You are finally ready to seek help for alcohol or drug addiction but are not sure where to begin. Congratulations, you have taken the first important step – you are ready to make a change!
You may have heard stories from friends or family that one method of treatment is better than another. Maybe you know someone that attempted recovery in a twelve-step program, and they were not successful or didn’t have good things to say about it. Twelve-step recovery is only one path to addressing alcohol or drug addiction, and it is not for everyone. Recovery without the twelve-steps is not only possible; for some people, it is the perfect fit.
What is Wrong with Twelve Step Programs
Absolutely nothing! Some people have experienced sustained recovery through working the twelve-steps used in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), but it is not for everyone. There are several reasons why people prefer alternatives to twelve-step programs.
Emphasis on Powerlessness – step one requires a person to admit that they are powerless over alcohol or drugs.
Many people prefer to believe that they, not the substances they use, are in control of their life and their choices.
Religious Aspect – 12-step programs have a strong spiritual component that states only a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
Many people want to take responsibility for their own recovery or do not prefer a spiritual focus.
Lack of trained professionals – twelve-step programs are led by peers in recovery.
Many people prefer the support of trained professionals who understand addiction, trauma, and situations that lead to addiction in the first place.
Inconsistency from program to program – most 12-step organizations are run by volunteers and can be very different from one group to the next.
Many people have experienced enough inconsistency on their journey to recovery and want the consistency of a structured recovery program to help them.
Just because twelve-step programs don’t work for everyone doesn’t mean they don’t work, especially in a supportive, structured treatment environment. A recent study showed that about a third of people in twelve-step programs found success, while evidence-based programs such as SMART Recovery also showed the same rate of success.
What is SMART Recovery
SMART Recovery stands for Self Management and Recovery Training. SMART Recovery is based on a four-point program that includes building and maintaining motivation, coping with urges, managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and living a balanced life.
The SMART Recovery approach:
- Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance
- Encourages individuals to recover and live satisfying lives
- Teaches tools and techniques for self-directed change
- Meetings are educational and include open discussions
- Advocates the appropriate use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments
- Evolves as scientific knowledge of addiction recovery evolves
SMART Recovery promotes that you can recover from your substance use and live a life free from addiction. Many people do not want to spend their life as an “alcoholic” or an “addict.” They may appreciate that this approach recognizes life after recovery.
Recovery without the Twelve Steps
According to Psychology Today, two of the most important factors in recovery success are structure and support. This is why it is difficult for people to stop using substances on their own successfully. Often, the feelings and situations that led to addiction in the first place will continue to put one at risk for relapse until they are adequately addressed in a supportive environment. Just as there is no one reason for addiction, there is no one method of recovery that works for everyone. If you don’t think a twelve-step program is right for you, the structure of a different treatment model paired with the support of trained professionals may be your key to success.
Clear Life Recovery is Here to Help
You are unique, and your path to recovery is just as unique as you are. According to the American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, no treatment is far superior to another for a particular person. This means that there is no single treatment method that will work for each individual. With both twelve-step programs and recovery without the twelve steps using SMART Recovery, Clear Life Recovery can support you in lifelong sobriety that is personalized to your unique needs and preferences.