Recovery Support Alternatives: When Should Someone Give up On AA and What Other Recovery Programs Are out There?

Is alternatives to AA worth it or are there Other Recovery Programs that Are Out There?

Although it was as soon as it is advised heresy in rehab phases, now it is ideal to state, “alternatives to AA is just not for me.”

An abundant number of scientific researches, including those that have existed for a long time, and the ones just emerging, has brought into light ways by which Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and as well 12 step groups may even not be a recovery path that works for everyone seeking Sobriety. But before you can fully know the right support group for you, when deciding to get sober, seek professional help from licensed providers. 

It is common knowledge that individuals who drop out of alternatives to AA, for whatever their reasons may be, tend to do so because they aren’t getting the kind of professional help that they think they need in a supportive environment for recovery.

But it is uncommon knowledge that some of these people who drop out do not find alternatives to AA to be the right fit because the first step of members in the 12-step group is accepting or admitting “powerlessness” concerning their addiction. These people who drop out strong affirmation that they must become encouraged to make an actual change in their lives, and acknowledging that they are powerless therefore contradicts their convictions to getting better. AA meetings assist in getting better or gaining recovery which is contrary to some people’s thoughts.

Giving up Already? Try Alternatives to AA

On the other hand, other individuals that do not mind admitting powerlessness have a problem with the thought of giving their lives up to a “higher power,” which is often imbued in the Christian doctrines held at 12-step meetings in the US. This belief in a higher power can be disturbing to atheists and agnostics, and other minority religious groups on a recovery journey. Opting for alternatives to AA is a way of showing that you are tired of remaining the way you are and one needs treatment.

Nevertheless, people need medication to get past their addictions or treat their mental illnesses, which often go hand in hand in a dual diagnosis condition. Though in some 12 step groups, medical treatment is disapproved of irrespective of the advancement in medical science. With alternatives to AA, you will be able to find out more about the ideal treatment.

Yes! alternatives to AA Can Work for You

Yes! AA didn’t establish a stronghold for addiction and recovery for nothing. They have worked for millions and millions of people, which is one of the leading reasons why many people turn to the program for recovery if it is at least once.

But suppose you decide the 12-step program is not for you, especially after a genuine effort. In that case, a medical professional, when sought, may agree that you should seek other forms of recovery support therapy. And seeking alternatives to AA is one of the ideal ways of recovery.

Below are 12-step group alternatives, their alternative beliefs, and where you can find more information regarding recovery support groups. But, ideally, the public is enlightened on alternatives to AA because it is one of the fundamental ways of recovery.

Smart Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)

The Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is a four-point program for addicts who wants to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Tom Horvath established this recovery training in 1994. The four-point program consists of ideas and techniques that focus on building and maintaining motivation, managing thoughts, and feelings, coping with urges and behaviors, and living a balanced life. SMART recovery is an abstinence-oriented, non-profit organization for people struggling with addictive issues. Their self-empowering, free mutual support meetings focus on ideas and techniques to help individuals change their lives from self-destructive and unhappy to one that is constructive and satisfying. 

Horvath explained in a video on the SMART Recovery website. “We at SMART Recovery teach ourselves self-reliance and know the approach by which we can be empowering to ourselves. We are in support of individuals who yearn for an active and direct approach to change. The individuals at SMART Recovery already know what they need to do; we only show them ways by which they can do it.”

Additionally, Horvath also says that SMART Recovery is science-based and evolves as the science evolves, “We support appropriate use of addiction and psychiatric medications. Whithersoever you choose to believe in a higher power or a God or whether you choose to believe that addiction is a disease, it is entirely up to you and not a part of our program’s focus.”

SMART Recovery has meetings in close to a thousand cities all over the world. For individuals who live in areas where meetings are not nearby, SMART Recovery offers online sessions as well as a message board and a 24-hour chat.

