There are plenty of drug rehabs that do not practice the 12 Step method for abstinence and continuing recovery from substance abuse. There is nothing inherently wrong with the 12-Step Program. It has helped many people to battle their addictions and win. Their meetings are anonymous, free and plentiful. They provide group support and will assign you a sponsor to help you stay clean. They are certainly right about the fact that all addicts have lost control over their lives. That’s an ice-cold fact.
12 Step Program Not for Everyone
However, not everyone sees a higher power in the same way. Others believe in self-accountability and would rather not hand off control. Still others don’t believe in a higher power at all. Some people believe that addiction can be conquered and isn’t necessarily a lifelong condition. This goes against basic 12-Step tenets. Working through the 12 Steps can be a painful experience. The program puts a great deal of emphasis on the past. Some people feel that it may even do more harm than good.
It’s admirable that 12 Steps encourages members to seek out others who are trapped in addictions and try to help them. That’s the 12th and final step. But it’s also true that not everyone will be able to this. Many people have enough just trying to keep themselves sober. There is little time or emotional energy to help someone else. It’s also true that some people are uncomfortable revealing intimate personal details about their addictions in a group setting. No one is supposed to repeat what is said in AA meetings, but there’s no way to stop them from doing so.
Alternatives to AA and NA
- SMART Recovery
This program doesn’t focus on addiction as a disease. It promotes self-empowerment and teaches that total recovery from addiction is possible. SMART encourages abstinence, but it doesn’t discriminate against people who are still ambivalent about quitting their drug use. These people are welcome, too. It works well for people who like to take control of their own futures. SMART features a 4-point program:
- Creating motivation
- Conquering urges
- Managing feelings and behaviors
- Life balance
SMART is recognized by the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) and The American Society of Addiction Medicine.
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety
SOS was founded by James Christopher, himself an alcoholic, in the 1980s. Not satisfied with his AA experience, he created the SOS method. SOS has no religious or spiritual component. It advocates the concept of sobriety priority. This means that you need to wrest control of your addiction and overcome it by staying away from alcohol or your drug of choice at all costs.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This program uses sound psychological principles to help addicts stop using drugs by teaching them important coping skills:
- Coping with emotions.
- Dealing with cravings
- Daily life coping tools
- Changing bad thinking patterns
CBT doesn’t recognize drug addiction as a lifelong disease. It teaches that negative thinking patterns can be replaced with positive ones.
Addicts learn how to manage their emotional triggers that lead them to drug use in the first place. They learn how to work through and properly respond to emotions such as anger, remorse and sadness. Participants learn how to use distraction and relaxation techniques. CBT teaches that positive sober activities must be substituted for the missing drugs in an addict’s life. They are right. CBT encourages participants to reinforce their personal relationships. This helps the resolve to stay clean. CBT also offers important tools to help addicts prevent relapse.
Are Faith-Based Drug Programs Better?
Some statistics indicate that people who have religious beliefs are less likely to engage in drug and alcohol abuse. Some clergy professionals are convinced that a lack of a person’s connection with a higher power is the fundamental issue behind most drug abuse and relapse. Do the facts bear this out?
- 95% of Americans believe in God
- 79% believe in a higher power
- Most Americans believe that faith can help an addict get and stay clean
The vast majority of Americans believe in God. Yet, drug and alcohol abuse is rampant. Many people have tried AA and NA. However, only 5% of those who do are still attending meetings after one year. 81% of alcoholics who try the program stop going to meetings within the first month. Why? Well, for one thing, the 12 Step program has strong overtones of guilt and shame. Some of the steps involve admitting past transgressions against others and making amends for them. The participant is taught that they have no power over their lives and themselves. The 12 Step program was developed during the 1930s. That’s during the Great Depression and Prohibition. It was before television. It was even before there were antibiotics. It was long, long before the opioid crisis. In fact, most prescription opioids available today didn’t even exist then. Is the program still relevant in today’s society?
Faith-Based Recovery Alternative to AA
CR, or Celebrate Recovery, is a contemporary Christian support group founded in the early 1990s. It’s based on Biblical principles, but it’s separate from the 12-Step program. It’s sponsored by the Saddleback Church and associated with Christopher Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life. It has eight recovery principles that help participants cope with addictions and things that happened in the past that led to drug and alcohol abuse.
Whether or not you decide to choose a spiritual recovery program or a secular one, there is no wrong or right choice. It all comes down to individual needs and beliefs. The right program is the one that works for you.
If you need help choosing a drug rehab program, we are here to help. Just call us 24 hours a day. We are trained counselors who will listen to your needs and help you decide on the best rehab program for you. Just call 877-978-3148. We look forward to helping you.