Secular Treatment Option and Alternatives to 12 Step Programs
We humans come in every shape and size imaginable, along with individual, unique minds that differentiate us from each other. Our likes and dislikes, preferences and aversions guide our choices throughout our lives. And while many will prefer to take the well-trodden road, others might gravitate toward the road less traveled.
As addicts in recovery, the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous has become the mainstay as a fellowship program that assists others to attain and maintain sobriety. The 12-step program has been around for nearly 80 years and has gained worldwide popularity along the way. But for many, the underlying principles of the 12-step treatment program simply do not resonate at best, and chafe at worst. Thankfully, there is another path to recovery.
Finding a New Fellowship Pathway to Sobriety
Since the 1970s, alternatives to the ubiquitous 12-step program have been springing up. As some A.A. attendees rejected the messaging there, they sought to either find or found a different type of fellowship format—the non 12 step. Breaking the mold and thinking outside the box was embraced, and is flourishing.
Fellowship with others in recovery is an important component in aftercare following rehab. Once it was realized and accepted that these meeting places do not have to be an A.A. clone to be effective, then various types of new, non 12-step programs were created. For some who were uncomfortable with the spiritual foundation of A.A., now there are secular recovery groups. For others who felt the spiritual foundation of A.A. to be too weak, now there are Christian recovery groups. Some who felt more comfortable in a gender specific format started a women’s recovery group. There truly is something for everyone in the non 12-step landscape.
Alternatives to 12-Step Programs in the Recovery Community
Here are 5 different non 12-step alternative recovery groups:
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a non-profit secular group that emphasizes self-empowerment over addictions of all kinds. The SMART program is based on four points:
- Building and maintaining motivation
- Learning to cope with urges
- Effectively managing emotions, thoughts, and behaviors
- Finding balance in life
SMART meetings are available in locations around the world, and are enhanced with an online message board and 24/7 chat room for support when a meeting is not available.
Women for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety (WFS) is a non-profit support organization for women who are seeking to stop drinking. This self-help group focuses on shifting thoughts about trials and mistakes of the past toward embracing a positive attitude based on self-reliance. The WFS program uses 13 acceptance statements that help them take responsibility for their actions and control of their lives.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is an international non-profit that provides recovery support for alcoholism, drug addiction, and eating disorders. As a secular group, this recovery program empowers the individual to achieve and maintain sobriety through the use of empowerment tools and peer support. The SOS community meetings are available around the world.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing Secular is an international non-profit recovery community that is based on the belief that each person who battles addiction is made up of the “addict self” and the “sober self.” The secular program focuses on helping members increase the power of the “sober self” by finding self-control and strength within themselves. They offer community meetings and an online support group.