spider-Man: The Amazing Spider-Man (2018) introduces the Lookups, a support group for the loved ones of superheroes, whose faces are magically obscured from one another in order to protect their respective heroes' identities. It's run by Jarvis and the members include Mary Jane, Carlie Cooper, Ganke Lee, Peggy Rae, Foggy Nelson, Willie Lumpkin, Pepper Potts and Wong.
- There actually is a supervillain support group in the Marvel Universe (centered in New York), as shown in The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Ostensibly it serves to help people who want to get out of the supervillain business move on with their lives. In reality, most of the people in it are only there because of court-mandate and still commit crimes when no one's looking. Notable members include Boomerang, Grizzly, the Looter, and Mirage.
- One The Far Side strip features a "Man Eaters Anonymous" meeting and another one had a "Slow Cheetahs Anonymous".
- Get Fuzzy: "Hi, my name is Rob... and I'm a Red Sox fan."
- The late comics artist Dick Hafer had a few of these included in his book Sometimes You Gotta Compromise: A Light-Hearted Look at Model Railroading — And Model Railroaders, one of which was set at a "Model Railroaders Anonymous" meeting and had the caption "Hi... I'm Tom... and... and... I'm a trainaholic!"
- The Animorphs fanfic Ghost in the Shell is about a support group for former involuntary Yeerk hosts called Matter Over Mind. Tom originally wanted to call it Alien Abductees Anonymous, but it turned out to be copyrighted by the Skrit Na's victims.
- The Infinite Loops: MLP Loop 16.5 has Twilight getting King Sombra to attend a "Crystalholics Anonymous" meeting, which includes four diamond dogs, three teenage dragons, a sea serpent, Pinkie Pie and Discord. (Pinkie says she's there because she likes granulated sugar.)
- In chapter 65 of RWBY: Scars, Weiss and her mother Willow go to a Dust Temple that doubles as an alcoholic support group. Willow has decided to do something about her 30 years of alcoholism after a depressed Weiss almost killed herself in part because she felt her neglectful mother didn't care for her.
Willow: Hello. My name is Willow, and… I'm a recovering alcoholic.
Group: Hi, Willow.
- Straw Hat Family AU is a comic about the Strawhat Pirates as a family. One of the scenes has Franky, the dad of the family, attending a Cola-holics Anonymous session, with his thoughts telling him to do it for his kids.
- With Pearl and Ruby Glowing centers around a sexual trauma support group that meets in an old, closed-down theater called The Palace. All the members use codenames that relate to their story in some way.
- In The Angry Birds Movie, Red is sent to an "anger management" class as punishment, where he meets Chuck and Bomb.
- Finding Nemo has a group for sharks who want to give up eating fish.
- Holidaze: The Christmas That Almost Didn't Happen: Rusty meets the other holiday icons through an "Icons Anonymous" meeting.
- Wreck-It Ralph features "Bad-Anon", a group for videogame villains who feel depressed / shoehorned / etc because of their roles. Besides the title character, the support group includes Bowser, Dr. Robotnik, a zombie, Kano, Noob Saibot, Zangief, M. Bison, and even Satannote . Clyde the Ghost seems to be the leader of the group, and the meeting place seems to be the ghost respawn box in the Pac-Man maze... the one place good guys (specifically Pac-Man) cannot go.
- The vast majority of 28 Days (the one with Sandra Bullock, not the one with the infection) takes place at a rehab center, playing the trope deadly straight (most of the time).
- About a Boy: Hugh Grant attends a single parents' (i.e. single mothers, plus Hugh Grant) support group to "pick up chicks." Plot follows when he begins dating one of the women, having "bared his soul" about being a single parent: now all he needs is an actual schoolboy to play the part....
- Anger Management has a support group. Guess what for.
- Parodied by the group family-therapy session in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Scott Evil wants to be a veterinarian.
Dr. Evil: An evil vet?
- Ava's Possessions is a horror-comedy about a woman who attends a support group for people who have been subject to long-term demonic possession while trying to deal with the fall-out of the things the demon did in her body.
- Will Ferrell's character in Blades of Glory is a sex addict in recovery.
