Are AA and NA Really That Effective? Plus Alternatives to Consider

He favored gin and whiskey but drank whatever he thought his parents would miss the least. He discovered beer, too, and loved the earthy, bitter taste on his tongue when he took his first cold sip. My family and my friends who have known me for 20 years recognize that I’m an alcoholic—they knew long before I did. It’s taken a lot of humiliation, soul-searching and grim self-evaluation for me to admit I am an alcoholic—first to myself, then to my inner circle, then to the world at large. Please don’t further demean me by telling me it’s not real or pushing me for proof. I’d been sober for more than a year before I admitted to anyone that I was an alcoholic and sober for two years before I submitted the general public to that ugly news. Initial reactions ranged from actual tears of gratitude and relief to the girl at the bar I was managing who looked at me slyly, swaying on her heels and said, “So what would happen if you took just one sip? Is Alcoholics Anonymous religious, spiritual, neither? Findings from 25 years of mechanisms of behavior change research.

The community has more than 168,000 people who are recovering from substance use disorder and/or codependence, as well as their friends and family. One of the nicest parts of this community is it focuses on recovery writ large. So, if you need sobriety support from harder drugs or other issues, then you might just feel at home here. Don’t feel trepidation if you’ve never spent time on Reddit. This subreddit is an extremely welcoming community for anyone who wants to ask for advice, share their experiences, and stories or simply ask for encouragement about trying to quit or cut back on alcohol. But you can read anytime you want and comb through the thousands of helpful threads including a daily-check in and countless stories of those who have struggled with sobriety.

Who Does AA Work For?

In step 8, you make a list of people you’ve harmed and become willing to make amends. The structure is also rigid, with steps generally done in a specific order. For one, if you’re undergoing medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, NA may not be the best option. AA and NA provide a sense of structure and community that can be hugely beneficial. Other programs, like Narcotics Anonymous , which started in 1953, have used similar models. Not everyone’s a fan, though, and AA is far from being the only option for finding peer support.

How can I make my connection with God stronger?

  1. Talk to Him through Daily Prayer. The greatest way to create and maintain a relationship with anyone, including God, is through communication, and we use prayer to communicate with God.
  2. Read the Scriptures. Quality conversations are not one-sided.
  3. Serve Others.

If you are committed to finding the addiction treatment, therapies, or plans that work best for you, you will have a better chance at success. One study found that mutual support groups can be as effective as 12-step programs and may help improve the odds of success for people who are committed to maintaining a lifetime of total abstinence. During inpatient addiction treatment, you might have gone through detox and learned about co-occurring mental health issues related to alcohol and substance use disorders. After treatment, getting back into the real world can be scary. Much like any other goal in life, long-term sobriety is more manageable in small parts. Take one step at a time and break everything into shorter goals.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

Kirkpatrick believed that women’s drinking problems were rooted in low self-esteem, depression, humiliation, loneliness and guilt and that women needed a different approach to overcoming alcoholism than men. The WFS New Life Program is based on 13 “statements of acceptance,” or affirmations, that help women cultivate a new way of thinking. By replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, the WFS philosophy focuses on improving women’s feelings of self-worth and helping them realize they have Sober Home the power to change. WFS encourages women to let go of the past and to take personal responsibility for their future. Meetings are focused on women supporting and encouraging one another. I have been interested in this topic since I got sober—often doing my own online research—and I have never heard anyone talk about this conundrum. But I think it’s an important factor to understanding long-term recovery. Even though AA hasn’t been the route I’ve taken, I agree that it works if you work it.
recovery without aa
Community, or social capital, is a critical element of recovery. People need to feel validated, supported, and help each other make effective choices. Harvey says that folks in early recovery or struggling with addiction feel unworthy of care and attention. Another challenge that folks face is that 12-step recovery is absolutist in its approach to recovery goals and that anything outside of that perspective doesn’t qualify as recovery. And for some, identifying as an alcoholic just doesn’t fit. Bias is a systematic distortion of the relationship between a treatment, risk factor or exposure, and clinical outcomes. Though researchers usually seek to minimize bias in their studies, even very well-designed studies often include some potential for bias. In this report, 11 of the 27 studies were rated as potentially high risk for selection bias because they either used alternation group assignment versus true randomization , or were non-randomized . On the whole though, the studies included in this review and meta-analysis were of high quality, and their findings can be considered valid. If you are trying to find a way to stay sober without AA, consider placing words of wisdom and positivity in your home, workplace, and on your social media pages.

It may seem that relapse is the last thing that could happen to you, but the truth is they are very common for people new to recovery. You might have a strong support system of loved ones andfamilymembers to help you in your sobriety. Or, you might need time to build a support system if your addiction negatively impacted friends and family members. After a sober living program, the time it may take you to get back in the “real world” may vary in comparison to others. You might have a slip, relapse, or strong urge to drink or use drugs. There is no shame in admitting that you need to go back in your recovery! Sometimes, you need to take a step back before moving forward. Staying sober long-term takes self-care, getting support, a relapse prevention plan, and committing to healthy living. You can increase the odds of staying sober by finding support and asober livingcommunity. To summarize, there are multiple ways to stop drinking without attending AA.

  • Most papers reviewed in this report did not include functional outcomes like quality of life and well-being, generally considered key outcomes of AUD recovery.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is the granddaddy of mutual help groups for alcohol addiction.
  • You might have a strong support system of loved ones andfamilymembers to help you in your sobriety.
  • Supporting addiction recovery community centers is a great way to indirectly support 12-step programs, as these venues offer meeting space and resources for meeting attendees.
  • One of the reasons that some of us don’t really enjoy traditional 12-Step meetings is because of the repeated use of the word “God.” If that resonates with you, you might find LifeRing’s secular recovery helpful.
  • You might feel more comfortable addressing these issues in an individual or smaller group setting, Patterson notes.

