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While it is important that any non 12-step addiction treatment has a scientific basis with proven results, perhaps one of the most important factors that they can offer in recovery is comfort. It is important that people feel comfortable and safe because unless people do, they are not likely to put in effort during treatment. They may even remain on their guard at all times. Coming to terms with the addiction process is difficult, at best, if the addict refuses to open up and share during counseling. Without understanding what led to these problems in the first place, those who struggle with addiction are likely to make the same mistakes again when they are no longer under professional supervision.
Many of the rehabilitation programs offered across the country use the same method of therapy that became famous because of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous – the 12-step model. While these programs claim to have altered their emphasis over the last few decades, they still have an underlying religious component that makes a number of people very uncomfortable.
The religious tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is impossible to ignore. When the original book discusses aspects like “universal spiritual values in daily living,” it does not leave much room for interpretation. While some advocates of this program may suggest otherwise, those who prefer a non-religious, non 12-step rehab point to some of the values included in Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous that are difficult for many to follow:
While these phrases do not directly reference the concept of a Christian God, it does little to dissuade those seeking a non-traditional rehabilitation option. While different groups may make for different experiences, some meetings start with group prayer or may have a former member who claims to have had success because of the program and testify to its success. Anyone who has experience with Baptist or Evangelical Christian traditions is going to recognize these steps as familiar.
While the 12-step, traditional program offers these guidelines, individual programs have the option to remove the concept of a Higher Power. While not every 12-step program has to follow the notion of prayer, the underlying meaning of the program does not convince most people seeking a non-religious option that this is indeed secular.
When looking at the overall notion of the program, these changes are relatively minor adjustments for people seeking non 12-step addiction recovery. Many of these individuals want an alternative program that has a basis in science and reason, not the traditional 12 tenets. Those who suggest that NA and AA do not have religious undertones only need to look at the 2008 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California, establishing the fact that mandating AA after a DUI arrest would violate the separation between church and state.
a recovery program can only be successful if the addict believes in the success of the program
Numerous studies that suggest a recovery program is only successful if the addict believes in its success – they must be interested in continuing treatment. If they feel uncomfortable with a prayer at the start of the meeting, with the religious undertones of the support groups, or feel that the notion of a Higher Power does not correlate with their own beliefs, they may feel a strong discomfort in attending these meetings. If the person feels that the information does not correspond with their own reality, they may stop going to these meetings altogether.
Research suggests that religion can be a vital component for addicts. It may make someone far more likely to attend meetings dutifully or, on the other hand make it more likely for them to stop going altogether. A study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol reveals that 36 percent of participants in AA meetings feel negatively about the program. The study cites the appeal to a Higher Power as the most likely source of discomfort. While this large percentage may not stop going, they feel so disenfranchised by the program that it does little to help them.
While this was a clear reason that many people stopped attending these religious programs, other factors cause someone to stop attending rehab as well. Some people simply do not believe they need help or are not ready to alter their behavior.
There are numerous reasons to try the benefits of non-faith based rehab centers. Some of the noted factors include:
Ultimately, it comes back to comfort. Some people may feel comfortable in the traditional setting that provides strong religious undertones. While these generally have lower success rates, it is essential that the person is comfortable during his or her treatment. Many people opt for non 12-step recovery because they have a proven history of success, use scientific data to provide different options and do not use a one-size-fits-all approach.
If you want to give yourself or someone close to you the best possible chance at recovery, understand that non-religious, non 12-step rehabilitation facilities offer the best chance at doing so. Pick up the phone right now and call our counselors to get the help you need. Call for a free confidential assessment at 866-708-3931.