What are Non 12-Step Rehabs

Non 12-Step Rehabs

What is a Non 12-Step Rehab?

When it comes to recovering from substance abuse, there are several alternative options to traditional twelve-step programs (i.e., Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)). Unlike these rehab options, non 12-step rehabs treatment programs avoid labeling addiction as something outside of an individual’s control and instead prioritize individual choice and power in overcoming substance abuse.

For those who are seeking out substance abuse treatment options, choosing between a more familiar twelve-step program and exploring alternative secular organizations can be difficult. However, understanding the differences between them and the methods of treatment they offer can make this process much easier.

What is the 12-Step Approach?

Originally created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in response to alcohol addiction, the 12 Steps are a list of spiritual principles presently used to help guide individuals through the process of recovering from any form of addiction.

Whether it be from drugs or alcohol, this approach features a list of, as suggested by the name, 12 steps to recovery, the principles of which are:

  • Step 1: Admitting a lack of power and control over one’s addiction(s).
  • Step 2: Coming to believe that a Higher Power can restore one back to sanity.
  • Step 3: Making a decision to turn one’s will over to God as they understand him.
  • Step 4: Making an honest and fearless inventory of oneself.
  • Step 5: Admitting to God, to oneself, and to other individuals the nature of their behaviors and sins.
  • Step 6: Prove entirely ready to have God remove all of these defects from oneself.
  • Step 7: Humbly ask for God to remove these defects.
  • Step 8: Make a list of individuals one may have harmed, and be prepared to make amends to them.
  • Step 9: Make these amends to people wherever possible, except for when doing so may cause harm or discomfort to them or others.
  • Step 10: Take continuous personal inventory of one’s actions and behaviors, and take honest accountability when wrong.
  • Step 11: Constantly participate in prayer and meditation, and seek to increase communication with God and personal understanding of His will for one’s life.
  • Step 12: After achieving a spiritual awakening and sobriety, take these newfound life skills and sense of purpose to help others achieve their own enlightenment and new life free from addiction.
Agnostic AA Approach

Agnostic AA Approach & Other 12-Step Alternatives

In an attempt to be more inclusive, there are quite a few variations in the 12-Step approach that have formed since its original development. These include:

  • Agnostic AA 12 Steps. This 12-step approach was designed for agnostic individuals who believe they are powerless over their addiction, and seek to rely on the wisdom of others in their addiction recovery rather than a higher power.
  • Humanist Twelve Steps. This approach focuses on compassion and empathy towards oneself and others in recovering from drug or alcohol abuse and maintaining a hopeful, positive attitude in the process.
  • White Bison 12 Steps. This approach was developed by White Bison, Inc., as a means of maintaining a culturally appropriate recovery approach for indigenous individuals recovering from substance abuse.
  • The Practical 12 Steps. This approach maintains a focus on practical methods of recovery, taking into account one’s limitations, utilizing tools and relying on peer support in achieving sobriety.
  • 12 Secular Steps for Addiction Recovery. This approach prioritizes holding oneself accountable in all actions and decisions, taking responsibility for the outcomes, and honestly reflecting on them in order to implement positive change in the future.

Differences Between 12-Step Programs and Alternatives

Unlike the 12-step belief that individuals have no control over their addiction, non 12-step rehabs options focus primarily on self-empowerment and choice. These alternative programs are typically secular, and encourage individuals to rely on their own personal strength and desire to become sober, rather than through surrendering to a higher power.

Contrary to the more strict 12-step approach, because these alternatives are fairly recent in their development, their approach to addiction recovery is relatively flexible, changing in response to new research as it is provided.

Similarities Between 12-Step Programs and Alternatives

Both 12-step and alternative addiction treatment options focus on the use of community support and peer support groups in supporting members in their recovery and maintaining sobriety.

They both also aim to provide recovering individuals with tools and skill for staying off of drugs and alcohol, although these may differ in nature.

Why Choose a Non 12-Step Rehab?

