Beyond the 12 Steps: 5 Alternatives to AA
While Alcoholics Anonymous is often touted as the gold standard for treatment, it’s essential to know the alternatives to AA. After all, everyone has different needs in their recovery, and up to 40-60% of individuals receiving treatment for substance use disorders relapse.
Let’s explore the available treatment options.
SMART stands for the acronym “self-management and recovery training.” SMART Recovery offers dynamic self-help groups intended for individuals who wish to remain abstinent from drugs and alcohol.
Employing techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), and relational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), they seek to support individuals on their journeys of pursuing recovery.
The SMART Recovery 4-point Program approach emphasizes:
Building and maintaining motivation
Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
Living a balanced life
SMART recovery dismantles labels such as ‘alcoholic’ or ‘addict,’ and they instead focus on identifying problematic behaviors and finding viable solutions for change.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing supports individuals in harnessing their internal strength and self-control to make the necessary changes in their lives. Individuals can attend live meetings or connect via online services. LifeRing focuses on the present.
LifeRing believes that individuals have personal power in overcoming their addictions. They assume each member has a Sober Self and an Addict Self, and LifeRing aims to support and strengthen the Sober Self.
Instead of a higher power, LifeRing believes the individual is equipped to build a program.
Women For Sobriety
Women for Sobriety (WFS) is a non-profit, abstinence-based organization devoted to supporting women cultivate a new life in recovery. This program acknowledges the unique emotional, physical, and spiritual needs that women have in recovery.
The WFS program integrates:
Letting the body help (relaxation, diet, and physical exercise)
Cognitive strategies for positive thinking
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
SOS advocates taking personal accountability for problematic substance use and managing it as its own issue.
SOS doesn’t follow a structured program, but it does entail the “sobriety priority,” in the sense that you cannot and do not use- no matter what.
SOS is not anti-spirituality, but rather than crediting a Higher Power, individuals receive accountability for their own progress.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12-step recovery program for anyone struggling with addiction or pain. It prides itself as being a ‘large umbrella’ 12-step program that offers support for a variety of issues. It’s
Typical meetings include large group meetings, open share small groups, and Newcomers 101. After attending Celebrate Recovery, members may join step studies. These groups help participants examine their pasts and evaluate appropriate steps for change.
Final Thoughts on Alternatives to AA
While 12-Step programs offer tremendous support and tools for change, there are numerous alternatives to AA.
At The Edge, we are passionate about our clients finding their way for sustainable recovery. Interested in learning more about our dynamic approach? Contact us today!