- Blood Father: John Link is a recovering alcoholic. He frequently attends AA group sessions with his neighbor and best friend Kirby serving as his sponsor, who often gripes that John doesn't make it easy for him.
- The independent film Boiler Maker involves two bank robbers taking refuge in a building that's currently being used for a weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. To say the combination is "explosive" is to understate it.
- But I'm a Cheerleader presents its ex-gay program in such a manner, highlighting exactly how effective it is. (Hint: alcoholics remain alcoholics, no matter how much they avoid the drink.)
- Cake opens with the protagonist at a support group for women who have chronic pain...and quickly getting kicked out, as her bitter response to Nina's suicide horrifies the other members. Nina's husband, Roy, later mentions that he's in a group for people whose loved ones killed themselves and, similarly, expressed so much anger at his wife that he frightened another member.
- In the thriller Changing Lanes, Samuel L. Jackson plays a recovering alcoholic who is on the verge of turning his life around, as evidenced by his cheery speech at an AA meeting near the beginning of the film. Unfortunately for him, the situation is about to change drastically for the worse.
- In a fairly serious vein, AA played a significant role in the plot of Days of Wine and Roses, including two characters (male lead and his buddy/sponsor) standing up at a meeting and introducing themselves as alcoholics.
- In Dead Man Walking, Sister Helen accompanies Mr. Delacroix to a support group for parents of murder victims.
- Elves (2017): Late in the movie, a group of four people are meeting in what looks like a hallway for a support group for people with poor relationships with their kids on Christmastime. They each air their grievances to each other, before the red-haired girl killer shows up and murders them all.
- As in the book, the movie of Fight Club has the main character going to support groups for people with terminal diseases (even though he doesn't have one), because he finds that witnessing their misery allows him to sleep. It stops working when he encounters Marla, who does the same thing. Of course, it's more obvious that she's a fraud when she attends a support group for a condition that is impossible for her to have had: Testicular cancer.
- Fred Claus has Siblings Anonymous, frequented by siblings of celebrities such as Frank Stallone, Roger Clinton, Steven Baldwin and of course, the title character, who is the brother of Santa Claus.
- Hackers has one. "My name is _____ and I'm not an addict, really!" [shouts of derision] The kid, who is smoking rapidly between sips of coffee explains that he got in trouble for hacking and his lawyer made him out an addict so he wouldn't get so big a punishment. At the end of his diatribe, he asks if there's more coffee.
- In Half Baked, Thurgood Jenkins goes to a drug addiction meeting to help him quit marijuana. After this line:
Bob Saget: Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke. Now that's an addiction. You ever suck some dick for marijuana?
- In order to help promote his public image, Hancock is convinced by Ray into voluntarily serving time in prison to make up for the zero Hero Insurance he had, and all the collateral damage he has often caused for just being himself day by day. He attends a support group of other prisoners who just share their problems to help explain why they committed the crimes that put them in prison, and how to cope with those problems. Repeatedly, Hancock was asked if he would like to share anything, and he always passed. He finally starts to open up and shares few brief words to the group. He progresses better and better with each group meeting after that.
- Minions Anonymous also appears at the very end of Inspector Gadget (1999).
Sykes: Hi, I'm Sykes.
Minions: Hi, Sykes.
Sykes: And I'm a minion. But it has been thirty days since I last kissed up to anyone! [minions applaud]
- In Little Evil, the protagonist attends a group for stepfathers struggling with their stepkids. It's here that he realizes that his kid is a particularly extreme example.
- Amy goes to Alcoholics' Anonymous meetings in Men with Brooms. Where she is hit on by, and brutally shoots down a creepy biker guy, complete with an interpreter translating her rather crude choice of words into sign language.
- The eponymous serial killer of Mr. Brooks attends an addiction support group to deal with his compulsion to kill. (Brooks did this before the season of Dexter where the same happened, too.)
- The Pretty One features a support group for Angsty Surviving Twins, complete with a lonely circle of folding chairs in a gymnasium, and the standard introduction.
- Rachel Getting Married has Kym attending local Narcotics Anonymous meetings for a few days before her sister's wedding; this is how she meets Kieran, who she ends up sleeping with, although it's not clear whether they'll actually keep in touch once Kym leaves town.