But many people consider long-term sobriety to be sobriety that has lasted at least one year. It depends on what substance you are recovering from, how long you’ve been using it, and how much you used. Sobriety fatigue can last a few weeks to a few months. However, in severe cases of post-acute withdrawal, symptoms can last up to two years. Once you do return to work, it’s important to create a budget and take steps to safeguard yourself as work stress can be a relapse trigger.

Sometimes, for example, I’ll find myself liking the way alcohol smells or tastes on my partner’s mouth. Or I’ll feel left out when I’m at a dinner party and everyone else is drinking. I’ll sometimes find myself wishing I had a wine glass, too. I stopped attending meetings because a lot of stuff I was instructed to believe became less useful the more “sober” I got. The other day I came across this great article that spells out the very frustration I would feel in meetings. There are also several other group support programs out there.

How do I build myself spiritually?

  1. Be a river, not a swamp.
  2. Identify blessings.
  3. Be like Moses-speak words of blessing.
  4. Nurture a shared prayer life.
  5. Take a step of faith.
  6. Restore someone's faith.
  7. Be a grateful person.
  8. Share the journey.

(There’s an additional one in Spain.) In the past 18 years, more than 5,000 Finns have gone to the Contral Clinics for help with a drinking problem. Seventy-five percent of them have had success reducing their consumption recovery without aa to a safe level. Alcoholics Anonymous has more than 2 million members worldwide, and the structure and support it offers have helped many people. By the time he was a practicing defense attorney, J.G.

SBGC is a community that provides resources and support to Black girls, womxn, and non-binary folks considering beautiful sober lives. You can sign up to receive a newsletter, join the club, find support groups, get mentoring, and so much more. The group is a friendly, safe space to talk about dreams and inspirations in sobriety as well as fears and regrets. This kind of soul searching can be scary at times—but it’s also thrilling. Rational Recovery offers practical skills for thought training and a self-directed approach, rather than meetings or support groups. Although these new activities are healthy and productive, they can be a stumbling block to lasting recovery if they become a transfer addiction to fill the void left by the original addiction. Shame is having negative beliefs about yourself and your self-worth. Guilt is having negative feelings about your past behavior.
Relapse prevention and long-term sobriety can include many different things. Most people need to continue outpatient therapy, attendsupport groups, and find purpose in their everyday life to stay sober. recovery without aa I wondered what it would be like to try naltrexone, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for alcohol-abuse treatment in 1994. I asked my doctor whether he would write me a prescription.

There is no mandatory national certification exam for addiction counselors. Just as alcoholism existed before AA, alcoholics have stopped drinking before AA existed. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12‐step programs for alcohol use disorder. Long considered a key component of recovery, 12-step programs are as popular as ever. Many of the digital AA alternatives address specific needs of various communities and groups, which is largely overlooked in the 12-step approach.
Eco Sober House
Since researchers began formally studying AA in the late 20th century, however, there has been debate among clinical scientists about its effectiveness. This recently released comprehensive report systematically reviews the science to date on AA, and used rigorous meta-analytic techniques to weigh the evidence. Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice.

When I decided I would get sober on August 1st, 2015, I knew I would do so without Alcoholics Anonymous. I had tried the program in 2009, but hadn’t connected with it. I didn’t stay sober for long that first time—not because of AA, but because I wasn’t ready. I hadn’t taken the time to think about what might work best for me.
recovery without aa
For instance, Tempest provides groups and meetings specifically for parents, people over 50, BIPOC, and the LGBTQIA community. Some digital options also address co-occurring disorders and cross-addiction. We also discuss the importance of recovery communities and how they make a difference for those seeking a sober lifestyle. If you are wondering how to stay sober without AA, you have many options. If you feel lost, discouraged, or have relapsed, also consider contacting an addiction rehab center. Looking at old photographs may help some people stay clean and sober. This especially may help if people are thinking about taking a drink of alcohol. Sometimes, in recovery, people may feel run-down, tired, and unhappy. For people looking for something other than a 12-step program, it’s important to know that there are viable options – and research shows these alternatives can be as helpful as 12-step programs. ” At New Directions for Women, we offer individualized treatment per patient because we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all plan.

Supporting addiction recovery community centers is a great way to indirectly support 12-step programs, as these venues offer meeting space and resources for meeting attendees. If you find that 12-step programs are not helpful for you, you may wonder if that means you’re not going to be able to beat drug or alcohol addiction. Better than Mark and Linda Sobell, who are both psychologists. In the 1970s, the couple conducted a study with a group of 20 patients in Southern California who had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence. Over the course of 17 sessions, they taught the patients how to identify their triggers, how to refuse drinks, and other strategies to help them drink safely. In a follow-up study two years later, the patients had fewer days of heavy drinking, and more days of no drinking, than did a group of 20 alcohol-dependent patients who were told to abstain from drinking entirely. (Both groups were given a standard hospital treatment, which included group therapy, AA meetings, and medications.) The Sobells published their findings in peer-reviewed journals. A sober support group is a critical foundation for a life in recovery, and it is complemented by a great substance use disorder treatment program. While some people do find lasting recovery through AA alone, many benefit greatly from the deeply personal and individualized professional counseling of a treatment program which AA cannot provide.