Is AA the only way to maintain sobriety? Absolutely not! There are many ways to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. In fact, while AA has proven to be effective for many and is still a common feature of many drug rehabs, it still has a questionable value in terms of solid evidence of effectiveness. AA seems to captivate some and alienate others. Although it doesn’t promote any particular religious belief system and requires faith only in a higher power, still, many AA participants are indeed Christians. This may tend to discourage participation by those of other religions.
Some Facts About AA
AA is also not compatible with any kind of medication-assisted treatment. This can include Suboxone or methadone for opioid use disorder. The use of any kind of addictive substance, except for nicotine and caffeine, is forbidden by AA. It’s seen as a weakness and an affront to their concept of life control by a higher power. However, AA is fine with nicotine products, even though these are just as addictive and harmful as other substances of abuse. While much less of a concern, the consumption of excessive amounts of coffee is also acceptable by AA. Many people are put off and confused by AA’s refusal to accept and total intolerance to medication as a way to prevent relapse and maintain abstinence from a formerly abused drug. AA requires compliance with its highly structured 12 Steps. From the very first step, you must give up control over your addiction and your life to a higher power, whatever you conceive that to be.
AA may not be a good match for very private, sensitive or shy persons. Meetings consist of groups, sometimes quite large, of people who get up and talk about intimate and disturbing topics. While no one will try to force you to speak, it’s encouraged. For someone uncomfortable with speaking about private things in front of strangers, this could be a problem. If you feel uncomfortable with your choice of recovery treatment, it’s not likely to work very well for you. However, there are many alternatives to AA and other faith-based programs similar to it. None of them require you to give up any power over your life at all. In fact, most encourage you to find your inner strength and use it as a tool for remaining sober. Many of these alternative programs hold community meetings, and some are available as part of drug rehab programs, too. Here are a few of these alternative programs:
- SMART Recovery
SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. It has both in-person and online meetings and features four steps encompassing coping skills, life balance, motivation and behavior management. SMART is all about empowering the individual to take control over their substance abuse with the goal of long-term abstinence. It’s science-based and non-religious. There is no cost.
- Women for Sobriety
This program is designed for women and welcomes all types of female identities. Their New Life program is non-religious and consists of 13 acceptance statements and six recovery levels. Group meetings are supervised by certified moderators. Free of charge, its participants learn about identifying and coping with both the problems that led to the substance abuse and the problems resulting from the abuse. It teaches behavior modification and innovative problem-solving techniques.
- Tempest Sobriety School
This is a fee-based online sobriety course. The goal is complete abstinence from all forms of substance abuse. The program features an 8-week online course with weekly lectures and includes phone and chat support and an online community. Learn about mindfulness and coping with cravings. The program includes a sobriety road map for the participant to follow as they proceed through the course. Price is approximately $550 for the course and includes one year of follow-up access.
- Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
This is an independent network of groups created to help those who would like to stay sober but would prefer not to attend AA. There is no charge. SOS features a sobriety guideline, mutual support and local and online groups. Participants learn about the cycle of sobriety, which is acknowledgement, acceptance and prioritization. Learn about factors that contribute to addiction, rational decision-making and how to get sober and stay that way.
We Can Help
As you have seen in this article, there are many alternatives to AA. There are many roads to long-lasting sobriety, but it can be confusing and difficult to know which is the right one for you. We’re a group of drug treatment professionals available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and help you find the perfect drug rehab for you or a loved one. Just call (833) 922-2653 anytime. We’re here to help.