- Renfield (2023): Renfield, servant to Dracula, starts attending a support group for people in codependent, abusive relationships. His initial idea is to track down the people that have harmed the attendees and give them to Dracula to feed on, reasoning that, if he's going to live his life in service to a monster, he can at least help out the good people of the world by getting rid of their monsters. However, attending the meetings makes him realize he really, really needs to get away from Dracula, but has no idea how, and starts turning to the support group to help him.
My name is Robert Montague Renfield. And I'm a codependent.
- Rocket Man 2019 opens with Elton John attending an AA meeting in full costume, which becomes the Framing Device as the movie periodically cuts back to Elton telling his story to the group.
- Stuart Saves His Family is probably the film Trope Codifier. Stuart belongs to four, including Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholic Parents, Overeaters Anonymous, and Debtors Anonymous. While his father bitterly snarks that Stuart is addicted to 12-Step programs, it becomes clear that Stuart genuinely needs help and is dealing with a very screwed-up family life.
- T2 Trainspotting we see Spud attend a meeting, telling how a Clock Discrepancy from English Daylight Saving ended up costing him his job, benefits and visitation rights with his son, which then lead him to relapse.
- In Two For The Money, Al Pacino's character is a a reformed gambling addict, but one who stills runs a business advising sports gambling to people willing to bet millions of dollars on it. At one point he visit a Gambler's Anonymous support group, seemingly as part of staying off his gambling kick... only to make his protegee gasp in horror as he begins tempting the guys there into gambling again and passes out his card.
- The opening narration in The World's End is in fact a story Gary King is recounting to a support group.
- In You Kill Me, the main character is sent to AA in San Francisco after he falls asleep and misses an assassination.
- Chuck Palahniuk loves this trope. The protagonist of Choke is a sex addict who routinely picks up women at his Sexaholics Anonymous meetings.
- From The Fifth Elephant — that's where the meeting is, though the group is mentioned in later books — there is the Black Ribboners, for vampires who wanted to quit drinking blood.
- Also, mentioned in Thud!, is Detritus' "One Step Programme" to get trolls off drugs. Step one, stop using drugs, or Detritus will beat the crap out of you.
- Played straight and discussed in Feet of Clay, when Vimes claims to be addicted to policing, and says that while he goes to meetings for his drinking problem, there's nowhere for people to say things like "My name is Sam, and I'm a suspicious bastard."
- Alcoholics Anonymous plays a large role in Doctor Sleep, such as by providing crucial links between characters.
- The narrator of Fight Club visited all sorts of support groups for problems he didn't have, as did Marla. He reacted to other's trauma by finally relaxing enough to sleep. When Marla ultimately forces him to leave the groups out of humiliation, he and Tyler found Fight Club.
- David attends an AA-based rehab near the start of the memoir Heroin Story. Of course, it doesn't actually help him. Such programs only work for about 5%-8% of patients (according to one estimate ).
- Nathaniel Cade from President's Vampire visits Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, even though he never speaks during them, as he considers alcoholics' addiction similar to his Horror Hunger and believes this keeps him closer to humanity by the way of You Are Not Alone.
- Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes has this in spades, not unexpected since it deals with the titular character's recovery from drug addiction. Mostly it's mentioned in passing, but at least one meeting is described in detail.
- The protagonist of Wrath James White's Succulent Prey attends a support group for sex addicts. While he is indeed a sex addict, his biggest problem is his growing cannibalistic urges.
- In Touch, it's mentioned in passing that the victims of the elves' kidnapping attempt, many of whom underwent a Traumatic Superpower Awakening, have group as well as individual therapy sessions, and that minor character Samantha finds them to be particularly helpful.
- On 30 Rock, Liz gets worried when she sees Floyd entering a church in the middle of the week, only to discover that he's a recovering alcoholic.
- In Alias, after the second Retool and Time Skip in which Sydney lost her memory of two years, she briefly attends a support group for CIA agent amnesiacs. She decides that she doesn't heal through talking, but through making entertaining episodes of investigation and Wig, Dress, Accent.
- Astrid: Astrid has an autism-spectrum support group which at times acts as a Greek Chorus in the series.
