When the average person thinks about alcohol treatment in a rehab center, their mind jumps to the 12-Step Alcoholics Anonymous method. The famous “I’m_____ and I’m an alcoholic,” is what people think alcohol addiction is all about. The 12 Step addiction treatment does work. It’s effective, it’s beneficial, and it’s emotional.
Nevertheless, some individuals are more interested in a non-12-Step rehab program for a variety of reasons. Mainly, many are uncomfortable with AA’s religious component, as they themselves are not religious or have other beliefs. These individuals may be seeking a non-religious AA program to treat their addiction. Others disagree with certain tenets of the AA 12-Step recovery program such as the idea, “once an addict, always an addict.” Although these programs are quite popular, alcoholics can choose from many different non-12-step recovery options.
Seven Alternatives to AA
Overcoming an alcohol addiction, like any kind of recovery, takes time and dedication. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction and you’re not religious, the 12-Step Program might feel like a huge waste of your time. There are many treatment centers for alcohol and drug addiction treatment that offer alternatives to this traditional method. That is not to say that we don’t totally love the Alcoholics Anonymous program, but a treatment facility, above all, is supposed to suit the needs of the addicts. Some people simply aren’t religious. Here is a rundown of seven non-12-step programs you may want to consider:
1. The 12 Steps Remastered
This non-religious version of the 12-Step Program is more focused on spirituality rather than religion. It adopts the same 12 traditions as the Alcoholics Anonymous program, but it takes away the concept of God so that people who believe in something different can still follow the steps. Alcohol addiction is behavioral, so these steps are helpful because they provide a step-by-step tool to change behavior.
For those who are big into yoga and a zen state of mind, this remastered version of the traditional method is perfect. There is a huge following of people who love this kind of modernized recovery program. They focus on the mind and body relationship and as time goes on, they realize that binge drinking does not fit into the healthy lifestyle that is promoted by the 12 spiritual steps.
2. The Refuge Recovery Program
This non-12-step rehab option is similar to the previous one in that it is spiritually based but non-religious. It is rooted in the Four Noble Truths from Buddhist teachings. These truths are utilized to help individuals free themselves from addiction. The truths include:
- Addiction causes suffering
- The cause of addiction is repetitive desires
- Treatment for addiction is possible
- Recovery is available
Once these truths are accepted, individuals in Refuge Recovery follow an 8-Step Path to recovery. Although this approach is spiritual, it does not involve belief in any deity. Rather, it focuses on meditation to achieve recovery.
3. SMART Recovery
SMART Recovery is an acronym for Self-Management and Recovery Training. This alternative provides individuals with the necessary skills to feel self-empowered. They are structured on four main points:
- Creating and maintaining motivation
- Managing urges for substances or alcohol
- Dealing with feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that arise
- Achieving a healthy and balanced lifestyle
This alternative program offers support meetings and recovery plans to help individuals no longer feel subservient to their addictions.
4. Evidence-Based Behavioral Therapy to Treat Substance and Alcohol Abuse
Evidence-based behavioral therapy practices are used in conjunction with and as alternatives to 12-step recovery programs.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal Therapy
- Multi-Systems Therapy
- Motivational Interviewing Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
5. Addiction Treatment Outdoors
Going through substance abuse and addiction treatment in a place surrounded by nature is a huge benefit. Places that are surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains give individuals an opportunity to hike and take in the serenity of nature. Outdoor/Adventure therapy has shown to be very helpful to individuals seeking recovery.
Rather than sitting in a room in a circle of chairs, addicts have the ability to climb a mountain together, or even go camping. Outdoor treatment programs see the outdoors as a way to balance out the chemical imbalances in our brains. Being that drug addiction is considered a disease, it is safe to say that being outdoors and soaking up some Vitamin D can definitely help during treatment for alcoholism.
The best part about seeking treatment outdoors is that you still get that team bonding experience that you would in a rehab. You get to hike and swim with people who are going through the same thing. You also have the opportunity to spend time outdoors one on one with a counselor. You may even be able to do cognitive behavioral therapy sessions outside. It’s all about feeling immersed in nature and finding new meaning in what is around you.
6. Medical Rehab for Addiction
Typically, regardless of what kind of treatment option it is, there are a few things that always happen when a person comes in for alcohol treatment. Medical detox is a must. Just hours after an addict’s last drink, the withdrawal symptoms are painful both physically and mentally. They will feel anxious, irritated, and sick. Medical professionals are always there to help administer medical detox for those tough first few days.
In addition to the loving support from medical professionals, each addict is introduced to addiction counselors, who should meet with them on a regular basis to help out during recovery time at the treatment facility.
7. Dual Diagnosis Alcohol Rehab
If you have been binge drinking as a way of self-medicating, you might have a co-occurring disorder. That simply means you have other mental illnesses to take into consideration when looking at treatment options. It is common that having a personality disorder or an anxiety disorder can increase the chances of alcoholism by a lot because it’s harder to learn how to cope with stress. Therefore, dual diagnosis as a non-12-step rehab option may be more suitable as the sole focus will not be alcohol or drug addiction but rather it will take other disorders into account.
Dual diagnosis is more of a one-on-one treatment option because while drug addiction is common among all patients, treating alcoholism mixed with another mental health issue is a very sensitive process.
This kind of treatment can include being outdoors too, but in some cases, that’s not allowed depending on what other co-occurring disorder is taking place. There is a huge focus on the person’s behavior, but there’s also a lot more psychotherapy that focuses less on behavior and more on feelings and reactions. Cognitive behavioral therapy comes after that, but it can be hard to do that step first because there needs to be a better understanding of an addict’s emotional response to triggers before anything else.
This inpatient treatment is a lot more structured and usually more private. It’s extremely sensitive and very helpful to anyone struggling with the effects of mental health issues and substance abuse issues at the same time.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Is What You Make It
There are many options for addiction recovery without 12 steps, anda good recovery center will combine everything you like into one treatment plan for you. Seek treatment that will cater to your needs. Seek treatment that will reflect who you are. No matter what, you’re going to be helped out with the withdrawal symptoms and you’re always going to have someone to talk to at your treatment facility.
Alcohol treatment is what you make it. The behavioral aspect is your choice, though. Do you want a religious recovery program? Do you see a spiritual side of treating alcoholism? If you have other mental health issues, do you think the dual diagnosis option will be a more holistic way to help yourself out? Do you enjoy being outside or do you feel that it is a distraction to your treatment plan? Or perhaps one of the other alternatives to AA speaks to you.
Non-12-Step Rehab at Avenues Recovery
Alcohol abuse and addiction is such a personal issue and the recovery needs to be equally personal. At Avenues Recovery, our treatment centers know this and are ready to combine resources to help you fight your substance abuse. We offer a variety of treatment programs to fit your individual needs and preferences. Our professionals are ready to assist you in finding what is best for you. Give us a call today and start your individualized path to recovery.