Addiction Recovery - Sobriety - Trends and Statistics

Alternatives to 12-Step Recovery Groups

Alternatives to 12-Step Recovery Groups

12-Step recovery programs are only one option for your recovery journey, and it is possible to create your path toward sustained sobriety.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery


Trends and Statistics

May 26, 2022

Recovery and sobriety are personal journeys, and there is no one way to pursue a life free from addiction to drugs.

While 12-Step programs are highly prevalent as support options and recovery routes, they are by no means the only options available to structure a recovery plan. Finding the right path in recovery can take time, but there are always new options to explore and new paths to try until you find the best, most personalized fit for your continued journey toward a sober future.

The Barriers to 12-Step Programs

While widespread throughout the world, 12-Step programs aren’t without their barriers. For example, you may find the structure to be intimidating, feeling too rigid for your unique situation.

Regardless of how your local meetings may function, harboring these feelings can still cause an unnecessary reluctance that can compromise the efficacy of these programs.

Demographics may also cause you to feel reluctant to engage in a traditional 12-Step program, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Effective support groups encourage camaraderie between peers and sharing demographics with these peers is essential. You may desire to get involved with a group that shares your religious orientation, or perhaps you're looking for peers around a similar age group.

Access to communities that provide these connections is crucial, and your local 12-Step program may not fit these needs.

Lastly, due to the prevalence of 12-Step programs, it is not uncommon to be required to attend a specific group as a result of a legal obligation, which inherently carries a great deal of reluctance. 

Alternatives to 12-Step Programs

Since finding a recovery group that best fits your needs and goals is complicated, there are alternatives to traditional 12-Step programs.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is a support program that avoids any kind of religious connotations. Instead, they direct focus inward on cognitive-behavioral approaches and self-empowering a sober mind. Participants need not subscribe to predetermined steps to gauge their recovery, but rather adhere to the program’s 3 S’s: Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-help.

While the “secularity” point may seem as if it is dismissing those of a religious denomination, it intends that such matters be kept private and practiced at your discretion rather than being a tentpole within LifeRing's recovery efforts. Those who attend any kind of house of worship or private practice are still welcome to participate in the program.

Moderation Management

Just as addiction can manifest in many different ways, one’s goals for recovery may also differ widely. While many choose to abstain from addictive substances entirely for their own health, others may not necessarily set these same goals for themselves.

For some, learning to manage one’s use of alcohol may be the goal, and instead of looking to eliminate its use entirely, one seeks to moderate it by gaining agency and the ability to stop whenever they choose or make educated decisions on when to engage or avoid such substances.

Moderation Management is not for everyone and is designed so those concerned with their levels of drinking can explore the world of sobriety and discover their relationships with alcohol through the use of a step-by-step structure. While some may find success in practicing moderation, others may find that their situation demands a more direct approach. Moderation Management can help you discover whether you would benefit more from a dedicated recovery and abstinence program, depending on your unique relationship with addictive substances.

Creating Your Own Support

Recovery’s many paths mean that you can piece together your own best recovery practices. By maintaining contact with recovery peers met in detox or residential treatment and having weekly meetings with recovery-supportive loved ones, sponsors, and family, you can create your own effective support network.

By filling your social space with supportive individuals and engaging in community efforts — such as volunteer programs or local sports and hobby leagues — you can continue to gauge your sober efforts fairly.

Setting clear goals and communicating regularly with support systems can create an atmosphere of support and accountability while furthering your goals outside of a predetermined step-by-step program.

While this approach can be difficult to manage, working with professionals and participating in family therapy programs can ensure your time is spent pursuing the most effective recovery outlets. Managing the urges and complexities of ongoing sobriety while discussing how to create these communities with professionals can provide the necessary education to effectively chart the path ahead.

There Is No One Way to Find Recovery From Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Finding the right path for you is a personal journey. Whether you attend a 12-Step program, one of the local or digital alternatives, or create your own sober environment and community, recovery is always possible, so long as your goals and sober commitment are at the forefront of your mind while pursuing each step toward a healthy, sober future. 

At The Edge Treatment Center, we understand the need for a personalized recovery program, and we want to help you make your journey personal each step of the way. From your first step into detox through outpatient programs and alumni services, we can help you garner the best recovery strategies while exploring new, evolving options.

For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today.

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