- Being Human:
- Played with: after George fights, defeats, and humiliates Tully, the werewolf who first mauled him, then comes home, he talks to Mitchell.
George: Hi. My name's George, and I'm a werewolf.
Mitchell: Hi, George.
- Later, Mitchell sets up a vampire version of AA for those trying to give up the blood.
- Played with: after George fights, defeats, and humiliates Tully, the werewolf who first mauled him, then comes home, he talks to Mitchell.
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie has a sketch about an AA meeting where it's not entirely clear whether AA stands for "Alcoholics Anonymous" or "Automobile Association".
- The Boys. Billy Butcher is on a quest to take down The Seven. In order to persuade Hughie Campbell, his newest cohort, that all superheroes are evil, they attend a meeting of A.C.D.S. (the Association of Collateral Damage Survivors); people who are suffering the side-effects of being rescued by a superhero. When Butcher is asked to tell his story however he refuses, raging at their passive acceptance of their fate and storming out.
- Breaking Bad features a methamphetamine support group starting Season 3. Jesse enlists two of his friends to join the group and covertly sell them meth, but neither of them can go through with it. "It's like shooting a baby in the face! It's not natural." Jesse himself backs off when his first "customer" turns out to be a single mother, and he quits the group entirely when his self-esteem hits rock bottom.
- In one episode of Community, Annie realizes that Jeff's friend/ex-coworker Alan was the one who got Jeff disbarred, because she and Alan went to the same Narcotics Anonymous meeting where he bragged about sending an e-mail that got a rival co-worker fired.
- CSI: NY: After Det. Flack's sister, Sam, is fired from her bartending job in "Dead Inside" for drinking on the clock, Flack follows her one night and discovers that she's finally admitted her drinking problem and is attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Both the UK and US versions of Dear John have as their setting a support group for divorced, widowed, and lonely single people.
- Dexter has the title character go into Narcotics Anonymous after he covered up his strange behavior (related to his serial killing) by telling his girlfriend he is an addict (she assumes it's heroin). The therapy ends up reaching over into his desire to kill, but also set him up with an enabler. And causes him to meet a hot Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette whose supportive sexual relationship actually keeps him clean for much of the season.
- In the Doctor Who episode "The Power of the Doctor", it is revealed that the Doctor's former companion Graham has set up a support group for other former companions of the Doctor on contemporary Earth. This is actually Ascended Fanon, since many fans had long assumed something of the sort existed.
- In Elementary, Sherlock goes to support groups for his heroin addiction, despite initially being reluctant about going.
- In one episode of Empty Nest, Carol attends a support group for neurotic people with good parents. Having good parents can be a burden for people like Carol because they can't blame them for their problems.
- Everybody Loves Raymond parodied it with an almost cult-like group of hippie wannabes. Robert's cousin persuades him to join this "feel good about yourself" support group; Robert gets to feeling good and convinces Raymond to visit the group. It all turns out to be a big scam on the part of the group who just wanted to meet famous sportswriter Raymond.
- Family Matters. Harriet fears Eddie and his girlfriend are sexually active after finding a romantic-sounding note from her. Eddie informs his father that the girl's mother is an alcoholic and that he had finally convinced her to attend an Alateen meeting.
- Feel Good: Mae attends NA for her cocaine addiction, with the group having several oddball regulars.
- Forever Knight: Nick Knight infiltrates AA at one point and decides to try applying their advice to his craving for blood. Unfortunately, being a vampire isn't the same as being an addict, and stopping blood turns out to be a pretty bad idea for him.
- Appears at the beginning of the whole-fish episode of Good Eats. There is something strange about a fisherman who doesn't like to cook, eat, or look at whole fish.
- After his girlfriend Lucy is raped, Guiding Light's Alan-Michael Spaulding goes to a support group for men in similar situations, both to vent his anger and to find the best way to help her.
- Happy Endings Max takes Brad to support groups (and tells the same his father and the ice tray story at all of them) to get free food-first AA so Max can get donuts, then an Overeaters group so Brad can have healthy food. Max then invokes Ruleof Three-"think we should do one more? We should do one more." and they go to a Sex Addiction group.
