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alternatives to 12 step programs

Alternatives To The 12-Step Program

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If you are struggling with an addiction, considering alternatives to the 12-Step program, and having some concerns about making the wrong choice, do not fret. Equipping yourself with a few facts can serve as the fuel needed to propel yourself onward and upward.


The 12-Step Program Inspired Much More to Follow

Due to its effectiveness, many alternatives to the 12-Step program have manifested since its origin in 1938. These steps were crafted by the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Bill Wilson, integrating his thoughts about sobriety with Christian teachings and others. 

Bill Wilson realized that helping others to overcome their alcohol dependence would contribute to the conquering of his alcohol addiction. Appropriately, this insight essentially became the premise for the twelfth step of the program. 

That was an important step, as it eventually served as a springboard for other recovery programs which would follow. The program was initially aimed at alcoholic recovery and has inspired the dawning of many recovery programs. 

Several alternatives to the 12-Step program were bound to materialize out of a devotion to maintain the same level of effectiveness while directing efforts to focus on other addictions. Another incentive was to have a workable alternative that was not dependent on spirituality.


12-Step Alternatives Answer A Colossal Demand

To say that addiction is a serious matter would be an understatement. The federal budget for drug control in 2020 was about 35 billion dollars. Approximately 95 thousand Americans die from the effects of consuming alcohol each year.

Drugs and alcohol are just two lures that lead abusers to lives of desperation. Others include nicotine, gambling, sex, and food, to name just a few.

These addictions, as do others, all have something in common. They are all secondary issues. On the surface, they are all potentially responsible for harmful consequences. At a deeper level, they all have primary causes.

It is important to identify these deeper issues and deal with them effectively. With the help of a professionally trained specialist, it is certainly possible. 

Recovery does not have to be subject to a roll of the dice. There are alternatives to the 12-Step program that can specifically target solutions, offering a smoother path that ultimately leads you to assured victory.


Alternatives to The 12-Step Program Render New Hope

It has become more understood that certain support groups are better suited for specific needs and personalities. Since there are now alternatives to the 12-Step program, people looking to conquer an addiction have the luxury of exercising some discretion.

Today, individuals can take more self-initiative in selecting a group likely compatible with their persona. This freedom of choice can be conducive to more probable success due to less resistance to the healing process of a particular group.

Although the available 12-Step alternatives share similar objectives, their points of emphasis can vary. Prospective members can use this information in making their choices.

Any support group treating alcohol addiction has the ultimate goal of sobriety for its members. However, one group may emphasize rewarding a person for abstinence at almost any cost. In contrast, another group might take a more scientific approach as its focus is on identifying the underlying cause of the addiction and following up with a permanent remedy.

alternatives to 12 step programs


An Alternative To The 12-Step Program That Covers All The Bases

SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is one of the alternatives to the 12-Step program that has enjoyed remarkable success. This exceptional recovery program has been instrumental in helping many thousands of people conquer addictions in their lives.

On its website, SMART makes it clear that its approach does not encourage labeling:

“SMART views addiction as a behavior that can be corrected, not a condition that defines a person’s identity. We discourage the use of labels such as ‘addict’ or ‘alcoholic.’ Research has shown that labels undermine motivation for many people.”

A person seeking an alternative to the 12-Step program just might have some reservations about committing to a recovery group for the first time. SMART is in tune with this and offers quick comfort. As a participant, you will not be stereotyped. Your individuality is welcome.

The people at SMART respect that what works for some may not work for others. An individual apt to resist a program that integrates a spiritual tone into its treatment is likely to be receptive to a more self-managing strategy, as the SMART name suggests. Its methods are suitable for all who take the initiative to participate.

Of all the 12-Step alternatives available, this program stands out from the crowd. SMART describes itself as “the world’s largest community of mutual support meetings that use science and self-empowerment to help people overcome any addiction, including problems with drugs, alcohol, and harmful behavior such as gambling, eating disorders, and excessive shopping and internet use.”


3 Benefits of SMART Recovery

  1. Its focus is on the person’s life as a whole, not just on eliminating addictions
  2. The approach consists of workable strategies based on science and secularity
  3. Those who recover are invited to stay and further enhance their lives


A Recovery Program That Climbs Higher Than 12 Steps

The focus is on the participant’s motives, goals, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. It seems that an essential component that contributes to SMART standing at the forefront of alternatives to the 12-Step program is its commitment to helping an individual to refuse to act from a powerless mindset which, for example, might lead one seeking sobriety to view “slipping and having a drink” as a failure. 

Instead, assuming a stance of self-empowerment offers the opportunity to see such a situation in a better light. An attitude of self-acceptance, coupled with a pledge to move on, seems more practical and contributive to a permanent solution.

The approach taken by SMART is wholesome and result-oriented. Its 4-Point Program® integrates the key areas of awareness and change in a way that genuinely honors a person on the road to recovery. It appears that its areas of focus leave no stone unturned as the ultimate objective seems to go far beyond just helping one to overcome addictions. 


You Are Not Your Addiction

Contrary to what is promoted in the original 12-Step program, attaching a label to an individual like “alcoholic” is not a strategy with some more contemporary approaches.

Which of the following two declarations do you suppose is more powerful and goal-oriented?

1) “I am an alcoholic with a commitment to abstain from drinking alcohol.” 

2) “I am an empowered human being who has the strength to overcome any addiction.”

These examples are not actual quotes from any particular source, though it seems the second may be more consistent with the way a present-day alternative to the 12-Step program might lean.


Experience Recovery Once and for All

A person pursuing recovery with SMART can look forward to opening up to a whole new world. If desired, that can include being instrumental in helping others to experience similar breakthroughs. Perhaps there can be no greater victory than arriving at a point in one’s life where all those past experiences can be seen as stepping stones leading to the privilege of making the world around you a better place.

If you’re interested in learning more about treatment for drugs & alcohol in Southern California call 800-630-1218 and talk to a member of The Right Time Recovery team today!