Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous will be the first to tell you that they do not have a monopoly on recovery. They merely offer one solution for getting sober that has proven pretty effective for many people. That being said, some people do not want to participate in a 12 Step program or have found that the 12 Steps just don’t seem to work for them. Many times these people can feel at a loss because they may have been led to believe that if they can’t get sober in AA or NA, there is no hope for them. This however is not the case and there are several other options for getting sober if you do not want to be involved in a 12 Step Program.
Options For Getting Sober Without The Steps
In the early 20th century renowned psychiatrist Carl Jung expressed the fact that for someone to overcome their addiction or alcoholism, something needed to occur that would result in a complete shift in thinking. Jung went on to say how often therapy alone was not sufficient for this shift to occur, but something else, something along the lines of a spiritual experience, needed to take place for the shift to occur. For those who are opposed to the idea of spirituality in any sense of the word, try to keep an open mind and think of it as a change of the psyche, which is what all of these alternatives to AA or NA propose in one form or another.
Often traditional therapy is not enough to get some sober, because the element of relating is not there, but there are some cases where therapy has gotten people sober. If you are opposed to the idea of going to 12 Step meetings then check out therapy and see if this method of treatment will work in allowing you to overcome your addiction.
Celebrate Recovery was started in the early 90s as a Christian support group for people suffering from alcoholism and addiction. Rather than using 12 Steps, it has 8 principles that it follows, that adhere to the beatitudes. Even though the program is somewhat based on the 12 Steps, it is in no way associated with AA or NA and its usage of the bible may make it useful for someone who is Christian. There are currently over 10,000 churches that offer Celebrate Recovery so finding a meeting near you should not be too difficult.
Smart Recovery uses the ideas of cognitive behavioral therapy to allow its members to re-associate certain environmental and emotional influences that may have caused their alcoholism. By doing this the program allows its members to create healthier patterns of actions and thoughts, which break the cycle of addictive behaviors. The program employs the latest scientific and psychiatric research and although it is based on abstinence only, the program is not opposed to having members who are not sure if they want to quit completely. The goal is to empower its members and this is done by following a 4-point program consisting of:
Building and maintaining motivation
Coping with urges
Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
Living a balanced life
Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Secular Organizations for Sobriety was started in the 1980s by a former AA member who felt uncomfortable with AA’s insistence of turning the will over to a higher power. He felt that by taking personal responsibility for his drinking and removing this notion from the idea of God, it would be more beneficial to his sobriety and life. There is no real structure of this program besides the idea of taking responsibility for your actions and a few other suggestions.
Women for Sobriety was formed in the 1970s by a socialist named Jean Kirkpatrick, who felt that what women needed to get sober was different from what men needed. Her approach differs from AA in that she views alcoholism as something that develops out of emotional problems, rather than alcoholism being the underlying cause behind other issues.
LifeRing Secular Recovery
LifeRing Secular Recovery is an offshoot of Secular Organizations for Sobriety. Some members of SOS disagreed with the program's structure, so they decided to start their own program. LifeRing Secular Recovery has three principles centered on the ideas of sobriety, secularism, and self-help. In many ways, they are similar to SOS and they have grown quite a bit over the past 10 years.
Finding sobriety through your chosen faith is a way that many people who do not go to AA or NA finally get sober. In fact besides AA or NA, this is probably the most popular method of getting sober. The support that can be found in the church, synagogue, or mosque, coupled with the spiritual influence can be exactly what is needed in order to overcome addiction or alcoholism.
If you are at a point with your drinking or using where you feel that you need to make a change but do not want to go to a 12 Step Program, then seek out information on one of the alternatives above. Just because you do not want to go to AA or NA does not mean that you do not have the option to get sober. Many people have felt exactly like you do and they were able to find their own niche in recovery. Hopefully, this information was helpful to you and I hope that in the end, you find exactly what it is that you are looking for.