The 12-step was developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous as a set of rules for overcoming an addiction to alcohol. Early on, the method was successful enough for other addiction support groups to modify the stages to fit their particular substance or addictive behavior.
Fortunately, in recent decades since then, an addiction recovery alternative with non-religious aspects has been increasing. They operate similarly to the 12 Steps such as members running neighborhood meetings and some companies provide both live and virtual meetings.
If you want to explore an addiction recovery alternative that doesn’t dote on the religious aspect of each participant, here are the top 3 alternatives to the 12-step programs to consider:
A secular substitute for AA and other 12-step organizations is SMART Recovery. Members of groups like AA are encouraged to accept that they have no control over their alcoholism and to embrace a Higher Power. Substance abuse is seen by SMART Recovery as a bad habit that people may change for themselves. The approach integrates techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based approaches for behavior change.
SMART Recovery derives from self-management and recovery training. And their “4-Point Program,” is based on the following:
- Creating and maintaining a motivation to change behavior.
- Coping with drug temptations.
- Effectively controlling one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions without engaging in addictive behaviors.
- Living a healthy, balanced, and positive life.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
While the spiritual aspect of AA meetings can be overpowering, LifeRing Secular Recovery offers those in need a recovery program that does not place their ultimate sobriety in the hands of a “higher power.”
The secular identity of LifeRing welcomes people from all corners of both religious and non-religious life; according to LifeRing, around 40% of participants attend a house of worship. The main distinction is that spiritual beliefs are kept private and that faith is not the main pathway to healing. In addition to using cognitive behavior techniques, LifeRing is an abstinence program that according to the organization, these approaches “rely on human efforts rather than on divine intervention”
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
Another alternative option for those with drug, alcohol, or food addiction is Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS). It is based on the writings of its founder James Christopher, who chose to create a rehabilitation program for non-religious substance abusers after becoming sober in 1985. Based on personal integrity, principles, and convictions, SOS believes that individuals can maintain sobriety based on personal integrity, values, and beliefs.
It rejects the idea of the 12-step program that the only way to get well is to surrender your will to a Higher Power. According to this addiction recovery alternative, anyone can maintain sobriety if they make it the top priority in their lives.
Behavioral SOS encourages participants to:
- Acknowledge they are an alcoholic or addict.
- Every day, acknowledge and embrace this fact.
- Make sobriety a top priority every day by doing whatever is necessary because abusing alcohol or drugs is not a choice.
- No matter what challenges you face, don’t drink or use drugs and realize that while life is unpredictable, it may also be quite good.
- As sober individuals, speak openly and confidently.
- Recognize that each person is accountable for their sobriety and quality of life.
Looking for help?
Since recovery is a lifelong process that is challenging to maintain on your own, nearly all programs for addiction treatment emphasize developing strong support systems based on direction and trust. Each addiction recovery alternative focuses on providing you with sincere support from people who understand what you’re going through, as well as advice and treatment from qualified individuals who will enable you to seek alternatives to the 12 Step Addiction Recovery Programs and freely and openly express your feelings. Contact R&R Recovery IOP Treatment in Huntington Beach for options, consultation, and more.