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Finding the Best Non-12-Step Addiction Recovery Programs


Whether you struggle with an addiction to alcohol, drugs or both, the right recovery program can offer you a second—or even third—chance at life. According to Forbes, the total cost of alcohol and drug addiction in the United States was over $275 billion in 2011; the emotional and physical costs of addiction are more difficult to quantify. Individuals often turn to Alcoholics Anonymous or similar groups for help with addiction, but non-12-stop addiction programs are also available that may better fit your situation.

Why Seek a Non-12-Step Recovery Program?

The 12-step model is a recognized approach in chemical dependency treatment. It relies on peer support and group discussion as a means to help addicts process emotions, deal with triggers and recognize they are not alone in their struggle. However, the model isn't a universal solution, so you shouldn't feel discouraged if it doesn't work for you. Some reasons why a 12-step model might not work for you include:

  • Your personality or issues outside of your addiction may make it difficult for you to take part in a group environment.
  • Group in your area do not meet at a schedule that is compatible with your work, education or family life.
  • There are no 12-step programs in your area.

No matter what the reason may be, if the popular group-backed method isn't working for you, other options are available. For more information about non-12-step recovery programs and treatment options in your area, call our helpline at 1-888-249-7292 today.

Individual Recovery Coach or Counselor

"Individual counseling is an important part of many recovery programs. One-on-one sessions may be more comfortable for socially awkward or very shy individuals."Individual counseling is an important part of many addiction recovery programs. One-on-one sessions may be more comfortable for socially awkward or very shy individuals. Individual counseling is also appropriate for those who must guard their privacy due to professional concerns. In addition to private sessions with a certified counselor, you may want to consider peer recovery programs. Much like a 12-step sponsor, peers in such programs provide you with someone to reach out to when you need to talk and an understanding individual who can motivate you toward continued success.

Individual counseling with a board-certified substance abuse counselor entails a charge unless you can find a local volunteer program that offers such services for free. Community centers, churches and addiction-awareness organizations may provide discounted or free individual counseling sessions. Your insurance policy may cover all or part of the costs associated with counseling.

SMART Recovery

Self Management and Recovery Training, or SMART Recovery, emphasizes a four-point system that is based on scientific knowledge about addiction. The points address:

  • Staying motivated
  • Dealing with urges
  • Managing behavior and thought appropriately
  • Living in a balanced manner

The program offers group sessions and helps with recovery from a variety of addictions, including those associated with alcohol, cocaine, heroin and prescription drug abuse. For more information about SMART programs or other non-12-step groups in your area, call our 24-hour helpline at 1-888-249-7292.

Web-based Recovery Support

Although Internet-based support groups are not a replacement for in-person drug or alcohol addiction treatment, Web groups, social media and chat rooms can play an important role in sustained recovery. Benefits of Web-based support groups and recovery programs include 24-hour access, the ability to connect with people worldwide and the chance to participate in discussions completely anonymously. Anonymity does mean that others in the group may not be as honest or appropriate as individuals in a physical group setting, so always be aware of scams or other questionable behavior.

If you are looking for online chats or general support from those who are also struggling with addiction, Facebook has a thriving recovery community. Forums on websites dedicated to recovery also offer a place to communicate with those who can understand what you are going through and offer advice. Just make sure you protect your private information and your family, especially if you have young children. If you decide to meet someone from your online support group in person, follow common-sense practices such as meeting him or her in a public place during the daytime. Meet the person in a coffee shop, for example, and don't tell him or her where you live or work until you have met up several times and spend sufficient time getting to know each other.

Learning About Options

The programs listed above are just a few non-12-step alcohol and drug recovery programs; depending on where you live, you could find numerous other resources. Some people to contact about possible recovery programs in your area include:

  • Your medical doctor
  • Volunteers in a community organization offering recovery information or programs
  • Discharge staff in a residential recovery program you attended
  • Your therapist or counselor

You can also search for information online, in your local phone book and on bulletin boards in medical facilities and community centers. Staff at local hospitals, medical centers and government health offices may also be able to provide information or phone numbers for treatment centers in your area. If you are seeking treatment outside of a 12-step program, you might find it difficult to gather information if you don't know where to look. Don't let that discourage you from finding a group or program that works for you. Call our experienced addiction counselors and representatives today at 1-888-249-7292. We can help you understand the programs available in your area and connect you with people who can provide additional support and information.

Questions to Ask About a Program

One of the benefits of a 12-step program is that it's a proven method and has worked for millions of people. When you seek a program outside of that method, see that one is based on science, research or proven medicine. As previously mentioned, there are definitely non-12-step rehab and recovery programs with well-tested backgrounds; ask questions about a program before you join to determine whether or not it is a methodology-backed recovery program. Some questions to ask include:

  • Is there a structure, formula or process the program expects you to follow?
  • If group therapy or discussion is involved, who leads it?
  • What is expected of you during discussions?
  • Will there be an opportunity for you to connect with a counselor on a one-on-one basis?
  • Will you meet other addicts in the program?
  • Does the program pair recovering addicts up for support?
  • What fail-safes does the program offer in the event you experience an extreme urge to use?

These types of questions will help you understand whether or not the group or individual environment is right for you. Followup and consistent support are important components of any program. Although you can't expect any non-residential recovery program to keep tabs on you at all hours, having a fallback during emergencies can help keep you from relapse. Look for a program that offers a buddy system or provides a volunteer hotline you can call during critical times.

Take Action Today

Although finding a program that is most compatible with your needs and personality is important, don't let the search for the perfect program get in the way of your recovery today. Take the first step right now; call our hotline at 1-888-249-7292 to find out about non-12-step recovery programs. While searching for information, if a 12-step program is the only resource available nearby, consider giving it a try. Seeking assistance in any format is essential to recovery; when you are struggling and thus having a hard time, simply surrounding yourself with others who are in the same situation as you can provide the understanding and motivation you need to make it through another day.

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