SOS (Secular Organizations for Sobriety)

SOS, which some of its members call “Save Ourselves,” made a list on its website regarding their general principles. The list includes:

  • Although choosing to be sober is a responsibility only you can make, supporting other alcoholics and addicts is a vital adjunct to recovery for life does not have to be faced alone. In SOS, members share information, experiences, strength, insights, and support in honest, friendly, anonymous, and aiding group meetings.
  • SOS is not an off-shoot to any secular or religious group. There are worries with attaining and maintaining sobriety (abstinence), so they make sure that there is no hidden agenda.
  • SOS does not limit its views to one theory of addiction or area of knowledge. They encourage the scientific study of addiction in all of its aspects.

On the SOS website, William Kaiser, Ph.D., says, “Most recovery programs support the belief that a support group is recommended or needed” he also says, “I believe that it is. A secular person’s challenge is to find a group that fits their philosophy of life or worldview. But if it means attending AA meetings or just attending and keeping your mouth shut but being there for the fellowship, I can understand. But it’s a lonely beinghood.”

In summary, finding SOS meetings in some parts of the country might be a daunting task.

Women and Sobriety

Women for Sobriety, founded in 1976, assists women looking for Sobriety via a program focused on 13 rules towards personal responsibility, positive thinking, and embracing a promising future instead of recapitulating past mistakes.

Women for Sobriety creates its basis on its “New Life” program. The program consists of thirteen statements that individuals in the sobriety group are encouraged to recite each morning when they wake up. Messages which they are to repeat comprises of things such as; “I now accept the responsibility of taking charge of my life and disease even though I once had a life-threatening problem that had me.” Or, “Negative thoughts destroy only me. My first mindful sober act must be to eliminate negativity from every area of my life.” And, “No longer shall the past victimize me. I am a new person, and the past is gone forever. ” And this is one of the several benefits that alternatives to AA has.

While AA meetings work well for the individuals it works for, many people (women in particular)) have come forward about being stalked, harassed, and sometimes threatened “in the rooms” of alternatives to AA. These stories always often receive broad attention, so, after sharing such stories, some women have sought alternative forms of recovery.

In summary, women for Sobriety offers online message boards and chats. If you are interested in learning where Women for Sobriety Groups meet, contact Women for Sobriety Groups; that information is on their website. 


LifeRing was founded in 2001 and had meetings nationwide, but mainly in the West. There also have online discussions.

There are as many stories of successful sober people as there are ways to live free of drugs and alcohol. LifeRing explains on its website, “Several LifeRing participants or members attend recovery programs or other kinds of meetings, so we hereby honor their decisions. Some LifeRing members have experienced negative outcomes attempting to find help elsewhere. Still, most people soon find that LifeRing emphasizes the practical, positive, present-day can turn despair and anger into hope and answer. LifeRing with respect embraces what works for every individual.”

What If None of These Recovery Groups Meet Where I Live?

Whether an individual likes AA or not, its numbers are its greatest strength: AA meetings are everywhere. That is why many addiction experts will suggest addicts get support from alternatives to AA rather than getting no help at all. Even if none of the above recovery groups meet where you live, please, note that some of these groups offer online meetings and forums.

You can also join other people who start looking for self-help books to get tips or ideas on staying sober. Because several individuals actualized getting sober with alternatives to AA but then phased out. And these individuals may not like attending meetings, but still, they review the Big Book and work the steps.

There is hardly ever a shortage of self-help books out there. One widely acclaimed book is “Mindful Recovery: A Spiritual Path to Healing from Addiction” written by Thomas and Beverly Bien. Lama Surya Das, the author of the bestselling book Awakening the Buddha Within, writes in a review on its back flap, “This amazing book comes with practical exercises that will assist us to build a deeper understanding and a conscious awareness. The book also provides us the ways and means to free us from addictions, habits, and unconscious behavior patterns that do not provide satisfaction.”

Another review, written by Dr. Joseph Volpicelli, the author of Recovery Options: The Complete Guide, “Anyone interested in finding the ideal guide that leads to recovery and set attention on flexibility instead of the ‘one true way’ will profit from this interesting, helpful book and .” And feel free to contact us to learn more about alternatives to AA and the ideal way of recovery.