While many individuals find traditional 12-step programs to be effective addiction treatment options, they are not always applicable to everyone. There are several reasons as to why someone may want to consider a non 12-step recovery option, including:

  • They do not believe their addiction is outside of their control, or do not want to leave their recovery in the hands of a Higher Power or any other individual.
  • They do not believe in or have any desire to conform to a Higher Power or religious belief system.

They have previously tried and been unsuccessful with a 12-step approach.

AA Success Rates vs Alternatives

According to studies done comparing the success rates of 12-step programs such as AA and alternative recovery options, both approaches maintain equal levels of success in achieving and maintaining sobriety.

Sober Supports for Long Term Sobriety

After undergoing their initial drug or alcohol rehab treatment, individuals may be encouraged to seek out methods of helping them maintain long-term sobriety. Some of these may include:

  • Getting Therapy or Counseling. Seeking out a therapist or counselor to help with any mental health conditions or difficult emotions can help provide individuals with coping mechanisms that do not involve substance use.
  • Joining Support Groups. Connecting with other individuals who have recovered from addiction and hearing their success stories may promote positive reinforcement for individuals aiming to maintain their sobriety.
  • Asking for Support from Loved Ones. Reaching out to trusted friends and family members and asking for their support in implementing an individual’s new sober lifestyle can help them stay on track and practice accountability.
  • Establishing Healthy Habits. Practicing basic self-care habits, maintaining a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest, exercising, and staying hydrated are all simple ways of staying healthy and providing an individual with the proper physical foundation for maintaining sobriety.
Insurance Cover a Non 12-Step Rehab

Will Insurance Cover a Non 12-Step Rehab?

The cost of rehab can often be a deterrence for many individuals seeking addiction treatment. Fortunately, most insurance policies will cover a variety of addiction treatment options, including inpatient programs, outpatient programs, medical detox, or similar programs.

Of course, the level of coverage offered will vary depending on the individual’s insurance provider, specific insurance coverage policy, and previous addiction history. Furthermore, other factors such as the location, quality of care offered, and additional services or amenities available at certain rehab centers will further affect the overall cost of treatment.

In order to receive more information on what forms of addiction treatment and recovery are included in their coverage, individuals should contact their personal insurance provider.

Examples of Non 12-Step Support Programs

There are several other addiction recovery programs individuals can choose to receive help from that do not follow a 12-step approach, with some of the most common alternatives to 12-step rehab programs being:

  • LifeRing Secular Recovery
  • Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery
  • Women for Sobriety
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S)
  • Moderation Management


LifeRing Secular Recovery is an abstinence-based 12-step alternative that prioritizes providing safe meeting spaces for individuals to discuss their recovery process and progress. LifeRing focuses on self-control and willpower in staying sober, and follows a 3-S Philosophy of Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help.

Furthermore, LifeRing encourages members to focus on strengthening what they call the “Sober Self” or “S,” and dismantling the presence of their “Addict Self” or “A.”

SMART Recovery

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery is an organization that prioritizes the motivation and determination of an individual in overcoming their addiction. They focus on all sorts of addictions, including gambling addictions, eating disorders, and more.

The SMART Recovery program utilizes a science-based 4-Point Program in their recovery method, which, as follows:

  • Encourages members to build and maintain the motivation to change their habits.
  • Helps members learn how to cope with their cravings.
  • Helps members with managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors without the use of addictive substances or habits.
  • Supports members in living healthy, positive lives.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety is an “Organization of Women, For Women,” serving as one of the first non 12-step recovery programs dedicated to helping women struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. This organization is an equal-opportunity recovery program open to women of all social, cultural, religious, and economic backgrounds.

The program focuses on treating underlying disorders that can lead to developing an alcohol or drug addiction, helping women in recovery achieve emotional growth, a stronger sense of self-worth, and a balanced life.

Secular Organization for Support

The Secular Organization for Support (S.O.S) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to assist individuals struggling with drug and alcohol abuse recover in an open-minded, flexible, and safe environment. The program is free to anyone who wishes to join, and is kept running through outside donations.

