Despite the fact that 12 step programs are the most well-known type of addiction rehabs, there are many effective alternatives. In this article, we take a closer look at non-12 step rehab centers and the programs they offer that are based on very different principles to those of the traditional rehab method.
The 12 step approach to rehab is best known by the names of its subsets Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Due to the fact that the 12 steps were first devised back in the 1930s, there are now thousands of group meetings taking place around the world. In America, it is estimated that 74% of rehab centers offer the 12-step model which makes it the most prevalent option to people researching treatment centers for substance abuse.
Although almost three-quarters of American rehab centers are 12-step, there are over 1,000 or 24% facilities offering effective alternatives. The problem many people face when researching treatment programs for substance abuse is that they are often led to believe that 12 step is the only option available due to the sheer scale of the organization.
What Is Non-12 Step Rehabilitation?
Some of non 12 step alcohol rehab options include the following:
- SMART Recovery
- Women for Sobriety (WFS)
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
- Moderation Management
All of these approaches to rehab support abstinence in the same way that 12 step does, apart from Moderation Management which supports limiting substance use. Women for Sobriety is perhaps the oldest non 12 step alcohol rehab, founded in the 1970s as a gender-specific rehab program. SMART Recovery and Moderation Management both offer a science-based program that is diametrically opposed to the principles of traditional 12 step.
All of these non 12 step rehab centers are non-profit organizations which mean they are generally more affordable than residential rehab. They also tend to be discussion-based rather than having a designated “speaker” directing the course of the program. However, the most significant difference between these organizations and 12 step is that they do not have spiritual or religious components in their programs.
Are Alternative Support Groups as Effective as 12 Step?
A rehab program’s effectiveness depends very much on the individual concerned. According to research, 12 step programs have a success rate of between 5 and 10 percent which is surprisingly low for such a big organization. However, this could be due to the fact that the faith-based approach to rehab has less relevance in today’s society.
Non 12 step recovery programs work in a very different way to 12 step. Whereas the traditional recovery method depends on a firm belief in a spiritual being or entity to which the individual can supplicate themselves to for healing, non-12 step recovery programs are very different. Among the non 12 step rehabilitation community it is believed that addiction is an illness requiring specialist treatment in a non 12 step rehab center. The alternative view does not accept that individuals can only overcome an addiction if they surrender themselves to a deity or spiritual entity.
Because of the intensely personal nature of addiction illness, it is important that a treatment program resonates with an individual’s personal beliefs and also their lifestyle. People who have never committed themselves to a religious group but have developed substance use disorder are unlikely to find a 12 step program engaging on any level. In this respect, non-religious people attempting to achieve sobriety by following the 12 steps is similar to trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
Decide What Your Rehab Goals and Needs Are
Each rehab center offers its own range of specialties and has their own methodology for measuring success. It is vital that individuals choose a treatment option that helps them achieve their specific rehab goals but before they are able to, they need to determine what they are.
The first step is to decide which substances or behaviors you want to remove from your life. Next, it is important to determine if there are any underlying physical or mental health issues which can be treated at the same time in rehab. Finally, you have to define what success means to you personally. Perhaps your initial goal is to achieve sobriety for an initial 60 days as a measure of success, whereas others may consider a year to be a better period of time. This is something that can only be decided on by the individual concerned together with their loved ones who have also been affected by addictive behavior.