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12-Steps Series, Part II: Alternatives to AA

In our last post, we talked about all that 12-step meetings for Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups have to offer to participants in recovery. It’s a long list and thousands of people say that attending meetings and working the steps saved their lives. However, there are just as many people who say that the Christian overtones and “God talk” are off-putting and look to other support groups that provide similar benefits without incorporating religion or spirituality. There are a number to choose from, including:

  • LifeRing
  • Moderation Management
  • Rational Recovery

Non-Spiritual Groups

Some support groups are exactly like AA except that there is no mention of a Higher Power or a requirement to “give up” control of ones life to anyone. The focus instead is on taking responsibility for your actions and learning how to make better choices. Atheism is not a requirement, and if you are on a spiritual path of any kind, it does not stop you from taking part. Rather, the idea is that spirituality is a personal choice and not a requirement for you to build a happy life in recovery.

Moderation or Harm Reduction Groups

Other groups take things a step farther and question the assertion made by AA participants that total sobriety is necessary. Some groups say that moderate use of alcohol and/ or other drugs is the goal and that learning how to manage use of drugs is the key to self mastery. With or without spiritual pursuits, they believe that it can be achieved through self examination and vigilant self awareness. These groups often discount the “disease model” of addiction or the idea that alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease that requires medical treatment. There are not very many of these groups and they are nowhere near as prolific as the 12-step meetings – some say that that is because the people who attend either stop soon after starting because they are truly addicts and succumb to active addiction or because they never were addicts in the first place.

Evidence Based Treatment

If you are living with a drug abuse or addiction issue that is threatening your life, it is not recommended that you try to use 12-steps or any other group alone as your sole means of recovery. Chronic addiction requires psychological and medical intervention, but once you are stabilized and solid in sober life, support groups can be an excellent means of remaining relapse-free for the long-term.

Would you like to learn more about our woman-centered recovery programs here at The Orchid? Contact us today.

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