- Herman's Head:
- Herman hauls Handsome Lech Jay along to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting, despite his protests. Gilligan Cut to Jay and Herman paying rapt attention as a Hello, Attorney! confesses her lurid sexual fantasies to the group.
Jay: Thank you for bringing me here, Herman. Thank you!
- Turns out Louise's Virgin Support Group meets in the same building. She gets annoyed when Jay seduces a friend from the group, meaning she's no longer going to turn up.
- Herman hauls Handsome Lech Jay along to a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting, despite his protests. Gilligan Cut to Jay and Herman paying rapt attention as a Hello, Attorney! confesses her lurid sexual fantasies to the group.
- Niki is an alcoholic who was approached by her also alcoholic father, after years of estrangement, at a meeting.
- And in Volume 5, Matt Parkman attends AA meetings to fight the temptation to use his powers. He used a claim of alcoholism to cover for his previous years of erratic behavior.
- On How I Met Your Mother, Lily takes Robin to a "Buyers Addiction" group, because Lily has the uncontrollable urge to buy stuff to make her feel better. When she gets up, she says "Hi, I'm Lily," to which Robin (alone) says, "Hi, Lily!" then looks around, embarrassed that no one else says it. After Lily explains her problem, she says she wants to find the pair of boots another addict is wearing and buy them.
- In In Plain Sight, Alcoholic Parent Jinx has Brandi pretend to be her and attend AA in her place, which is how Brandi ends up meeting her current boyfriend.
- In Season 2 of Iron Fist, Ward Meachum is attending Narcotics Anonymous, but is having sex with his sponsor instead of confronting his issues.
- In JAG, Bud Roberts is sent to an Anger Managment group in "Automatic for the People".
- In the episode "Powerless", Charlie Crews attends Dani Reese's AA meeting to help her catch a suspected rapist. Charlie spoke at the meeting, describing his own feelings of powerlessness as if being in a prison. Dani was the only one at the meeting who knew Charlie had been in prison, framed for murder. (Charlie's obsession with finding out who framed him for murder and why can be seen as similar to an addiction.)
- In another episode Crews & Reese visit a support group for multimillionaires. They say "You can't sit in here unless you have at least million." Crews silently pulls up a chair. (He has the money after a successful suit against the state of California for wrongful imprisonment.)
- One of the recurring skits on Little Britain is Fat Fighters.
- At an anger management group, Locke goes into a bitter diatribe about his biological father conning him out of a kidney with feigned love and affection. And meets his love interest, who comes up to him after the session to tell him she shares his disdain for the sad sacks filling the group.
- Another episode features a confrontation between Jack and Christian at Christian's AA meeting; the fight pushes him off the wagon.
- In an episode of Mad About You, Paul goes to an AA meeting to show his support to a guy he met on the highway and made a Black Comedy joke about his alcoholism.
- Malcolm in the Middle:
- Francis has Lois and Hal come to his meeting for his one-year anniversary sober. When they get there, everyone calls the reason they drink their "Lois" due to Francis' exaggerated stories about her. Including a veteran who says the Vietnam War was his Lois. Oh, and Francis isn't even an alcoholic. He goes there just to complain about Lois to a large group of people. Hilarity Ensues.
- In another episode, the B-plot kicks off when an old acquaintance calls because she's on the "apologize to everyone you wronged" step and tells Lois that she once kissed Hal while drunk. At the end of the episode she realizes that she got the wrong guy.
- In the last season of Misfits, Rudy Two starts going to a support group for people with superpowers.
- AA meetings are a major setting and plot device of Mom, which features mother/daughter team Christie and Bonnie getting sober and trying to move on with their lives.
- In My Name Is Earl, Earl explains that a lack of funding means the town can only have one support group for all problems. So the single support group will have, among others: alcoholics, a kleptomaniac who steals only pens, a sex addict, a woman with an anger problem, and more.
- The protagonist of New Amsterdam has been going to AA meetings for over 60 years. Since he's Really 700 Years Old, he looks to be in his 30s while still claiming that he's been sober for over 60 years. His answer to people's obvious questions? "I look young for my age" (a Cassandra Truth if there was one). An episode actually did a flashback to when he first met his sponsor, who got him involved in AA.
