The first 12-step program was developed by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939. Since then, substance abuse programs using the 12 steps as their foundation have spread worldwide and gained an extensive following due to the steps’ success. That being said, the program isn’t successful for everyone. For those looking for alternatives, there are programs that use a different approach to successful treatment of substance abuse.
Secular rehab programs offer a non-12-step approach that removes the emphasis on a higher power found within the 12 steps. Many of the programs use a detoxification procedure to clear the user’s body of the substance being abused, followed by a period of rehabilitation in a specialized facility. Staff at the facility use therapy and medications to reduce patients’ cravings for the substance or to reduce the effects of the drugs on the body. Once the drug use has ended and the patient leaves the rehab facility, the user attends support groups for help in continuing with the recovery. Our advisors can provide more information about detoxification and rehab. Call us at to speak to an advisor 24 hours a day.
Those looking for an alternative to the 12 steps have a variety of programs to choose from. The detox and medication is much the same in the various programs, as is the therapy received within the rehab facility. What differs is the support group process used both during and after rehab. Instead of the 12 steps, these other groups use different methods for handling sobriety. A few of these groups are:
- SMART Recovery
- Moderation Management
- Women for Sobriety
The Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) program uses a therapy system based on rational emotive behavior therapy to address issues related to drug and alcohol abuse. SMART uses a four-point program with an emphasis on:
- Enhancing the user’s motivation to live a clean and sober lifestyle
- Giving the user the tools needed to avoid acting on the impulse to use
- Helping the user develop methods to manage his or her problems without resorting to substance abuse
- Helping the user develop a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle
SMART Recovery support is found through volunteer groups with behavioral health professionals as advisors. There are group meetings around the country and online meetings as well. Many members also belong to Alcoholics Anonymous and use both programs for support. Attendance at meetings in both programs is not necessary, however, as SMART Recovery can be a successful support program on its own.
Moderation Management is a non-12-step program for problem drinkers who have yet to cross the line into alcoholism. Designed to help with alcohol intake reduction rather than abstinence, Moderation Management was created to help drinkers pursue a healthier lifestyle.
Moderation Management provides a set of suggested guidelines that are meant to help heavy drinkers set and follow reasonable limits for their drinking. This is done largely through teaching drinkers how to recognize when their consumption crosses into a risky stage. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the limit before a drinker is considered to be at risk is four drinks daily for men and three drinks daily for women. The weekly limits are 14 weekly for men and seven weekly for women.
Those who choose Moderation Management do so because they have begun to note problems in their lives because of their drinking, such as embarrassing social behavior, employment problems and legal issues. As long as the drinker isn’t at the alcoholic stage yet, Moderation Management’s guidelines and meetings can help a risky drinker return to moderate alcohol use once more. Find out how to tell if you or a loved one is an alcoholic by calling to speak to an advisor about the symptoms of alcoholism.
Women for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety is the first national self-help program developed solely for women alcoholics. Founded in 1976 by Jean Kirkpatrick, the organization resulted from her unsuccessful search for a program that dealt specifically with the problems of female alcoholics.
This abstinence-based program is founded on the principle that recovery differs between women and men, with women needing to address certain issues that are not dealt with in generic 12-step programs. The group uses a Thirteen Statement Program that emphasizes spiritual and emotional growth. Women for Sobriety has self-help groups that meet regularly to support members in their attempts to remain clean and sober. Like SMART Recovery, many members also belong to Alcoholics Anonymous, but the program can also work on its own.
A standard drink size for measuring alcohol intake is a single 12-ounce bottle of beer. A 40-ounce bottle of regular beer contains the equivalent of 3.3 drinks, while the same size bottle of malt liquor contains 4.25 drinks.
Find Non-12-Step Programs Today
If you’d like help finding a non-12-step addiction treatment program, contact us today at . We can link you up with programs in your area that offer an alternative approach to the 12-step model.