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Getting Sober Without the 12-Steps

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Talk to anyone in recovery, any addiction professional, or any in- or outpatient drug and alcohol facility, and they’ll tell you; the easiest and most effective way to get and stay clean is with the 12-step programs. But is that really true? Is AA and its affiliates the one and only path to recovery, or can sobriety be found in different ways?

AA’s Popularity

Getting Sober

Relying solely on inpatient and outpatient treatment has proven effective for many recovering addicts.

AA is the most popular drug and alcohol program in the world, and for many people, it works. It’s a place to deal with your addiction, to talk about it and the struggle to overcome it with people who not only won’t judge you, but understand what you’re going through because they’ve been there. AA and other 12-step meetings have saved millions of lives and helped millions more get and stay sober. It gives its members a way to meet sober people, a safe place to go, and something to do—covering the relapse triggers of people, places, and things—but if AA was the cure for addiction, how come more people don’t go?

Different Strokes

Everyone’s spiral into addiction is different, so it makes sense that everyone doesn’t follow the same road to recovery and that’s why there are different approaches to addiction treatment. While AA is a great program that works for many, it’s not for everyone. Some, like those in medically-assisted treatment, don’t feel welcome at 12-step meetings where they’re not considered sober because of their prescriptions. For others, the reminiscent aspect of some meetings acts as a trigger, and instead of helping to suppress the desire to use, it ignites it. Some may not like the spiritual aspect of AA or the fact that you’re powerless over your addiction.

That’s why there is no one direct path for recovery. No two journeys are the same, and one is no better than another. For some people, a pure treatment approach consisting of long-term inpatient, followed by a partial hospitalization program, then intensive outpatient, and ending with regular outpatient, works, while others respond to a CORE philosophy: Commit to permanent abstinence, Objectify the addiction, Respond with never, and Enjoy and rediscover life.

A Historic Example

Still for many, the road to addiction recovery is traveled without any level of treatment, 12-step meetings, or other addiction group or support. While that contradicts with everything people say about addiction, there’s a specific even in American history that shows this may be true: the Vietnam War. During Vietnam, opium and heroin were rampant and it’s estimated that nearly 50 percent of American soldiers used at some point, with 20 percent admitting addiction. That’s a whole lot of soldiers, an amount that should have seemingly swamped the American healthcare system in addiction. But that’s not what happened. Once they returned home, most of these heroin addicted men, 99 percent in fact, stopped using with no intervention and proceeded to live normal, productive lives.

Are You Ready for Recovery?

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery, call 800-654-0987 today. We’re here to help you every step of the way towards sobriety and a life worth living.

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