- In Nip/Tuck, Christian Troy seduces someone at his first Sexaholics Anonymous meeting, and she goes on to become a recurring love interest.
- Don from No Heroics goes to superhero therapy sessions. He has no choice. The booze, the heroin, the hardcore pornography, the violence — none of it is helping him anymore.
- On an episode of the Norm MacDonald sitcom Norm, the title character is shamed into attending a support group for his gambling problem. At the first meeting, he stands up and gives a heartfelt speech about how he finally realizes he has a problem, and that he's no better than the other people at the meeting. Twenty seconds later, when he realizes he's accidentally shown up at Necrophiliacs Anonymous, he quickly recants.
- On Party of Five, this becomes a major aspect of Bailey's struggle with alcohol.
- Dr. Sara Tancredi went to Narcotics Anonymous in the Back Story of Prison Break, and she originally met Bellick in one of those groups.
- On Reaper, the Devil takes over an AA meeting in order to get people to relapse.
- The Red Green Show (maybe this wasn't until The New Red Green Show?) had a support group for... men. Includes the "Introducing Yourself" thing. It also has the "Man's Prayer": "I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess."
- Rescue Me showcases Tommy Gavin's... ambiguous relationship with AA; presumably, his attitudes reflect those of Denis Leary, who plays him.
- Roseanne criticized AA in the same vein as South Park. Roseanne's mother Bev joins AA, but rather than actually stopping her wine guzzling, she simply rationalizes her weakness as a disease (which alcoholism is, medically; Knowledge plus Bev=Danger!), and blaming her lapses on her family's failure to support and understand her — or as Roseanne would say, calling her on her crap.
- Parodied in Scrubs, where J.D. imagines what the acerbic Doctor Cox would be like in Group therapy. After the imaginary Cox beans a fellow person with a chair he decides, "I don't think he'd do well in group."
- Seinfeld has "The Apology" in which George doesn't get an apology he insists on from a guy going through AA. He talks to the guy's sponsor, who then takes George to Rageaholics Anonymous so he can get help. George resists this and confronts the man again, driving HIM to go Rageaholics. Meanwhile, there was Germaphobes Anonymous in that episode that Puddy used to go to and eventually Puddy, Elaine and Elaine's germaphobe coworker all end up at-because Kramer made a salad for them while showering.
- Brenda on Six Feet Under struggles with sex addiction and is shown attending meetings. There is also discussion of some of her "steps" (making amends, undergoing periods of sobriety/abstinence, etc.).
- In Smallville, Lex Luthor meets a Love Interest of his at an Anger Management class, after he destroys a meterman's car.
- Starved, FX's short-lived comedy about people with eating disorders, featured the unconventional Belt Tighteners: "Belt Tighteners is not affiliated with any 12 step group or dieting program. We believe we need a more radical solution to arrest our eating problems. By creating a community of accountability and shame, we don't act out."
- Zack and Moseby of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody attend a 12-step program for video game addicts after getting hooked on an MMORPG seriously disrupts their lives.
- In Tin Star, Tim Roth's character Jim Worth attends a few. In the first season, he's serious about it. The second, less so.
- The West Wing has a secret AA group, for politicians who aren't willing to admit to the world that they're alcoholics. They tell everyone it's a poker game, and it's run by the vice-president.
- Bubbles' time in and out of support groups is a recurring theme of his arc on The Wire. His ultimate redemption and acceptance by his estranged sister is a serious Earn Your Happy Ending.
- The X-Files: The protagonist of the episode "Hungry" is a man-eating monster who just wants to be normal and so at one point attends an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.
- "Hypo Full of Love" by Alabama 3 contains a parody of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Step Plan : the steps put you under the thumb of the Reverend D Wayne Love, the band's mad preacher character.
- Eminem references the Alcoholics Anonymous in his song "Just Don't Give a Fuck" from The Slim Shady LP.
My name is Marshall Mathers, I'm an alcoholic (Hi Marshall!)
