by Passages Malibu

The 12-step program is a model of recovery that relies on peer support and group discussion to help addicts or alcoholics deal with the triggers of their addiction and understand that they are not alone in their fight. But this model of recovery is not for everyone; the 12-step programs may work for some but not others, and there are many reasons they might not work for you which can include:


  • Looking for a more scientific approach
  • Uncomfortable with the religious components of a 12-step program
  • Not comfortable sharing experiences with strangers
  • No 12-step programs in the area


There are many other reasons why they may not work for an individual, so what are some alternatives to the 12-step model?


Non-12-Step Rehab Centers

These type of programs include inpatient and outpatient recovery. They create treatment plans that are customized to each individual recovering addict, using more holistic treatment methods such as yoga, massage, vitamin therapy and exercise programs.


One of the biggest differentiators of these programs is that they do not view addiction as a lifelong disease. They focus on self-empowerment and figuring out what motivates an individual to get sober. These rehab centers often focus on more evidence-based treatments that focus on the actions, thought patterns and behaviors that led to the addiction.



SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery stands for Self Management and Recovery Training, which pushes a four point system that is based on scientific knowledge about addiction. These four points are:


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


Similar to rehab center treatment, the main goal of SMART Recovery is empowerment and self-reliance. These programs try to help you make a positive change in your life and can help with a variety of addictions beyond just drugs and alcohol.



Individual Recovery Coach or Counselor

This may be an option more attractive to those who do not necessarily feel comfortable sharing with a group. Working with a counselor will entail a cost to the individual, like the above two programs, though insurance may cover some of these as well. Though this option does not require sharing in a group setting, it is generally recommended that you find an outside resource to reach out to who can continue to motivate you and give you fresh perspectives.



Secular Organizations for Sobriety

This is a program that was created in 1985 and has helped many people recover from addiction. It does not matter if you are religious or not, this program is happy to accept people with any beliefs as it is more focused on empowerment to the addict. Unlike the above options, SOS is free with no costs to join or continue participation.



Learning About Options

There are other options out there in addition to these listed depending on where you live. If you or someone you know thinks they need to be in rehab, you can contact a doctor, the local recovery programs, a therapist or even volunteers in community organizations offering recovery info to learn more about these programs, find out about new options and figure out what is best.