The Need for Alternative Recovery Support
A traditional 12 step program is with the idea of a higher power. Each step not only works with reaching recovery, but also with reaching a new relationship with God, or any other type of higher power. While this is a tried-and-true method to achieving lasting sobriety, it’s not for everyone.
For those who choose to not believe or rely on faith, going through a 12 step program can feel uncomfortable, which can hinder progress. A non 12 step rehab program provides individuals with another option for successful recovery in a welcoming and comfortable setting.
Individuals who don’t feel acceptance or comfort in their treatment will find themselves at a higher risk for relapse in the future. A non 12 step option helps increase the effectiveness of the program while also working as relapse prevention.
Here, we highlight some of the most common 12 step alternatives:
What is SMART Recovery?
SMART Recovery is an evidence-based program that seeks to help any individual who is suffering from a drug, alcohol, or any other destructive problem. SMART Recovery is a self-help program that focuses on evidence-based recovery techniques.
SMART Recovery is not a Twelve-Step fellowship, and chooses to empower the individual rather than labeling them as powerless.
SMART Recovery utilizes a straightforward Four Point Program that empowers the individual to achieve long-term sobriety from drugs and alcohol. While recovery is never easy to obtain, the Four Point Program makes it simple.
Here we break down a very brief introduction into the Four Point Program that SMART Recovery offers.
Building and maintaining motivation
It is extremely common for us to make declarations at various points in our lives (such as new year’s resolutions) to make healthy changes for the future. Unfortunately, however, it is extremely uncommon for us to actually see these all the way through to completion!
The First Point of SMART Recovery focuses not only on the building of motivation for change, but also the maintenance of this motivation to ensure long-term sobriety is achieved. This emphasis comes from the belief that motivation is one of the key pieces to obtaining long-term sobriety.
Coping with urges
Once we have obtained the motivation to commit to a life free of drugs and alcohol, we must begin to learn how to cope with the urges and cravings to use that typically will crop up. Urges and cravings will not be a new phenomenon to us, as we have experienced and succumbed to these feelings countless times in the past.
The Second Point of SMART Recovery begins to arm us with the tools necessary to combat these urges and maintain our sobriety.
Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
One of the core beliefs in SMART Recovery derives from the principles set forth by REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) – that many of our destructive behaviors originate from a distorted perception of the world. Thus, if we change our perceptions of the world, our behavior will also change.
The Third Point of SMART Recovery thus focuses on teaching techniques to achieve this radical change in perception and ultimately behavior that results from REBT.
Living a balanced life
By this point, we will have achieved short-term sobriety. This is, however, only the beginning of our journey. To avoid eventual relapses, we must fill the void left behind by removing drug and alcohol use with positive, healthy activities that give us gratification.
The Fourth Point of SMART Recovery teaches us how to find a balanced, fulfilled life that removes our desire to ever use drugs or alcohol again.
So how does SMART Recovery work?
SMART Recovery operates on the belief that the individual has used drugs and alcohol simply as a tool to cope with life’s difficulties.
While these substances may function for extended periods of time successfully as a coping mechanism, they ultimately always cause far more problems than good. Eventually, these behaviors turn self-destructive and the individual must recover.
SMART Recovery seeks to replace drugs and alcohol with other tools that help the individual to cope with everyday stresses, thus removing the need for using/drinking. SMART Recovery relies on the proven and scientific method of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy to achieve this.
Specifically, SMART Recovery utilizes a form of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy known as REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) that empowers the individual with the realization that most of our emotions are created from our own thinking, and thus can be controlled by our own selves.
So how is SMART Recovery different from Twelve-Step Fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous?
While both SMART Recovery and Twelve-Step Fellowships share the similar goal of long-term sobriety, they approach the issue quite differently.
While Twelve-Step Fellowships focus on an individual’s powerlessness over substances, SMART Recovery focuses on empowering the individual to conquer them. SMART Recovery also does not require the individual to practice spiritual beliefs, such as finding a higher power.
While SMART Recovery has daily meetings similar to Twelve-Step Fellowships, it does not require members to spend the rest of their lives attending meetings.
Once a member of SMART Recovery achieves their recovery goal, they may graduate from the program or chose to remain in it and help newcomers.
Is SMART Recovery the best option for me?
SMART Recovery’s straightforward, evidence-based approach to achieving long-term sobriety has helped countless people who are either new to recovery or have failed at other recovery programs.
SMART Recovery does not, however, discourage members from other fellowships from also attending their groups. This gives members the freedom of incorporating ideas from other fellowships along with SMART Recovery ideas for a program that works best for them.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people committed to sharing their practical experiences and providing recovery support for those seeking to live a life free of drugs and alcohol.
Rather than pushing a specific program, such as the twelve-steps, LifeRing chooses to embrace whatever works for each individual. As such, LifeRing does not encourage, nor discourage, individuals from attending other forms of recovery.
Finding your Sober Self
LifeRing believes that within each of us exist not only the desire to stay sober, but also the power to stay sober. This desire to stay sober, along with the power that is within each of us, is referred to as our Sober Self.
This is contrasted by our Addict Self, which works to beat down our Sober Self by controlling our thinking and decision-making. Thus, the goal of LifeRing is to help each of us find our Sober Self.
Higher-power, Steps, and Sponsors?
LifeRing believes that you are the best person to design your own recovery program. The goal of LifeRing is to provide you with safe and supportive contact with others just like you who are striving to reach their own goals in sobriety.
For that reason, we do not have steps, sponsors, or require a belief in a higher-power like other recovery fellowships.
Meetings and Literature
LifeRing provides the advice, support, and information you need to get clean and sober through our meetings. LifeRing offers both face-to-face meetings in several different countries and online meetings for those who prefer them.
LifeRing also has a strong online community, including email groups and forums. We provide literature for sale on our website for those who would like to learn more about our program.
Take the first crucial step
The seemingly never-ending cycle of addiction can be stopped, and recovery can be achieved.
All it requires is taking the first crucial step of recovery, which is to detox from all drugs and alcohol. If you or a loved one is ready to take the first crucial step, please call our admissions staff 24/7 at (866) 399-6528.