- In the Believe It! episode "Grumpy Old Menopause", Richard Wilson realises he's finally turning into Victor Meldrew, and is advised by Alexei Sayle to join his Grumpaholics Anonymous group. After a rocky start, he grows to enjoy the group and becomes a tranquil, all-loving person. David Tennant and Peter Capaldi tell him We Want Our Jerk Back!.
- Not in-game, but both Civilization IV and V have been advertised (or something) with "Civaholics Anonymous" (or "CivAnon") videos. There's even a Civilization Anonymous Website.
- Warcraft 3's expansion has the Blood Mage, who gives us this response if clicked on sufficiently:
Blood Mage: Uh, hi, my name's Roy and, uh, I'm a magic addict.
All: [chorus] Hello, Roy.
- In Everyday Heroes, Jane Mighty is a member of VilAnon, a support group for reformed comic-book villains.
- Kevin & Kell has the National Rifle Association, a support-group for predators who need... "technological assistance" in their hunting.
- Latchkey Kingdom features the Living With Curses group. Those with unfortunate transformations, unremovable armor, or any other magical difficulty are welcome.
- League of Super Redundant Heroes also has a support group for superheroes with a specific addiction:
Good Girl: Hi, I'm Good Girl and I have a problem... with one-liners.
All: HI GOOD GIRL!
- The support group for "People Who Are Scared to Death by Clive Barker's Undying" in Penny Arcade.
- PHD has Geeks Anonymous.
- Roommates has "Killed for Canon" meetings with Death as the moderator that three of the main characters attend.
- Parodied by Sluggy Freelance with Cannibals Anonymous.
- In Sonic and Pals, during Casino Night Zone, Stelly decides Sonic is spending far too much time at the slot machines, and makes him go to one of these.
Sonic: Hello, my name is Sonic and I am addicted to gambling.
All: Hi Sonic.
- Issue 6 of Strong Female Protagonist includes a convention for "dynamorphs" (people with superpowers that change their appearances and make it impossible to blend in with ordinary humans) that offers several support groups. There's a bit of tension from strangers trying to delicately negotiate new territory with each other — and the universe, powers are still new in this world — but it's generally shown as a positive thing.
- The main cast of Ugly Club are members of a support group for deformed, disfigured, or just plain monstrous-looking Public Domain Characters.
- The Unspeakable Vault (of Doom) give us B.R.P.A. — Bad Role-Players Anonymous.
- JourneyQuest: Season 2 episode 2 has a gathering of villains trying to reject evil this way. Naturally, Glorion stumbles on them and kills them all.
- The Nostalgia Critic: "The Top 11 Dumbest Spider-Man Moments" opens with the Critic going to "Bad Movie Anonymous". When he mentions he enjoyed Spider-Man 3, all the other attendees go crazy.
- On YouTube, you can find:
- An episode of Beavis and Butt-Head started out with a former alcoholic visiting their class to warn them about the dangers of drinking. He mentions attending AA meetings, which Beavis and Butt-Head assume is a meeting to help people get alcohol. They attend as well, and get bored from listening to the other attendees. Over the objections of the group leader, they convince the people present that a tall cold one would be pretty good. The episode ends with the entire group drunk off their asses in a bar, with Beavis and Butt-head trying to get the bartender to serve them drinks.
- Bojack Horseman had Bojack and Sarah Lynn attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting during the third season, where Bojack played a stellar hand of Misery Poker by relating what he'd done in New Mexico.
Sarah Lynn: That was impressive, Bojack. I've never seen them cancel an AA meeting because everyone got bummed out before.
- Dan Vs. has an episode where he gets sent to Anger Management courses. Surprisingly, it actually helps him (for a while), but not before he drives the instructor to relapse with her own terrible temper.
- One episode of Drawn Together features Ling-Ling attending an anger management group among other characters famous for this problem, such as Skeletor, Marvin the Martian, Yosemite Sam and Hulk.
- Family Guy:
- The Flintstones: The episode "Fred Flintstone: Before and After" had Fred joining "Food Anonymous" as part of a crash diet. His fellow members would provide support by yanking food away that Fred was trying to eat — even after the diet ended and Fred was trying to quit the group.
