Find the New You; Redefine Yourself in a Positive Non 12 Step Environment

Non 12 Step

Traditional 12 step rehabilitation programs are very popular among different types of inpatient rehabilitation programs. They are the most common type of inpatient rehabilitation currently available.

Despite the prevalence of 12 step recovery programs, Non 12 step recovery centers are becoming increasingly popular among the public as time goes on. There are many non 12 step recovery programs available to take advantage of. These non 12 step rehabilitation programs seek to help clients through techniques that are supported by scientific evidence and proven to help those seeking sobriety. Because of these techniques and practices, success rates are much higher for those taking part in non 12 step programs, however, these programs are harder to find and can also be more difficult to pay for with insurance. Luckily, with a healthy amount of research, anyone looking to attend a non 12 step recovery center should be able to find the right fit for them.

Why Choose a Non 12 Step Recovery Program?

If you are trying to get clean and sober, there are a lot of options for getting the help you need. Many people opt to go with programs that utilize the traditional 12 step approach to get and stay sober. And for some people, that approach works, and they are able to live a happy, fulfilling, and sober life going forward.

However, for many people, 12 step programs haven’t worked because they are not the best fit for their beliefs and values. Here are some of the most common reasons that traditional 12 step rehabilitation programs don’t work for some people:

  • Religious aspect– One of the biggest drawbacks of 12 step programs for many people is the religious aspect of these types of addiction recovery programs. In a 12 step program, members have to admit that they are powerless over drugs and alcohol and then submit to a higher power for true recovery. Conversely, non 12 step recovery programs teach members that they need to take charge of their lives in order to have a true recovery.
  • May engender feelings of guilt– Most non 12 step programs don’t use words like “addicts” and “alcoholics,” nor do they consider addiction to be a disease. In 12 step programs, members self-identify as addicts and alcoholics every time they speak, and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes the distinction that addiction is, in fact, a disease, one that can be managed but not cured. For some, labeling themselves as addicts or alcoholics creates feelings of guilt and shame that are not conducive to recovery.
  • Court-ordered members– Many drug courts require offenders to attend 12 step meetings, so they are not always there for the right reasons and they may distract other members from getting they need out of the meetings.

For many people who suffer from addiction, attending a holistic non 12 step recovery center is the answer. That type of addiction recovery program believes in treating the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – without requiring individuals to submit to a higher power, believe that they will have the condition of addiction forever, or labeling themselves as an addict or alcoholic for the rest of their lives. Instead, recovery is based on scientific research, behavior modification, and learning new coping skills.

non 12 step recovery center

Types of Non 12 Step Approaches to Recovery

There are many non 12 step approaches to addiction recovery. One of the most popular programs used in non 12 step rehabilitation centers and also outside of rehab is Smart Management and Recovery Training, also sometimes known as SMART for short. It’s a research-based program designed to help those facing addiction. All methods of treatment have been scientifically backed by research and trials. Smart Management and Recovery Training programs focus mainly on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. These types of therapy are used to help patients alter any self-destructive behavior they may have previously exhibited.

SMART programs focus on first creating a motivation for change. Once patients have been motivated to make changes, they are taught how to control any of their urges. Members are then taught how to regulate their thoughts and behaviors, and how to create a life with balance. Practices are constantly being updated as more research is done into addiction.

Once out of rehab, individuals can choose between online SMART or in-person meetings held at rehabilitation facilities or other meeting places.

There are other non 12 step recovery support programs that may benefit people who are struggling with addiction. These include Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), Moderation Management, Women for Sobriety (WFS), and LifeRing. All of these organizations are secular and approach recovery in a science-based, behavior modification manner.

Redefining Yourself in a Positive Recovery Environment

After reading about the different types of non 12 step recovery programs, it is time to discover what this approach can really do for a person. Going to an inpatient care facility can be scary, but it is important to remember that they are designed to help the patients and that the staff is trained to help. After getting used to the facility, patients can truly begin to take advantage of the benefits non 12 step rehabs offer.

rehabilitation center

Make New Friends

One of the most rewarding parts of a stay at a non 12 step rehab is finding friends along the way during a stay. When arriving at a rehabilitation center for the first time, it is incredibly common to feel anxious. Not knowing the other people staying there or how exactly the stay will go can be very nerve-racking. However, going in it is important to remember that all the people there already have something in common: They are all facing problems with addiction. This gives an area of common ground among patients even before they get to know each other.

