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Finding the Right Addiction Recovery Program

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Guest post

If you’re looking for ways to overcome addiction, there are lots of methods to choose from. Most people know about Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but what if the traditional 12-step program isn’t right for you? There are lots of options to treat your addiction, with varying degrees of success. Research to see if there’s one that will work for you.

Here are some options for alternative forms of addiction treatment:

  • Women for Sobriety -- Women for Sobriety was founded in 1975 to focus on the unique emotional and support needs of women alcoholics. Its mission statement says, “Our ‘New Life’ Program acknowledges the exceptional needs women have in recovery – the need to nurture feelings of self-value and self-worth and the desire to discard feelings of guilt, shame, and humiliation.” Instead of 12 steps, the program has 13 Acceptance Statements, such as, “Problems bother me only to the degree that I permit,” “Happiness is a habit I am developing” and “I am what I think.” Participants, who meet in support groups, are encouraged to read the statements every morning and focus on one each week.
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety -- SOS was founded in 1985 by James Christopher, who was uncomfortable with AA’s spiritual component. He wanted to create a recovery program for those who don’t necessarily believe in a “higher power.” The group has local, anonymous meetings for members and advocates total abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
  • Celebrate Recovery -- Celebrate Recovery is a Christian support group affiliated with the Saddleback Church of Christopher Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life.” It’s a Bible-based recovery program which focuses on the eight beatitudes. Its website says, “It is based on the actual words of Jesus rather than psychological theory.”
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery -- LifeRing was formed after some SOS members disagreed on the structure of the program and created their own organisation. Like SOS, it’s a secular organisation. Its website says, “In LifeRing, we offer each other peer-to-peer support in ways that encourage personal growth and continued learning through personal empowerment.”
  • Mindfulness therapies -- Yoga and mindfulness are based on meditation, which can help you relieve stress and focus on your body. Addicts often commit destructive behaviours as a matter of habit, and mindfulness can help break those habits and focus on what your body needs. Researchers believe that mindfulness practices can help “re-map” the brain by creating new neural pathways. Many 12-step programs incorporate yogic and mindfulness practices into the recovery process. Yoga’s benefits double when you consider the physical benefits to your body.
  • Exercise and diet -- Keeping your body moving is an excellent way to help ward off relapse while in recovery. Exercise and diet alone aren’t likely to fix addiction, but they are often recommended to those undergoing treatment to supplement their work. Exercise helps regulate mood and make you feel better, which lends itself to avoiding drugs and alcohol. Exercise also gives you a sense of accomplishment and ability, which many addicts have lost. Most addicts tend to be malnourished by the time they reach recovery, so adding back nutritional foods full of vitamins can help get the body back to a healthy state.

Whatever path you take, make sure it’s right for you. Avoid any program that offers magical cures or claims to make recovery easy. Make sure your addiction counsellor is certified and bases his or her methods on science. Your success will also depend on your willingness to participate in your recovery. It will be difficult, but so worth it in the end.


RecoveryHope.org was started by Caleb and Molly Anderson. After Caleb was admitted to treatment for opiate addiction, Molly made it her mission to learn more about how to help him fight his battles and support him in his recovery. Together they now help other couples and individuals by providing research and resources regarding the many challenges of overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.


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