- Inside Job: Anonymous Anonymous is a group for supernatural creatures, cryptids and people in secret societies like Cognito Inc. and the Illuminati to express their grievances. Reagan goes there after her father taking control of Cognito sends her into a deep, alcohol-fueled depression.
- King of the Hill: Hank is forced to join an anger management class after accidentally cutting off Dale's finger with a power saw, which was entirely Dale's fault since he put his hand in front of the blade.
- The Academy Award-winning Looney Tunes short "Birds Anonymous" has Sylvester trying to rid himself of his bird addiction. He actually seems to succeed at the end, when his sponsor goes Off the Wagon and tries to eat Tweety, forcing Sylvester to stop him.
- In an episode of Mike, Lu & Og, Mike and the others start a support group for their hot dog addictions.
- Pepper Ann goes to a support group after she becomes obsessed with Beanie Baby-like dolls.
- Phineas and Ferb: In the Candace subplot of "Perry the Actorpus", Candace attends a "Stop the Busting" retreat hosted by Mandy in order to get her busting obsession under control. While she does learn well, she takes Mandy's advice too far and won't give up busting her brothers, using such to further her goal even more.
- Pinky and the Brain:
- Rocko's Modern Life:
- "Tooth and Nail" has Rocko develop an addiction to nail-biting that critters called "the Twelve Steps" tried to help him overcome. One of them actually threatened to hurt him if he didn't admit he had a problem, and said that nail-biting would only take six steps instead of the full twelve (the other half-dozen decided to go to Vegas instead, where one of them proved himself to be The Gambling Addict in an act of Hypocritical Humor).
- In "Magic Meatball", Ed Bighead manages to score a promotion thanks to a Magic 8-Ball parody called the "Magic Meatball" helping him make big decisions. When the meatball gets broken, Ed has a nervous breakdown to the point of hallucinating the Meatball is alive and doing whatever it asks, up to and including marrying it. The cartoon ends with Ed getting fired and having to join a support group for Magic Meatball addicts.
Ed: My name is Ed... and I have a meatball problem!
- Rocky and Bullwinkle: In the Fractured Fairy Tale "Ridinghoods Anonymous", the wolf has just joined said group and is trying to avoid eating Little Red Riding Hood. However, he soon discovers he is allowed to eat Red's grandma. At the end he decides to quit the group and is implied to have eaten both of them.
- The Simpsons:
- Parodied, of course, with Marge's alcoholism and recovery (and with Homer going to Alc-Anon after getting busted on a DWI, with Otto the bus driver revealing that he loves to get blotto and the allegedly elderly Hans Moleman revealing that drinking has ruined his life and that he's actually 31 years old).
- From "A Star is Burns": In Barney's film about struggling with alcoholism, he stands up and announces "My name is Barney, and I'm an alcoholic." Right after, the camera pans out to a circle of young girls and Lisa points out he's in a girl scouts meeting, which Barney disregards as them "afraid to admit they have a problem!"
- Another episode had Homer bring Barney to a meeting and then claim that he didn't want to go over and make coffee because taking twelve steps wasn't worth doing. Cue him waking up in the bushes outside having possibly being beaten unconscious.
- South Park criticized AA's 12 steps as completely disregarding responsibility and self-restraint in favor of invoking a higher power as seen in the season nine finale "Bloody Mary". Apparently, Parker and Stone didn't even seem to consider quitting cold-turkey as a good idea in the first place.
- In The Venture Brothers, the two Mauve Shirt henchmen go to a henchmen anonymous meeting. They end up suggesting that the members go become their own supervillains. Over the mediator's objections, the idea becomes popular.
- One episode of Wishfart had a "Victims of Dez" support group made of people whose lives were ruined by Dez's wishes going wrong. Members include: a man whose head became a lemon after he wished for better lemonade, a yeti who turned into an ice cream monster after wishing for infinite ice cream, a mermaid who wished for a jet pack but can't remove it or turn it off, a unicorn who wished for another horn and grew horns all over her body, and a dopey goblin whose pet goldfish refuses to spend time with him after he wished for it to be smart. The group disbands at the end of the episode when Dez manages to help them find ways to use their backfired wishes positively.
The first step is admitting you have a problem.
"I could stop any time I want...Hold on, just a few more edits..."