Because S.O.S does not adhere to any specific religious, theoretical, or philosophical approaches in its recovery method, members are expected to take full responsibility over their recovery process.

The program’s main focus serves to provide individuals who are overcoming addiction with support groups and positive reinforcement on their journey.

Refuge Recovery

The Refuge Recovery program is a non-12 step alternative that focuses on helping individuals struggling with alcohol or drug abuse to overcome their addiction through principles based in Buddhism.

The Refuge Recovery program does not require adherence to any particular belief system, but rather asks that members are willing to trust in the process and put in the hard work for their recovery. This program prioritizes a traditional Buddhist formula in its approach to recovery, consisting of what the program refers to as the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path.

Women for Sobriety

Moderation Management

Moderation Management (MM), or controlled drinking, is a method of helping non-dependent problematic drinkers to reduce their alcohol intake and the negative behaviors their drinking may cause.

This method focuses on learning how to consume alcohol at a reduced rate, rather than completely eliminating usage of this substance. Individuals who practice moderated drinking often do so to help reduce instances of binge drinking, as well as the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.

Maintenance vs Abstinence for Addiction Treatment

Whereas abstinence-based treatments for alcohol addiction focus on completely eliminating alcohol from an individual’s life, moderation methods seek simply to reduce drinking behaviors and activities.

For individuals who are struggling with alcohol addiction, it is highly recommended they seek out substance abuse treatment options that seek to help clients achieve complete sobriety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse and need immediate help, our team at Find Addiction Rehabs can help you find American addiction centers best suited to your recovery needs.

What Treatment Practices Don’t Use the 12-Steps

For individuals struggling with addiction that need immediate help for their dependency, medically assisted treatment options may be necessary. Because severe addiction can create the risk of a medical emergency should an individual attempt to quit on their own, professional treatment in a medically supervised detox setting can reduce or prevent this possibility.

These treatment centers do not adhere to a 12-step approach, but rather focus on ensuring clients receive treatment that is individualized and clinical in nature. Extra precautionary measures are taken by these treatment facilities in ensuring their clients’ health and recovery needs are met. These will typically include constant professional care and supervision, as well as medications meant to help combat withdrawal symptoms.

Furthermore, medical addiction treatment centers may also help clients identify any co-occurring disorders that are promoting their abuse of substances. These individuals will then either receive treatment for these disorders during their stay at the treatment center or will be encouraged to seek further help after their initial recovery.

What are the Features of a Top Non 12-Step Rehab?

The list of American addiction centers is quite extensive, with some of these treatment facilities offering services more suitable to certain individuals over others. Even narrowing this list down to specifically non-12 step rehabs, researching which rehab centers will best suit an individual’s needs can be stressful.

Typically, individuals will want to find a facility that combines several of their top care needs. Some factors that may be helpful to keep in mind when looking for rehab centers include:

  • Cost of Treatment. Depending on whether an individual has insurance, and what their coverage options look like, finding treatment centers that work with their budget can be extremely important.
  • Quality of Care. Certain treatment facilities will offer more personalized, one-on-one care to their clients; however, these rehab centers will likely cost more than those that do not offer this level of care.
  • Location. The location of a treatment center can adjust the cost and type of services provided; for example, a facility located on the beach will cost more than one located within the city.
  • Additional Amenities. Treatment centers with additional features such as a pool, gym, spa, or other amenities, can definitely boost their level of appeal to clients; however, it is important to keep in mind that they will likely cost more than those that do not have them.

For more tips on what to look for when comparing rehab centers, click here.

Finding a Non Twelve-Step Rehab with Find Addiction Rehabs

Life with addiction can be difficult and lonely, and finding the right treatment options may feel impossible for many individuals. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use and is ready to find help, you don’t have to do it alone.

Here at Find Addiction Rehabs, our team is dedicated to helping you find the best treatment programs for your needs and supporting you in taking that first step to recovery. If you are ready to find a non 12-step rehabs alternative that works with your goals, call our 24/7 hotline now, and let us help you get started on a path to a healthier, happier life.

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