Regardless of what they tell you in rehab, there are other ways to have a well rounded, fulfilling recovery without using the 12 Steps. I personally enjoy using elements of the 12 steps but also think my recovery comes from a variety of places. I’m going to go over 5 alternatives to the 12 Steps that you can use in your recovery and still have a similar success rate. Some of these I have used in my own recovery and some I have just heard from others who have had success. You can use one method or pull a bit from each to have a recovery filled with ideas from different places. Everybody is different and what works for some might not work for others.
SMART Recovery, or Self-Management and Recovery-Training, is a group meeting alternative to the 12 Steps. You do not admit powerlessness, there is no concept of a higher power, and it does not use the disease model as one would within the 12-step paradigm. SMART meetings use Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT, and Science as opposed to Steps and Sponsors. Try it, you may like it.
A new approach to addiction treatment is based on buddhist principles and is making its rounds in the addiction recovery community. This approach is working for some and it emphasizes self-honesty, community and abstinence. This approach is working for the people that really have a fundamental problem with the higher power approach in the 12 Steps. Instead of looking outward, members look inward. If you like meditation, this one is for you.
One of my recovery heroes is the celebrity personality Russell Brand. He is a recovering addict himself and has a lot of good things to say. Recently he wrote a book called “Recovery” and it contains his take on the 12 Steps. They are basically the same but a bit easier to understand for those of us younger folk. (He uses the word fuck a great deal)
Growing out of it
I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea here but statistically by the age of 35, half of all people who qualify for substance use disorder in their teens and 20’s, no longer do so. They simply age out of it. In fact, addiction is the psychological disorder with the best odds of taking care of itself. I personally don’t qualify as being within the “half of all people” and I need all the help I can get.
Secular Organization for Sobriety meetings were formed specifically as another non-religious alternative to the 12 Steps, the doctrine is open and is evolving constantly as new discoveries are made in the field of addiction. Members hold each other accountable, have discussions and celebrate milestones together. This might be another organization to try if you have a problem with the 12 Step meetings or just want to expand your horizons.
There are many other alternatives and vehicles to use to help yourself with sobriety that I did not go over in this article. Specifically, Women for Sobriety, Lifering Secular Recovery, Moderation Management or MM, 16 Steps, Harm Reduction for Alcohol or HAMS, and many others. Maybe just living a healthy lifestyle, eating right and going to the gym is enough for you. With all this said 12 Step meeting are by far the most popular, easiest to access and therefore the best method I can think of, but if you want to try something different in your recovery there are options out there.
Written By: Mark
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