The 12-step program is a multi-step program that takes recovering addicts on a spiritual and wholesome journey. It is, however, not the only way to recover. If you are looking for ways to recover without going through the 12-step program, it may be helpful to talk with a professional. Many alternatives can work for you.
What happens when I relapse?
Relapse is a common occurrence in recovering addicts. However, if it happens, there is no need to panic. The relapse does not mean that you have failed in your recovery efforts. Rather than focusing on the relapse itself and how bad it makes you feel, focus on what you can do next time so that the relapse does not happen again.
Who can help me with my addiction?
Several people can help you with your addiction, including:
- Friends and family members
- A sponsor
- Mental health professionals
- Trained professionals in rehabilitation centers or clinics
Having multiple people who can provide support will make it easier for you and others around you to support each other as they go through this recovery process together.
Alternatives to the 12-Step Program
Behavioral therapy teaches people new behaviors and actions to replace addiction. For example, if you have an addiction to drugs, you can learn to manage the stress in your life without resorting to drugs.
With cognitive therapy, doctors will teach you how to identify and change negative thoughts about yourself that may be contributing to your addiction. For example, if you feel worthless and believe no one cares about you, you will be more prone to start using drugs or alcohol again. Cognitive therapists will help you manage these negative thoughts, so they do not affect your recovery.
Group therapy involves a group of people who are working through addiction together. This can be beneficial for many reasons. You can learn new ways to cope with cravings and triggers, gain support from others, and share your experiences to help others going through the same thing.
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment instead of thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Research has shown that mindfulness helps reduce cravings and urges, which is essential when trying to prevent relapse in recovery.
Motivational Interviewing (MI)
Motivational interviewing is an interactive, goal-oriented style that focuses on helping you set goals and change behaviors instead of telling you what you should do. The therapist will ask questions about your goals and how you plan to reach them in a nonjudgmental way. This encourages you to take control over your recovery process rather than just following what someone else tells you to do.
Medical-Based Addiction Therapy
Medical-based addiction therapy involves taking medications to reduce cravings and drug effects. The medicines may be given as part of an ongoing treatment plan that includes counseling, support groups, and other therapies. Medications used to treat alcoholism include:
- Disulfiram causes a severe reaction when combined with alcohol. It can cause nausea, vomiting, flushing, palpitations, and headache
- Naltrexone reduces cravings for alcohol
- Acamprosate. This medication is used for people who abstain from alcohol but still crave it. It may also be used for people who have been sober for more than six months but still have cravings from time to time
- Topiramate decrease the severity of withdrawal symptoms and reduce the desire to drink
- Baclofen and gabapentin reduce anxiety and muscle tension associated with withdrawal symptoms
Spirituality and Recovery
William White first developed spirituality and Recovery in 2009. Dr. White has worked with people who have been addicted to alcohol for over 30 years. He has been at the forefront of addiction treatment for many years. In the spirituality and recovery journey, recovering addicts are encouraged to write in a journal, referred to as their “passage .” The passages are written over one year. In these passages, addicts are encouraged to write about the pain they have caused themselves and others. They also write about their spirituality, what they have learned from their addiction experience and how the addicts will live in a new way once they leave treatment.
Addiction is a disease that can be treated with proper medical care. Recovery does not mean you will be cured of the disease for life. Most people who recover from addiction attend support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, or Women for Sobriety. Support groups help recovering addicts find people who understand what it means to live with an active addict or alcoholic in their lives and what it means to be confronted with triggers every day. If you or your loved one suffers from addiction, contact us at 732-392-7311.