Group therapy is very common among both 12 step and non 12 step rehabilitation programs. Socializing with a group and performing group therapy is helpful when processing through things and can also be helpful in creating new friendships among people in the group. Friendships and bonds are able to form quickly and easily because members do not have to worry about being negatively or harshly judged by others. Socializing within a non 12 step alcohol rehab gives patients a chance to get to know each other well and to play an important role in one another’s recovery.

See Life through New Eyes

After completing a stay at a non 12 step recovery center, one is able to more clearly remember and experience life without drugs or alcohol. Being able to remember what that life is like is often very encouraging to patients. While it may be hard at the beginning of a non 12 step alcohol rehab stay to remember what life was like before addiction, learning to live without addiction again can be a great experience for members, as it shows them their own potential. Living life outside of a recovery center can also be very exciting. Learning to appreciate newfound independence and freedom can be a challenge, but once mastered, patients can completely turn their lives around. Patients can start to recognize and accept the positive things in their lives because there is no longer the issue of addiction to weigh them down. Becoming grateful for what one has and the things they can accomplish does a considerable amount to discourage any type of relapse.

Discover Dual Diagnoses

Many people who enter into non 12 step recovery programs come to find out that they actually have a dual diagnosis. What this means is that in addition to their problems with alcohol or drug addiction, these patients have an underlying mental health problem. There are many disorders which commonly co-occur along with substance abuse. Some of these include depression, panic disorders, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or ADHD.

Research has suggested that as many as half of people who have substance abuse problems have a co-occurring mental health problem. However, these issues can be hard to diagnose if the person is actively taking part in their addiction. Because of this, once treatment for the addiction starts, many times therapists will notice during this time that patients have another diagnosis. This is good because it allows treatment to come from both sides of the problem. The addiction is treated as is the underlying health problem, leading to a better chance at success when it comes to sobriety.

non 12 step Research

Learn New Skills

One of the most rewarding parts of completing a stay at a non 12 step rehab center is obtaining new tools that will help to keep you sober for a prolonged period of time. These tools vary from program to program, but typically include a few key skills:

  • Identifying triggers: Triggers are the little things that make a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol want to drink or use drugs. Triggers are constantly around in the outside world, and learning how to navigate through triggering situations is a big part of treatment.
  • Avoiding cravings: After leaving a rehabilitation center, it is more than likely each person will have to deal with their own individual cravings for alcohol or drugs. Being able to cope with cravings in a healthy way is key to remaining sober. In many treatment programs, patients are taught how to respond to their cravings in a positive way.
  • Shifting perspective: When attending a rehabilitation program, most people go in feeling more negative than positive. Because of this, many programs seek to change that perspective for patients. Teaching patients how to alter their own thought processes helps them feel more positive about their situation and can often lead to a reduction in their cravings.
  • Coping with stress: Dealing with stress in a positive manner is very important for those facing issues with addiction because if stress is not properly dealt with there is a chance they will take part in their addiction.

Take Control of Your Own Recovery

Most traditional 12 step programs seek authority through a higher power and believe in healing addiction through giving control to that higher power. With more non-traditional non 12 step recovery programs, patients are able to take control of their own recovery instead of looking to a higher power. Through various means of teaching coping skills, behavior modification, and addiction education, non 12 step programs are often able to help those who attend remain sober from drugs and alcohol for longer than they could have imagined.


Tim Sinnott, MFT

With several advanced degrees from the University of San Francisco (Doctor of Education in Counseling and Educational Psychology and Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy), Rutgers University Center of Alcohol Studies (Certificate, Summer School of Alcohol Studies), and the University of California, Santa Cruz (Certificate in Alcohol Studies, Advanced Counselor Training Program), and a strong history of directing recovery facilities, Tim is a capable speaker and leader in addiction treatment services. Tim also has extensive marriage and family counseling knowledge and prides himself on his ability to connect with clients and professionals on an individual basis.

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