When addicts and alcoholics are struggling to get sober, they often turn to recovery programs to help them accomplish what seems like an insurmountable task. Oftentimes, they walk into a 12-step program and find themselves bombarded with methods that don’t seem to fit their situation.
They may not be particularly religious and are turned off by the largely spiritual program in AA, or they feel lost and powerless when guided through the steps. What, if any, are some alternatives?
For addicts who may not be motivated to head into the rooms of AA, other options are available. A great AA alternative is a non-12-step rehab.
What Exactly is Non-12-Step Rehab?
A “non-12-step rehab” is an alternative to the traditional 12-step programs, like AA or NA. These programs generally fall under the umbrella of evidence-based approaches to recovery.
Evidence-based approaches to addiction recovery follow a more scientific approach, rather than a spiritual one. They often have a much higher success rate than the traditional 12-step method and include a number of components that can help addicts recover from their addictions with less risk of a relapse.
As most 12-step programs treat addiction like a “disease,” addicts never feel empowered to take their recovery into their own hands. Often drug addiction is a symptom of a larger problem that can be effectively addressed through evidence-based approaches.
Two Main Types of Treatment
While many alternatives to traditional recovery programs exist, there are two main types of non-12-step rehab methods that have proven to be effective. Let’s take a look.
Pharmacotherapies or medication-assisted treatment are often employed by addiction specialists to mitigate the ill effects of withdrawal. If an addict is too dependent on the drug they are trying to quit, withdrawal symptoms could be deadly. Medication like methadone or suboxone can help lessen the withdrawal symptoms while still helping the addict clear their system of the addictive substance.
Other medications, like Naltrexone, block the receptors in the brain that allow it to feel the usual euphoria from drug use, making it easier for an addict to move into recovery. These medications are effective for alcohol users who need a bit of extra help staying sober, or other drug users who find that quitting on their own just isn’t a reality.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavior therapies help individuals in drug abuse treatment by providing abstinent incentives, altering attitudes and behaviors, and increasing situational skills to handle environmental cues. With these techniques, the addict is prepared for circumstances that could trigger a craving for drugs and start the cycle again.
There are various types of therapies that might be offered at a rehab facility, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Enhancement Therapy, and others.
These behavior therapies might also include other holistic approaches, like working with a nutritionist to learn how to take better care of the body or getting into a regimented workout routine. By taking care of the entire body, and not just addressing the immediate effects of addiction, addicts stand a better chance of recovery and making lasting choices that will keep them from relapsing.
What to Look For in a Non-12-Step Rehab
A good recovery facility will offer evidence-based therapies that can be catered to individual situations. No two cases are alike, and effective therapies will take each variable into consideration to create a plan that will be the most beneficial. Here are a few things to look out for in an effective treatment program.
1. Evidence-based Therapies
A reputable rehab facility will offer multiple recovery options that go beyond the traditional 12-step model. These alternative therapies will be backed by evidence of their success, either medically or psychologically. These therapies are designed to empower an addict and allow them to take a more forward and direct approach in their own recovery.
2. Qualified Treatment Professionals
Going to a rehab facility with qualified, trained medical professionals and substance abuse specialists reduce the risk of unsafe detox situations and increases the likelihood of landing in a treatment plan that will work. In a non-12-step rehab facility, these professionals will work with an addict closely to determine what sort of help they need and stick with them through the entire process so that they can leave rehab healthy and ready to move on with their lives.
3. Tailored Treatment Plans
A one-size-fits-all approach to addiction recovery more often leads to relapse and dangerous detox situations than it does to successful sobriety. A good rehab will work with an addict on an individual basis to determine the best course of action to take in helping them recover from their addiction, and tailor a recovery plan that will lead to success.
Don’t Leave Recovery Up To Chance
Drug and alcohol addiction can be a terrifying, isolating experience. Trying to get sober can seem like an overwhelming task and the options seem to be limited. The reality is that there are many treatment options for addicts who are ready to get sober, from medication-assisted therapy to an involved behavior therapy model that will help tackle the harder parts of recovery. Going to a non-12-step rehab increases the likelihood of success and reduces the risk of unsafe detoxing or relapse.
Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley is the CEO and Founder of Revive Detox, a Joint Commission Accredited and Legit Script Certified Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles in 2007 and has extensive experience working in the addiction and recovery field and the LGBT community. To learn more about Dr. Calvert-Conley click here.