For many years, Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step Program was considered the gold standard for recovery. Nowadays, however, there are many alternatives to 12-Step Programs available for individuals who struggle with a dependency on drinking, and it is not the sole framework available to help clients heal. At Gulf Breeze Recovery, we believe in the power of holistic addiction treatment, allowing the internal causes for substance abuse to be truly and fully addressed. Contact our team today at 833.551.2304 to learn about our comprehensive approach to client care and wellness, greatly increasing your chances of permanent recovery.
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?
For over eight decades, Alcoholics Anonymous (commonly referred to as AA) has helped individuals in recovery achieve and maintain sobriety through a fellowship model. Founded by former alcoholic Bill Wilson and former substance abuser Dr. Bob Smith in 1935, the organization is free and open to individuals who are willing to acknowledge their powerlessness over alcohol and desire to abstain from drinking.
AA’s methods are scripted into 12 self-improvement steps that include acknowledging a higher power and a pledge to dedicate willpower to surmount potential triggers they may encounter in their daily lives. The program largely relies on developing a strong social network to help those in recovery express their thoughts and concerns around drinking and assign peer sponsors to help obtain mutual accountability.
Are There Alternatives to AA?
Although AA may boast a long record of success with certain types of clients, for others, it may prove counterproductive to lasting sobriety. AA relies on an external counseling mechanism — group meetings — places the locus of control outside the individual and may perpetuate a problematic self-belief that they are not fully in control of their behavior. In addition, AA holds deep religious associations for many members. Although these are not articulated in the original AA Charter, which claims the organization to be fully non-denominational, this philosophical approach to recovery may not serve all clients’ needs.
Nowadays, other evidence-based alternatives to 12-Step programs are available to help those in recovery understand the underlying causes for their drinking, therefore helping to avoid future relapse.
These methods include:
- Patient-focused, individual therapies (rather than relying on group sessions)
- Opportunities to work with experienced professionals and expert recovery coaches (instead of peer sponsors)
- Neurofeedback therapy and other methods such as medication that target the acquired neurological habits which make a client more prone to resume drinking (as opposed to relying on superficial behaviors and willpower alone)
- Customizable programs (rather than a communally-adopted approach)
- Intensive protocols, allowing clients to address the underlying physical, emotional, and psychological causes for their drinking while removed from their daily responsibilities (rather than asking members to perform this work throughout their regular lives)
- Aftercare treatment, where clients gradually re-adjust to the demands of their regular life (rather than asking members to circumvent all potential triggers on their own)
In addition, non-12-Step programs permit clients to adopt a secular approach to treatment if they choose, do not stigmatize involvement through imposed anonymity, and allow clients to replace problematic behaviors with more healthful choices. They also teach clients what to do in the instance of relapse, as opposed to unilaterally forbidding the future consumption of drugs or alcohol.
Available Alternatives to 12-Step Programs at Gulf Breeze Recovery
At Gulf Breeze Recovery, we wish for clients to return to their regular lives feeling empowered, realizing that they are, in fact, in control of their destiny, which begins with obtaining complete information regarding recovery methods. Contact our team today at 833.551.2304 to learn about our varied treatment approaches and how we can help create an individualized protocol based on your specific needs.