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Five 12-step group alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous

March 15, 2017

 

Often when people think of addiction recovery, they think of 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. These organizations have long histories of helping members with addiction, but they're not right for everyone. Fortunately, there are several different options for support beyond AA or NA that may be a better fit.

The following groups are focused on abstinence as the goal and use evidence-based methods for achieving sobriety:

Women for Sobriety

The founder of Women for Sobriety believed that approaching addiction recovery for women required a different approach compared to men. The WFS philosophy focuses on self-empowerment, self-worth, and emotional growth. There is a lot of emphasis on replacing negative, self-destructive thoughts with positive, self-affirming thoughts. 

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery may be one of the most widely known science-based, self-empowering recovery groups. It addresses maintaining motivation, dealing with urges, living a balanced life, and managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. SMART Recovery offers face-to-face meetings as well as online resources such as online meetings, chat rooms, and message boards. 

Secular Organizations For Sobriety

Many people suffering from addiction may not feel comfortable with surrendering to a "higher power" as often emphasized at AA meetings. Secular Organizations For Sobriety offers an alternative that focuses on self-reliance and personal responsibility. It provides a way to deal with addiction completely independent from any religious or spiritual beliefs. 

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery grew out of the Secular Organizations For Sobriety due to a difference of opinion on organizational structure. LSR believes recovery depends on the individual's own motivation and efforts, and supports sobriety, secularity, and self-help.

Rational Recovery

Rational Recovery aims to provide the mental tools needed for permanent sobriety. Its goal is to offer counseling, guidance, and direct instruction to individuals struggling with an inner "addictive voice."

If Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous aren't a good fit for you or someone you know, there are effective alternative options to choose from. Remember, 12-step programs are support groups, not professional treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, make sure to seek professional help as well as peer support to increase the chance of success.

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