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Support groups are groups of people who share a common problem or burden and gather to offer each other support on a regular basis. Christian support groups base this support process in the teachings of Christianity and often add group prayer to the activities normally practiced by a support group. There are many different types of support groups, both secular and Christian. Many exist for the benefit of those who suffer from some form of addiction, such as alcoholism or drug abuse, or for those who share burdens, such as being victims of abuse or suffering from a particular disease. Christian support groups also exist for purely spiritual issues, such as difficulty maintaining faith.
Christian support groups for dealing with alcohol and drug addictions are particularly common because of the prevalence and debilitating nature of addiction. People generally attend this type of support group in order to break an addiction and to avoid resuming the use of a given addictive substance after stopping. People who have been sober for years may still attend alcoholism support groups in order to encourage themselves and others to stay sober. Christian support groups of this sort tend to involve drawing support and strength from other people and from God through prayer. Many are structured to convert people from lives of suffering and addiction to lives of active religious belief and service.
Other common types of Christian support groups exist for the benefit of people suffering from particular diseases. Many Christian support groups, for instance, benefit people suffering from cancer. People who attend such events share information about their progress, express their fears, and draw strength from others who are going through the same experience. They also pray to God for strength to endure their health problems. Many Christian support groups also involve prayers for healing, but others adhere to the idea that all things, even sickness, are part of God's plan and that illness is a trial to be endured.
Many Christian support groups exist for issues relating to faith rather than physical problems. There are, for instance, support groups for men in which they gather to discuss their faith and the issues that they may face concerning faith. People who are having trouble maintaining their faith but who want to reconnect with Christianity might attend such groups. Support groups also exist for people converting to Christianity or returning to Christianity after years of living a purely secular life. Support groups even exist for criminals and convicts who wish to repent and turn to religion.