While the goal of any and every rehabilitation treatment program is to aid an individual in fully and permanently resolving their drug abuse and addiction problems and restoring the ability to live a healthy, productive life, the fact is that these treatment programs are not all created equally. It is for this reason that an individual’s choice of treatment facility and program and can be just as, or perhaps even more, important than their acknowledgement that they have a problem and they need help. While many individuals are fairly well aware of 12-step recovery programs, few may understand the remarkable benefits of alternative programs.
Alternatives to 12-Step Programs
There are many wide difference between basic 12-step programs and the more non-traditional, non-12-step programs that act as good alternatives. To begin with, most 12-step programs are loosely based on the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. This program essentially acknowledges that the individual’s dependence upon and addiction to drugs or alcohol is their primary problem, and must therefore be addressed through certain decisions and actions. However, many non-12-step programs take a different view. Obviously, the individual’s dependence upon and addiction to drugs or alcohol is a problem and must be fully and conclusively resolved, but these non-traditional programs often address the underlying issues that contributed to initial drug or alcohol use and is allowing it to continue. Another major difference between 12-step programs and non-traditional programs is what is considered “treatment” under these programs. Obviously, an individual who is seeking to achieve and maintain their sobriety from drug or alcohol dependence and addiction needs to successfully address and resolve all the causes and effects of their drug or alcohol use and gain the tools necessary to overcome challenges and difficulties in the future without returning to drug or alcohol use. This type of treatment, however, normally only occurs in the non-traditional, non-12-step programs. With 12-step programs, the individual is often encouraged to accept that they have a problem, that they cannot overcome it on their own, and that they must allow a great power to help them through it. This would be much the same as a doctor who “treated” a broken bone by offering you some painkillers and sending you on your way. It may help the individual deal with some of the immediate discomfort, but it will not lead to lasting recovery or success. Without disregarding the fact that many individuals have successfully achieved and maintained their recovery through 12-step programs, it is important to consider that the motivation the individual feels to take back control of their life may not be as strong in these programs as in non-traditional, non-12-step programs. Whereas the individual in the 12-step program is essentially asked to surrender to a higher power in order to achieve their recovery, the individual in the non-traditional, non-12-step program truly has to rely on building up their own self-confidence and self-respect in order to persevere despite any and all difficulties they may encounter along the way. The truth of the matter is that while the individual in recovery most definitely needs support and encouragement from others around him, he simply cannot hope to fully and permanently recover unless he makes the decision to do so. The traditional 12-step recovery program is unvarying, which means that everyone works through the same exact steps on the road to recovery. On the other hand, non-traditional, non-12-step programs are often designed to meet the individual’s own specific needs, so that they get the most effective treatment. Furthermore, while many 12-step programs suggest that addiction is an incurable disease the individual can only hope to learn how to live with, non-traditional, non-12-step programs usually encourage the view that the individual can successfully take his life back, completely, if he is willing to put in the work. At the end of the day, it is the individual himself who is usually able to determine which treatment option will work best for him. However, it is his responsibility to thoroughly weigh all his options, and consider alternatives to traditional 12-step recovery programs, prior to making a decision.