Are There Options Out There Other Than AA?

It can be difficult for someone who abuses or uses drugs or alcohol to find alternative programs to traditional rehabilitation programs. The support system surrounding the person in crisis is a key factor in drug and alcohol treatment. Alcoholics Anonymous is the most well-known support group for addiction treatment. AA may be popular, but it is not for everyone. There are many alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous in these situations.

SMART Recovery For Addiction

SMART Recovery is a secular alternative for AA and other spirituality-based programs. This program holds several meetings each week in different cities. They use non-confrontational methods of helping people overcome their addictions. The program is focused on positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.


LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing is a support group which accepts any approach that works for an individual as there is no one way to eliminate addictions to drugs or alcohol. Each member of LifeRing can personalize their own recovery path, with peer support and structural support. Face-to-face meetings as well as online materials and publications are just some of the many available resources. There are even online meetings available for those who are unable to do therapy in person. 


Secular Organizations For Sobriety

SOS is another organization that is not centered on religion and focuses on sobriety as well as mutual support. This program focuses on factors other than spirituality, such as genetics and environment. SOS members can decide for themselves if they believe that alcoholism is a disorder.


Harm Reduction, Abstinence, & Moderation Support

HAMS is a program that offers strategies that are meant to decrease the negative effects of dangerous behaviors or like drug or alcohol addiction. It is non-judgmental and tries to meet people in the middle, rather than demanding total abstinence.

HAMS wants its members to set their own goals about alcohol and drug abuse like only drinking one beer a day rather than a whole six pack. For others, it could mean total sobriety. HAMS is successful as long as the individual is improving and decreasing self-harm.

Women For Sobriety

Women for Sobriety is a self-help program that is based on abstinence for women suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. This group promotes self-worth and self-esteem, while avoiding shameful feelings and humiliation revolving around addiction.

WFS also addresses the specific needs of women during rehabilitation and recovery. It is believed that traditional sobriety programs were designed with men in mind. This is evident in the higher rates of recovery for men with traditional programs. WFS welcomes any expression of female identity.


Rational Recovery

RR is an individual-based program for recovery and it is centered on the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique. RR is a completely different approach to recovery than AA because recovery is private and personal in the framework of RR. Addiction treatment centers, group therapy, and counseling are not appropriate outside of the self. RR emphasizes the fact that substances can both cause and end anxiety. The internal addictive voice that drives one to use substances is what AVRT aims to help you recognize.

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is an addiction treatment program based on Buddhist teachings. Its main goal is to get addicts to recognize that they and all other addicts have the power to overcome that suffering. They believe that the main cause of addiction is the repetitive craving of the substance and that it is possible to recover with the right path. Refuge Recovery is a good option for those who are looking for a different spiritual approach to traditional sobriety programs or AA.


Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery is a 12-step program that includes Christian teachings and is a great option for those looking to implement Christianity into their journey to sobriety.. This program helps to eliminate  stigma around mental health and give assistance to pastors who are struggling with addiction to find their way to recovery.

Moderation Management

Moderation Management, like other support groups for alcohol abusers, takes a harm reduction approach towards recovery. This program is for non-dependent drinkers who do not wish to quit drinking, but would like to reduce their alcohol consumption. Because they feel it could reduce self-confidence, this approach ignores the “disease theory of alcoholism”. Moderation Management is based on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques which are used to help members set their own drinking goals.



Addiction recovery programs are structured in a way that works well for some people. Others may find them too restrictive and can lead to a lack of success with recovery. There is no single solution. Do some research on local alternatives to AA in your area and give them a call today to start a new approach to addiction recovery!

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