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Most recovery programs, no matter how varied the approach, embrace either a 12-step model, based on the program from Alcoholics Anonymous, or a non 12-step model. Understanding the difference between the two is key to choosing between a 12-step versus a non 12-step based addiction treatment facility.
Because people’s preferences and worldviews are as distinct as their thumbprints, it is good to know a bit about these two treatment approaches and then decide which one best aligns with your own views. One is not necessarily better or more effective than the other; they are just vastly different. Selecting a 12-step versus a non 12-step program comes down to deciding which treatment program best meshes with your personal worldview.
Finding the right match for your recovery program can make the difference between a sustained recovery and a failed recovery. Why? Because if you do not respect or believe in the basic tenets of the program, chances are you will not be as involved—you will likely tune out. Being in sync with the underlying philosophy of the treatment program gives you a sense of ownership of your recovery, and you will be more receptive to and compliant with each phase of treatment.
The 12-step program hatched in 1935 by the creators of Alcoholics Anonymous infuses a definitive spiritual foundation throughout the steps. Originally, and for decades, God was referenced in both the steps and the accompanying literature; with the theme that one could simply not overcome addiction without a spiritual awakening and the embracing of God’s help. In recent years the reference to God has evolved to the term Higher Power, who can be whoever or whatever the individual determines it to be.
Because A.A. has been around for about 80 years, and with 2 million members worldwide, the 12-step program has become somewhat of an institution in the recovery community. Because of this, there are far more addiction treatment programs that are built around the 12-step program.
With the emergence of a more secular society, alternatives to 12-step programs started popping up in the 1970s. Those who created the non 12-step programs, and those who gravitated to them, were seeking a program that they could connect with. For many in recovery, a religious or spiritual life isn’t a significant aspect in their daily lives, so the 12-step program’s spiritual foundation didn’t resonate.
Non 12-step programs tend to integrate more humanist themes, such as self-empowerment and being in control over one’s own life, versus the belief that God or a Higher Power is the one in control. While most non 12-step programs are secular, there are some faith-based non 12-step programs. Non 12-step programs may also have steps involved, but they are different that A.A.’s steps.
After considering the basic differences between a 12-step versus a non 12-step program, you may decide that you would be more receptive to a non 12-step. The treatment specialists at Non 12-Step Rehab Near Me can guide you to an appropriate drug and alcohol treatment program that resonates with your personal worldviews. For more information about our free locator service, please contact us at (866) 708-3931.
Wouldn’t life be simple if we humans could all just be the standard pegs that fit perfectly into the matching round hole? But the reality is that people are as diverse as Forest Gump’s box of chocolates. The differences between us sometimes seem to far outnumber what we share in common, based on the many intellectual and physical stimuli that float our boats.
When it comes to treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, the same individualized forces that help us form preferences—from choosing a chocolate to deciding what church to attend or which politician to vote for—come into play. We don’t all respond to the same systems and stimuli, and in addiction treatment it is particularly important to have choices.
AA vs. Non 12 Step Program
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been a dominating force in addiction recovery since the late 1930s. There is no disputing its position as an effective tool in helping so many in recovery, but AA is not for everyone. AA is built upon a spiritual platform, where the participants are expected to submit to a Higher Power and humbly proclaim that they are addicts for perpetuity, and this may offend those who are not religious or spiritual.
AA (including Narcotics Anonymous (NA)) features very controlled and scripted meetings, where cross-talk (discussion) is not permitted inside the meetings. This doesn’t resonate with a person who desperately wants to engage in discussion with others who are also in recovery. The language of the 12 steps themselves is not always embraced and can be off-putting to some who take issue with the messages therein, such as identifying themselves as powerless and defective.
Non 12-step programs, on the other hand, offer an alternative to the AA approach. These programs have been gaining popularity since the 1970s, each with a unique niche in the recovery program arena. Having options available is crucial to someone who sincerely wants to get—and stay—sober, and the non 12-step programs offer individual choices. For many, fellowship of some kind is intrinsic to long-term success in achieving lasting sobriety, so having options available can absolutely make the difference.
Non 12-step programs, while differing from each other in many ways, share a common thread; they offer a recovery program that is not AA. Someone new in recovery may be turned off by the fundamental spiritual platform of AA and think there is nothing else out there. They may fail in their quest to remain sober simply because they could not find a support system that meshes with their beliefs and personality. Non 12-step programs address this void by presenting options for someone entering treatment or newly recovering.
Types of Non 12-Step Programs
Addiction treatment programs may be 30 day, 60 day, or 90 days in length. Typically, most programs are geared toward the 30-day plan, but the most effective programs are the 90-day treatment plans. A 90 day program allows enough time for the brain to heal, to re-route neural pathways that have been hijacked by the addictive substance, and, most importantly, to allow a therapist time to discover and treat the underlying core issue that caused the individual to turn to substance abuse in the first place.
