Even if you are searching for a self-help or mutual support group, there are several available that do not use the 12-step method or a spiritual approach to recovery.
Many people quit drinking and abusing drugs by using medical and therapeutic treatment methods alone.
DetoxificationWhen chronic or heavy drinkers or those addicted to drugs try to quit, most experience withdrawal symptoms that can be quite severe. Detoxification treatment is aimed at reducing or eliminating those symptoms while your body is getting used to not having alcohol or drugs in your system during the "drying out" period.
Detox treatment usually involves taking tranquilizers to calm the shakes and using diet and vitamins to help get your body back on a more healthy path. This can be done on an outpatient basis or in an inpatient setting in the case of severe withdrawal symptoms. Usually, there is no counseling or other treatment, spiritual or otherwise, involved in the detoxification phase of recovery.
- Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
- The Range of Withdrawal Symptoms
- Treatment for Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Pharmaceutical TreatmentSome people are able to quit using drugs or drinking alcohol by using pharmaceutical treatment -- medications designed to help someone remain abstinent. Some of these medications reduce cravings, some reduce the effects of drugs and alcohol, and some simply make you sick if you try to drink.
Using these treatment methods is a matter of getting a prescription for one of the FDA-approved medications from your doctor or healthcare provider. There is no counseling or other support involved, unless you choose to seek it.
Alcohol and Drug Rehab and Treatment FacilitiesThere are thousands of alcohol and drug rehabilitation and treatment centers and clinics in the United States that offer both short-term and long-term outpatient or residential treatment for alcoholism and addiction. Many of these facilities base their treatment upon the spiritual 12-step programs or incorporate the 12 steps into their programs.
But there are many facilities that specifically do not use the 12-step approach or faith-based methods. They use cognitive behavior therapy and other secular, evidence-based methods of addiction treatment. To find out what kind of method a facility uses, contact them by telephone or through their website and ask if they use the 12-step approach.
Recovery Support GroupsResearch has shown that people trying to quit have better results if they include participation in a mutual support or self-help group in their recovery program. Of course, Alcoholics Anonymous is the most popular and readily-available of these groups, but A.A. is the granddaddy of all the 12-step programs.
Many atheists and agnostics have found recovery in the Alcoholics Anonymous program. There is a chapter in the book Alcoholics Anonymous called "We Agnostics" that explains how to approach the 12 steps without a belief in a higher power.
But if A.A. is just not for you, there are secular support groups that do not use the 12 steps or any religious or spiritual forms of support. These groups may not be active in all areas, but most have online meetings and forums in which you can participate for support.