Twelve-Step Programs have been the go-to approach to treating addiction and helping families of addicts for the past 80 years. However, there are many paths to one destination. While many people achieved recovery through the 12 steps, many people have run into frustration and confusion. Alternatives to the 12 steps have been developed in recent decades, and rehab centers are just starting to include them in their programs.
Some 12-Step-Alternative Programs are:
Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery
SMART Recovery uses a four-point system, which includes developing and keeping motivation, managing urges, handling emotions, thoughts, and behaviors; and finding and maintaining a balanced life. SMART Recovery is based on science-based and philosophy-based therapy methods (e.g. cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing).
Women for Sobriety (WFS)
WFS is exclusively for women. The program uses 13 acceptance statements that are about positivity, responsibility, and emotional growth. The goal of the program is to help the members change their past perspectives and behaviors into more positive perspectives and behaviors in recovery. The theory is that if changes in perspective occur, changes in behavior will soon follow. WFS values a holistic approach to recovery, which includes, healthy eating, meditation, and exercise.
Secular Organization for Sobriety (SOS)
SOS is not based on any other religious or secular program. Abstinence from addictive substance is the only requirement for membership and the sole focus of the program. Rational thinking and taking responsibility are the means to sobriety. SOS is always open to evolving their program based on new research.
Lifering Secular Recovery
Unlike 12-step programs, Lifering teaches its members that they have the power within themselves to combat their addiction. The members divide themselves into the “Addict Self” and “Sober Self.” The goal is weaken the Addict Self by fortifying the Sober Self. Higher Powers and sponsors are used to help a person to get sober. Rather, the inner strength and self-control are relied on as the ultimate source for sobriety.
Moderation Management (MM)
MM is primarily used to treat alcoholism in its early stages. It does not require complete abstinence drinking; however, members can choose to abstain from drinking. MM does not believe that alcoholism is a disease; it believes that it is a choice and bad habit that can be controlled. Nine steps are used to help members take responsibility, recognize unhealthy drinking patterns, and confront problematic drinking. Though it is not an abstinence-based program, the second of the nine steps requests for members to attempt abstinence for one month. There are also guidelines that help clients to control their drinking (e.g. drink limits, keeping BAC under legal limit, not drinking and driving, etc.). MM can also be used in supplement to abstinence based programs. About half of MM members are also a part of an abstinence-based program.
The Effectiveness of 12-Step Alternatives
Conservative members of the recovery community tend to be quick to reject 12-Step Alternatives and other new methods (e.g. addiction medications) to attain recovery. Their main argument is that 12-Step Programs have been effective for decades, which means that alternative programs cannot be as just as effective. Recent research debunks that argument by showing that 12-Step-Alternative Programs are just as effective -if not even more effective- than 12-Step Programs. Since 12-Step-Alternative Programs are often based on science, evidence-based therapy, and the power of the individual while maintaining the social collaboration of 12-Step Programs, they tend to be even more effective for many people.
Research on the effectiveness of 12-Step Programs is limited due to the anonymity of those programs. The research that has been conducted show that the success rate in between 10 to 20 percent. Research also shows that more than half of the people who start a 12-Step Program do not stay in the program more than 30 days. Twelve-Step Programs can be even more effective for individuals who use it in supplement with other programs and methods of treatment.
Which Type of Program is Right For You?
Many people turn to alternatives to the 12 Steps because they have a variety of issues with the program. One of the most common issues that people have with 12-Step Programs is that the concepts of a god and religion. However, supporters of 12-Step Programs argue that 12-Step Programs do not require a belief in a supernatural Higher Power or association with a religious denomination. Many addicts do not believe that addiction is a disease and that they are powerless, which is a central belief of 12-Step Programs. Prayers are a part of most meetings, and many people interpret Step five of the Twelve Steps as confession. Prayer and confession tend to appall many people. Though 12-Step programs have core principals, they do not require any belief or action for membership. Their traditions state that the only requirement for membership is a problem that is relevant to that specific program.
There are many diverse options for those who are seeking 12-Step-Alternative Programs. Many of them have principals that counter the common issues that people have with 12-Step Programs. Recovery is not one-size-fits all. Regardless of what research and statistics say, you must find the program that is right for you. Just because others have found recovery through other methods and statistics may report low success rates, you should not shy away from any program for those purposes. That program may be the one for you. What matters at the end of the day is that you found recovery and are happy with your means of getting there.
Dream Center for Recovery: An Accepting Rehab Center
Dream Center for Recovery is located in Palm City, Florida. They are a holistic rehab center that is accepting of all methods of addiction treatment. While they use the 12 Steps, they also use alternatives to the 12 Steps (e.g. medication-assisted treatment). Intervention and other family therapy. They are Joint Commission Accredited, and they accept most major health insurance plans.
If you or a loved one are interested in Dream Center for Recovery, call them today at 877-978-3148