A 12-step program is an integral part of the recovery journey for many people. 12-step programs suggest many things including encouraging individuals in recovery to look outside themselves for strength and guidance. The idea of a higher power does have a spiritual base. For those looking for secular recovery alternatives, a non 12-step program may be a better place to begin.

What Is a Non 12-Step Program?

person writing in journal looking out at beautiful landscapeThe original 12-steps were founded on the basis of spirituality. They encourage individuals to look to a higher power for guidance, strength, and support. Although the 12-step program is not restricted to a single religion, it is still spiritually-based.

While the 12-step program is extremely effective and beneficial for many, not everybody feels the program is for them. Some people feel they want and need something different than the 12-step model of recovery.

Examples of a Non 12-Step Program

Several organizations across the country have developed 12-step alternatives for those interested in other self-help group options. Some of the 12-step alternatives that are offered include SMART Recovery, SOS, and LifeRing Secular Recovery.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is one of the most popular non 12-step programs available. It follows a four-point that includes:

  • Finding and maintaining motivation
  • Developing skills to cope with urges
  • Learning to manage feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
  • Finding balance in life

SMART Recovery believes that by looking inward and investing in a healthy lifestyle, individuals will be able to begin recovery and achieve independence from their addictions. Furthermore, they rely on evidence-based knowledge and techniques to help people develop effective coping mechanisms.

Similar to the 12-step program, SMART Recovery encourages individuals to find fulfillment and maintain their own recoveries by helping others who are just beginning along the path.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

Another non 12-step program is Secular Organization for Sobriety, or SOS. SOS encourages members to follow a three-part, daily Cycle of Sobriety. This cycle includes acknowledging the addiction, accepting the addiction, and prioritizing the maintenance of sobriety.

By doing this, SOS believes individuals will be able to remain mindful of where they are in their recovery journeys and feel a better sense of responsibility. Furthermore, reaffirming this cycle each day can help keep the individual on the right track by constantly reminding them of their experiences.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is another organization that believes in recovery through non-12 step methods. They follow a three-step philosophy: secularity, sobriety, and self-empowerment. They believe that individuals can achieve sobriety through personal perseverance and peer support without the reliance on a higher power.

Generally, their meetings consist of members sharing stories, ideas, and issues that they are facing. LifeRing also discourages members from shaming those who experience relapses, and instead empower them to take the experience as a learning opportunity.

Recovery at New Bridge Foundation

Of course, many people interested in 12-step and non 12-step programs benefit from a blend of both treatment modalities. Each program offers a unique approach to recovery, and gaining support from several different groups can help a person grow their support network.

New Bridge Foundation offers both 12-step and non 12-step education in Berkeley CA. For those looking to begin a lifelong recovery journey, New Bridge Foundation is the place to begin. In addition to exposure to the 12-step program and non 12-step alternatives, we also offer addiction counseling services, including:

To learn more about New Bridge Foundation and our approach to addiction recovery, call us today at 866.772.8491.