The 12-Step Process has become a cornerstone of the modern addiction treatment model, codified and followed in thousands of treatment centers across the country. The most respected and trusted addiction treatment-advocacy organizations, including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) rely heavily on the 12-Step process and were instrumental in its development. As addiction treatment continues to evolve, however, many of those seeking help find themselves disconnected from the 12-Step process for a variety of reasons and are finding themselves in need of non-12-Step drug and alcohol treatment programs. Many critics of the 12-Step process find its foundational tenets to be outdated and not in line with evidence-based treatment methodology.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that more than 22.5 million people are in need of addiction treatment and that only a little more than 10 percent receive treatment. Almost two million of these individuals are between the ages of eighteen to twenty-five. Data from the Pew Research Center reveals a significant decline in the prioritization and embrace of religion and spirituality in everyday life among those born between 1990 and 1996. This shift in culture means that those who find themselves in need of addiction treatment may be looking for a secular care model. While there are less religious 12-Step treatment options, the model is still firmly based in the belief in a higher power, a concept from which this age group is comparatively distant.
Non-12-Step alcohol and drug treatment programs are recovery programs that allow patients to draw strength and support from elements outside of the 12-Step process. Data from the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia indicates that only 25 to 35 percent of those who attend one AA meeting go on to become active participants. While comparatively little research has been conducted on secular or non-12-Step alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs, many find comfort and strength in these alternatives.
Some of the more common non-12-Step alcohol and drug treatment programs include, but are not limited to:
When an addicted person or their loved one endeavors to find an alternative to traditional 12-Step recovery, the process can be overwhelming. The reality is that most of the 14,000-plus treatment facilities in the United States offer a 12-Step approach. However, more and more non-12-Step options exist to cater to specialized populations. Interested participants or their loved ones can find a program in their area relative quickly by searching online. One of the most comprehensive resources is SAMHSA’s treatment locator. This directory breaks down searches according to geography and other specific treatment preferences.
No matter what kind of help you’re looking for, whether it’s 12-Step, secular, or any other type of therapy, the most important thing is to get the help you need immediately. Addiction can affect anyone, and there are specialized treatment resources out there for every type of patient.
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