New Options For Addiction Recovery

The journey through addiction recovery can be difficult, as emotional challenges can take their toll. Your treatment program is your way to both sobriety and emotional peace. But what happens when your current treatment, such as a 12-step program, doesn’t fit?

Fortunately, there are alternative options for you. A new study from the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that the most popular common alternative treatment programs are just as effective as Alcohol and Narcotics Anonymous. In fact, only one-third of traditional 12-step program participants maintain recovery. According to Vox, “another third get something out of the treatment but not enough for full recovery, and another third get nothing at all.”

One of the criticisms of the 12-step approach is that it requires submitting to a higher power. The tenets of these programs come out of the Christian faith. For secular addicts, this can pose a problem.

Taking a Secular Approach

There are several non-spiritual programs available for treatment nowadays. These groups tend to encourage participants to avoid negative terminology, such as “addict,” and focus on a positive, self-empowered way to recovery. They include:

• SMART Recovery provides recovery tools that have been proven successful by evidence. Rather than lifelong treatment, participation is encouraged “for as long as it is perceived to be useful,” according to this article at HuffPost. You can do even choose to do the program online, rather than relying on face-to-face meetings.
• Women for Sobriety is for women only, providing privacy and camaraderie for women who have substance abuse challenges. They empower women to take charge of their own choices and health. Read some of the stories from participants at the Star Tribune.
• LifeRing also promotes self-reliance rather than reliance on a higher power in attaining lasting sobriety.
• Other groups with recovery approaches outside of 12-step programs include Rational Recovery, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, and the Center for Motivation and Change, which also employs the use of medication.

The Buddhist Approach to Recovery

Another 12-step alternative to is Buddhism. Noah Levine describes this type of treatment in his book, “Refuge Recovery,” and claims that Buddhism is a “natural way to address addiction recovery” at the Fix.

Taking a Holistic Approach

Yet another option available today is using a holistic approach to fight drug addiction. According to Psych Central, more rehab centers are offering clients a holistic route to recovery by helping them care for mind, body, and soul individually as well as integrating these components naturally.


Whether you are working with a counselor, a traditional program, or one of the new approaches, you need to work on your mind. That means caring for your mental health, such as getting help for problems such as depression. However, it’s also important to eliminate the negative self-talk that led to your substance use issues. You should also engage your mind to avoid boredom, which can lead to relapse.


Good health is going to help you heal from the toxins you took in while using drugs or alcohol. Start with a good diet. Add more healthy choices, like fresh fruit and vegetables, and limit your intake of junk food and foods or drinks high in sugar. Ask your doctor what kinds of exercise are right for you and incorporate them into your treatment program. Proper diet and exercise can boost mental health, too.


Meditation is a simple practice that you can add to your treatment plan as well. Daily deep-breathing rituals can help clear your mind and calm your soul. Other experiences that can benefit your soul include creating art, listening to music, and deep relaxation practices.

Twelve-step treatment plans have long held court as the best way to recovery, but they don’t work for all people. Today, these new plans offer hope for everyone, no matter your beliefs.


Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.

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