There’s no one way to get sober.
For many years, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and similar 12-Step programs have been an important part of addiction management and recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Spiritual in nature, 12-Step programs ask their members to turn over their lives to a higher power.
For some people, this concept of spirituality in recovery does not work. However, the results of a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Research have shown that other mutual support groups are viable alternatives to 12-Step programs. Like 12-Step programs, they provide tools and peer support to reduce the chance of relapse.
A secular program based on scientific knowledge, SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) works with members to develop a positive lifestyle and stop destructive habits. The program helps participants make life choices using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Participants believe that change is possible, but you must first stop thinking about your past mistakes and concentrate on changing your present and future. They believe that thinking creates your feelings and leads you to act.
The main aspects of SMART Recovery include:
- The 4-Point Program
- The Basic Principles
- The Stages of Change
Learn more about the SMART Recovery program, online meetings, and meeting locations by visiting their website.
A Christ-centered program, Celebrate Recovery uses a modified version of the traditional 12-Steps and includes Bible verses for each one. The program is open to anyone struggling with addiction, pain, or hurt of any kind. According to their website, the Christian organization brings the healing power of Jesus Christ to the “hurting and broken” by working their three programs: Step Studies, The Journey Begins, and The Journey Continues.
Visit the Celebrate Recovery website to find meeting locations and learn more about the program.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) began in the mid-1980s and promotes self-empowerment, self-control, and self-reliance. Members are encouraged to think rationally and take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Peer support helps members follow the six suggested guidelines for sobriety, with “Sobriety is a Priority” being one of them.
Take a look at the SOS website to learn more about the program, the locations of meetings, and their online groups.
LifeRing Secular Society
LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR) began as an offshoot of Secular Organizations for Sobriety in 2001 after a disagreement regarding the structure of the organization. The LSR program is based on the “3S” Philosophy of Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help.
Participants use cognitive behavioral methods, which according to their organization is a way to constrain the addict mind and empower the sober mind. Participants rely on their own efforts rather than a higher power.
The LSR website provides information about its program, meeting locations, and how to begin a group in your area.
A non-profit organization, Refuge Recovery is based on the belief that the way to form a strong foundation on the road to recovery is by following Buddhist practices and principles. Refuge Recovery believes that by training your mind and heart to see clearly and responding to your life in a non-harming and understanding way, you can free yourself from addiction.
By applying their belief in Dharma, participants can relieve all types of suffering, including addiction. Refuge Recovery also recognizes:
- The Four Noble Truths
- The Four Foundations of Mindfulness
- Heart Practice Meditations
- The Eightfold Path to Recovery
Visit the Refuge Recovery website to learn more about the program and what they offer, including online podcasts and meditations.
Women for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety, also known as WFS, is a non-profit organization that is free to join. The first addiction recovery alternative to the 12-Step program strictly for women, WFS is based on their Thirteen Acceptance Statements. They stress a philosophy of positivity, emotional self-growth, and responsibility.
An abstinence-based program, Women for Sobriety helps members change their negative behaviors and thoughts so they can have a happier and healthier life in recovery. The program also promotes meditation, positive affirmations, strategies for healthy eating, physical wellness, and other forms of holistic healing.
To learn more about Women for Sobriety, visit their website.
Getting the Help You Need
Knowing there are alternatives to the traditional 12-Step programs provides people with substance use disorders a choice for continuing care. However, residential treatment may first be needed to build the foundation for recovery.
Located on 27 serene acres in the beautiful Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, English Mountain Recovery Center offers the help needed to travel the road to a healthy, happy, and sober life. Our evidence-based programs are gender-specific and include support for the entire family as well as options for alumni care.