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What are the 12 Steps?

Alternatives to the 12 Step Program

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Peer support groups are a vital aspect of long-term addiction rehabilitation. They are free groups where individuals suffering from addictions obtain assistance from others in recovery. Attending these meetings may create a feeling of community as well as responsibility in abstaining from drug use. Research suggests peer support groups are most helpful when accompanied by official addiction therapy. This article will talk about what are the 12 steps?


What are the 12 Steps?


The 12 steps themselves form a roadmap for recovery that has helped countless addicts get clean over the years – they include guidance on how to tackle cravings head-on without giving in to temptation while also encouraging some serious self-reflection at the same time! By working through each step carefully, one after another,  individuals will learn how to overcome the problems they face as a result of alcohol dependence. Alcoholism and addiction can be life-damaging conditions if not treated correctly, but 12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous have been shown to work repeatedly.

People in recovery had no other options until the 1970s when 12-step organizations became the sole choice available to them. Today, there are a variety of 12-step alternatives available for individuals who do not identify with its emphasis on a higher power. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was the first 12-step program, and it served as an inspiration for the development of additional 12-step programs such as:



  • A support group for those who are battling with dysfunctional relationship patterns is called Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA).


  • Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA) for people with bulimia, anorexia, and other eating disorders.


  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA) support group for persons who have gambling addictions.


  • Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) is a support group for those who are addicted to sex.

Possible Options Besides the 12 Step Program


In recent decades, there has been a slew of alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs that have emerged. They operate similarly to the 12 Steps, with local meetings organized and controlled by members. Some organizations provide both in-person and online meetings. They include:


SMART Recovery


SMART Recovery is a secular alternative to 12-step programs such as AA and other similar organizations. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) encourages members to acknowledge that they are helpless over their alcoholism and to turn to a Higher Power for help. SMART Recovery sees drug misuse as a dysfunctional habit that individuals may regain control over by changing their behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based techniques for behavior modification are included in the strategy. SMART Recovery is an abbreviation for self-management and training in recovery. It is based on the “4-Point Program” that they have developed.


  • Developing and retaining the desire to make a positive change.
  • Managing temptations to use drugs or alcohol.
  • The ability to manage one’s thoughts, emotions, and actions in an efficient manner without resorting to addictive behaviors
  • Living a life that is balanced, happy, and healthy.


Refuge Recovery


To assist those who are struggling with cravings and other issues in recovery, Refuge Recovery relies on Buddhist philosophy. Several of the teachings of Refuge Recovery are founded on the Buddhist idea that the core cause of suffering is people’s desire to push away pain while simultaneously striving to quench an insatiable longing to be satiated with pleasure. 


Participants discover how consuming alcoholic beverages and abusing drugs keeps them trapped in misery. They learn to have compassion for themselves and the suffering they have encountered as a result of mindfulness and other Buddhist practices, as well as healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with challenging emotions and drives in their lives.


Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.)


A secular 12-step alternative, Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a 12-step program for persons who are battling drug addiction, alcohol addiction, or food addiction. It is based on the words of its creator, James Christopher, who became clean in 1985 and chose to utilize his experiences to inspire a recovery program for non-religious drug-abusing individuals. SOS believes that individuals may maintain their sobriety by maintaining their integrity, principles, and convictions. It does not subscribe to the 12-step philosophy that surrendering one’s life to a Higher Power is the sole way to find healing in one’s life. The “sobriety priority” method is used by SOS sobriety officers. This implies that anybody may maintain their sobriety if they make it their priority in their lives.


SOS invites people to do the following:


  • They must admit to themselves that they are an alcoholic or addict.
  • This must be reaffirmed and accepted regularly.
  • Make sobriety a priority in your life daily by doing whatever it takes. Drinking or using drugs is not an option.
  • No matter what obstacles emerge, refrain from drinking or taking drugs and recognize that life is unpredictable, but it may also be very rewarding.
  • As sober individuals, you may share with confidence.
  • Recognize that each individual is solely accountable for his or her own life and sobriety.


Women for Sobriety


Women for Sobriety (WFS) was founded in 1976 by sociologist Jean Kirkpatrick to help women who were struggling with addictive behavior. Alcoholism and drug addiction in women are seen as symptoms of more widespread issues that affect this community by those who do not practice AA or NA. 


Several factors might contribute to poor self-esteem such as trauma and despair, as well as shame and guilt. Alcohol and drug misuse become coping mechanisms for dealing with these conditions. WFS groups urge individuals to focus on the underlying causes and flawed thinking that contribute to their drug or alcohol use problem and to seek treatment. Participants learn how to take care of their basic requirements and grow in awareness and self-fulfillment as a result of their participation.


It is a 12-step program that emphasizes behavior transformation via the following steps:


  • Encouragement is a good thing.
  • Participation in a group
  • Taking good care of one’s physical health
  • Approaches that are cognitive

 LifeRing Secular Recovery


Participants in LifeRing Secular Recovery are encouraged to take control of their recovery by identifying their triggers and determining what it will take to overcome them. Sobriety is emphasized, and the “addicted self” is weakened. Members of 12-step groups learn to connect with one other’s sober selves via group exercises. Sharing personal sobriety stories is a key part of the program. 


LifeRing is an alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous (AA and NA) that encourages people to identify what works best for them and utilize it to remain clean. People in recovery must work hard every day to lead with their sober selves since the “addicted self” is still there and will always be there.

What are the 12 steps?

The Best Addiction Treatment in Southern California


In recovery, whatever fits best into your lifestyle is the best route for you to take. At Opus Health we make efforts to support any path you’re taking along your journey, and offer completely customized treatment plans based on your needs and goals. Call 855-953-1345 to learn more about treatment options available in Orange County, California today.

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