Alcoholics Anonymous works well for many people. There are millions of people who find lasting recovery in twelve-step rooms. However, some people don’t find that it is the best route to recovery for them individually. From Refuge Recovery meetings to group therapy, there are many ways people get sober. Here are some great alternatives to AA and other twelve-step programs.
Secular support groups offer a non religious AA alternative. With no emphasis on a god or higher power, these programs offer a secular way to find recovery. For what it’s worth, there are also secular AA meetings you can find!
SMART Recovery is the most popular secular alternative to twelve step programs. SMART holds meetings, has a program, and acts in a similar fashion to twelve-step programs. The main difference is that SMART is based on current scientific understanding, evolving as our understanding evolves. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, there is no emphasis on a higher power in the program or in meetings. To get sober, individuals follow a path of action, investigation, and building healthy responses to experience. You can read more about the differences between SMART and AA.
SOS, or Secular Organizations for Sobriety, is another non-profit that offers secular recovery groups. The focus in SOS is on staying sober, building community, and making rational decisions. Like SMART, many members also attend twelve-step meetings. However, the program attracts people who find that spirituality and belief in a higher power are not a necessity in recovering from addiction. Many members of Secular Organizations for Sobriety identify as atheists, while some consider themselves spiritual or agnostic.
Rational Recovery is a relatively new program, and is unlike other options listed here. The emphasis is not on support groups. Rather, Rational Recovery teaches us to get sober, then stay sober regardless of what arises. There are no treatment centers, therapists, or meetings. Instead, people learn about the program online, buy books and other materials, and get sober using the program themselves. This is done through working with the addictive voice in the mind, and learning to live without satisfying that voice.
There are other support groups and programs that differ from AA and twelve-step. Whether the twelve step model is too Christian or not Christian enough for you, there are other options!
Refuge Recovery is a super new program founded by Noah Levine. It offers a Buddhist perspective on recovery. Although twelve-step programs were kept in mind when building Refuge Recovery, it is substantially different. There is no emphasis on a higher power, and the program teaches us that we all have the ability to free ourselves from the suffering of addiction. Using the Buddha’s teachings on mindfulness and compassion, the program offers meetings and work to be done to help us recover.
Celebrate Recovery is a popular faith-based recovery program. Using the twelve steps as its foundation, Celebrate offers a true Christian perspective on recovery. Fellowship and community is an important part of the program, and many meetings incorporate meals and time for the community to connect. Celebrate is fairly similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, but stresses the importance of a connection with God in order to recover.
Although treatment centers and support groups are a huge way people recover, the truth is that some people recover other ways. Maybe it’s because of some of the negative aspects of AA or because people don’t want to attend regular support groups, but people can recover a number of ways. Here are a few things that can help us recover without support groups!
Therapy can be extremely helpful. A therapist can help you uncover reasons you may have used drugs or alcohol, help you build coping mechanisms for future adversity, and work with you to build a new life sober.
Social support is an important factor in recovery. Many people turn toward loved ones and family, asking for support in their recovery. This can make a huge difference in building a healthier life.