Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step program that has been around since 1935; as of 2016, close to 2 million people worldwide are members of AA. Although AA has gained a massive following in the addiction recovery world, many people are finding success more challenging in this setting because of the religious or spiritual component of the program. AA refers to a deity – God – as a Higher Power who takes full control over one’s life once they let him into their heart. The 12 steps of AA are grounded in this belief, and allow people to develop a stronger connection with God while working towards their recovery. Individuals who wish to have a journey of recovery without a spiritual element have been leaning more towards alternative programs – which research has shown to be just as effective.
A 2018 study led by researchers from California conducted surveys of people diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD) at a 6-month and 12-month period in mutual help alternative groups such as Women for Sobriety (WFS), LifeRing, and SMART. Assessing the results of questions based on demographic and clinical variables, involvement, alcohol/drug use and severity, the researchers found that alternative self-help groups are just as effective as 12-step groups such as AA. If you’re unfamiliar with these groups, here are some brief descriptions of each:
Women for Sobriety – a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women discover an abstinent life by addressing the unique emotional needs that women face
LifeRing – an abstinence based, non-12 step program, where individuals come together in face-to-face meetings, online chat, and email groups to discuss recovery from alcohol and drug abuse
SMART – an international non-profit organization that self-empowers individuals through science-based mutual help groups
No matter your preferences, self-help groups can be very beneficial both alongside a treatment program or after concluding one. If you’re considering attending one of these programs, speak with a representative at a reputable treatment center today to find out if you can participate in one of these programs while you work towards your recovery.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.