Treatment programs that embrace a non 12-step approach may employ any one of the various non 12-step programs available, including, but not limited to:
The SMART Recovery model is science-based and emphasizes self-empowerment. The program offers a four-point program for success in recovery:
Living a balanced life.
The SMART Recovery program teaches techniques that help participants achieve self-directed change. It encourages individuals to believe that they can recover from addiction, versus the AA belief that it is a lifelong disease. SMART is an effective program for people who believe they are in control of their lives, and take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
James Christopher founded Secular Organizations for Sobriety in the 1980s. He objected to AA’s spiritual platform, believing that there should be a distinction between religious or spiritual beliefs and handling a substance abuse problem. Its primary position is “sobriety priority,” maintaining that sobriety has to become one’s priority and you “cannot use, no matter what.”
Women for Sobriety (WFS)
Women for Sobriety was founded by Jean Kirkpatrick in the 1970s as a response to what she felt were differences between men and women and how they require different recovery approaches. The premise of WFS is that women begin using alcohol or drugs as a means of managing difficult emotional issues, and addiction may result. In contrast to AA’s focus on humility, WFS emphasizes self-empowerment and self-value. A central focus is on substituting negative thoughts with positive, self-affirming attitudes, and uses 13 affirmations in its program.
Finding a Non 12 Step Program
Whether you are searching for a suitable addiction treatment program for the first time or returning to treatment, finding the right fit can make all the difference in the outcome. A treatment program should focus on identifying and treating the core issue behind the substance abuse, and a non 12-step program—especially one with a 90-day treatment plan—is an excellent option for individuals serious about achieving long-term sobriety. Contact us today at Non 12 Step Rehab Near Me for an alternative to the traditional 12 step programs that are simply not the right fit for so many. Call us at (866) 708-3931 to take your first step toward the healthy life you deserve.
Recovering from alcohol or drug addiction is a life changing experience that requires serious commitment, willpower and understanding. Many traditional 12-step programs follow very specific guidelines that aren’t necessarily beneficial for every individual. Religion is often a key part of their program but this method is outdated and flawed as it fails to accommodate individuals with other beliefs. When it comes to your recovery, it’s important to choose a path that fits your individual needs. Because of this, non 12 step programs can be used to guide you throughout your recovery in a way that works best for you.
A non 12 step rehab program offers recovering addicts a unique view on recovery as a whole. Unlike a traditional 12 step program, these programs work to change the general outlook on addiction and the reasons behind it. Instead of blaming addiction as the sole cause of an addict’s struggles, non 12 step programs understand that the true issue behind addiction is often physical or mental dependence.
When abused, many drugs can cause painful withdrawal symptoms that hinder the recovery of most users. Instead of blaming addiction as the reason for continued drug use many professionals are now realizing that the dependence these drugs can cause is the real problem. Because of this new approach addicts can begin looking past their addiction in order to move on with their life after treatment.
A traditional 12 step program uses a form of group therapy when treating recovering addicts. Unfortunately this method can actually hinder the recovery process. Speaking with strangers about your personal story and past can leave you feeling embarrassed, scared or even ashamed. On top of this, listening to other addicts while they talk about their struggles with addiction may bring up unpleasant memories you’d rather not relive. Non 12 step programs aim to change this approach by using more innovative forms of therapy during your recovery such as:
CBT helps to identify any areas of your life that need improvement while also providing you with useful ways to improve your coping skills. By delving deeper into the root cause of an addiction cognitive therapy can help you understand the true reasons behind your addiction and how you can face them in the future after treatment.
Inpatient treatment uses a facility to house a patient, for a pre-arraigned amount of time, in order to better manage their addiction. By providing an addict with 24 hour care, instead of daily or weekly sessions, their chance for a complete recovery is greatly improved. Inpatient therapy is an ideal choice, especially when a patient is suffering from withdrawal symptoms brought on by drug or alcohol abuse. With professional care provided throughout the entire detoxification process, it can mean the difference between success and failure during such a trying time.
Since each person is unique, it’s important not to generalize their recovery when it comes to addiction and drug dependence. Long term rehab can be provided to patients that require additional care without setting a time limit. Unlike shorter programs, such as 12 step recovery, long term rehab provides an addict with the care they need based on their individual situation and health status. When aiming to prevent relapse, this form of rehab can ensure that a patient is given proper time to heal without feeling rushed or abandoned.
By choosing non 12 step, addicts can now face their recovery head on by taking a route that works best for them as an individual.