What About Non 12 Step Recovery Programs?

12-step recovery programs have been available for many years and have helped numerous individuals in their journey of recovery. Still, the 12-step method isn’t for everyone, which is why non-12-step recovery programs do exist.

Barriers to the 12-step Program

Some individuals encounter barriers when attempting to use the 12-step program as a part of their recovery. One such barrier is the program’s philosophy. According to a scientific overview of the program itself, “the compatibility between personal and treatment belief systems and philosophies is an important predictor of engagement in 12-step programs,” and those individuals who do not feel comfortable with the program’s philosophy often struggle. The concepts of religion, spirituality, powerlessness, and the necessity of giving oneself over to a higher power can be difficult for individuals who do not feel connected to these concepts, which can make it very hard to continue with the program. This can lead to low attendance rates and fundamental issues with the program’s teachings in many individuals.

Another barrier is the flexibility of the group, which can sometimes cause individuals to fail to attend meetings or to lose the motivation to stay present in the group. 12-step programs require the individual addict’s motivation to their own care and healing as well as to the care and healing of others, and some people are not able to stay motivated to continue.

Alternatives to 12-step Recovery Programs


There are alternative recovery programs that may be a better fit for you.

For those who have issues or difficulties with the 12-step program philosophy, there are a number of programs that provide similar benefits without the religious and spiritual undertones found in the 12 steps. Instead, these programs rely on scientific research as well as the idea that one can choose to recover from addiction and work hard in order to do so. Some examples non-12-step mutual-help groups include:

These programs focus solely on the scientific side of addiction treatment and recovery. If you are interested in programs that utilize religion or spirituality but have their own philosophies and methods separate from the 12 steps, Women for Sobriety and Celebrate Recovery could be a wonderful choice for you. If any one of these programs seem to fit your needs, you can visit their websites to find out if one may be right for you.

In addition, certain individuals are in need of a more structured treatment option. Some people have attended inpatient or outpatient programs before joining a mutual-help group like a 12-step program, but perhaps, they may need more time in one of these more controlled programs. Others may have never attended treatment at one of these facilities and could largely benefit from it before attempting to seek help in a less structured program in the future. If you believe this may apply to you, it could be helpful to attend residential, inpatient, or outpatient treatment before making a support group your sole treatment option, or even to speak one-on-one with a drug counselor.

The 12-step Theory Isn’t for Everyone…

But it could still be very beneficial to you, either now or sometime in the future. To find out more about the 12-step philosophy and how their meetings work, call 888-905-9004.

Get Help TodayPhone icon800-672-9614 Info iconWho Answers?

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: Rehab Media Group, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

Pin It on Pinterest