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Non 12 step rehab

Non 12 Step Rehab: What Are the Alternatives?

If you are struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to get help right away. The dangers of drug and alcohol abuse include physical and mental health problems that make life a challenge. Many people turn to 12 step programs for substance abuse help, whether that’s through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or a drug and alcohol treatment center. But if the 12 steps aren’t for you, don’t worry. Non 12 step rehab is an effective path to sobriety.

Vogue Recovery Center offers a full continuum of holistic treatment and care for substance abuse and mental health disorders. That includes the 12 Steps and 12 step alternatives. A consultation with our treatment center can offer a real path to recovery for those who struggle with drug addiction or alcohol abuse.

What Defines 12 Step Programs for Addiction?

The very first 12 step program for substance abuse treatment was Alcoholics Anonymous. Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith came up with the idea in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. The core principles of 12 step programs believe that addiction is a chronic disease. It teaches that recovery is best achieved through mutual support and personal accountability.

There is also an element of religion and following a higher power, including the necessity of a spiritual awakening.  Nonetheless, the 12 steps are a process for individuals to address and curb their addiction. Participants attend regular group meetings. They share their experiences and receive guidance from peers who have similar problems. The popularity of AA led to similar groups like Narcotics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), and Gambling Anonymous (GA). While each program focuses on a different substance or vice, they all follow the same 12 steps deemed necessary for recovery.

Is Non 12 Step Rehab Right for You?

Some people take issue with the spiritual aspect of traditional 12 step programs. Non 12 step rehab tends to lean less heavily on a spiritual practice  while still stressing the importance of values like self-acceptance, mindfulness, and responsibility.

Twelve step programs are very effective at addressing substance abuse, but their based on developing a spiritual relationship with a higher power. This can be off putting for some people who do not want to lean on a spiritual program or have trauma tied to religious themes form their past.

If you are looking for alternatives to a traditional 12 step rehab, then a non-12 step recovery program may be right for you. There are many treatment centers that offer non-12 step rehab programming.

Non 12 Step Rehab: Alternatives to 12 Step Programs for Addiction

There are many options and treatment approaches when it comes to non 12 step rehab programs. Some of the most popular treatment programs and support groups include:

Smart Recovery

SMART Recovery is an alternative to 12-step programs. It stands for “Self-Management and Recovery Training.” It is a science-based program designed to help individuals overcome addictive behaviors. The goal is to move on to a balanced, fulfilling life without drug abuse.

SMART Recovery is a secular treatment method that uses behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing techniques instead of a focus on spirituality. Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy are often used in SMART Recovery.

The SMART Recovery program has four main points of emphasis:

Building and Maintaining Motivation

Participants learn strategies to enhance motivation throughout their recovery journey.

Coping With Urges

SMART Recovery teaches how to manage cravings and urges. The emphasis is on self-control and developing healthy coping mechanisms.

Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors

The program focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns. It helps control emotions and behaviors that contribute to addictive behaviors. Participants learn strategies to develop healthier thought processes and emotional regulation.

Living a Balanced Life

SMART Recovery encourages setting goals, fostering healthy relationships, improving problem-solving abilities, and developing self-acceptance.

SMART Recovery meetings provide a supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences. The program is inclusive and adaptable. It caters to various types of addictive behaviors, including substance abuse, gambling addiction, eating disorder treatment, sex addiction treatment, and more.

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery program. Noah Levine created it to provide an alternative approach to traditional 12-step programs. It draws inspiration from Buddhist principles and practices.

Refuge Recovery follows four key principles:


Participants develop present-moment awareness through meditation. Awareness of negative thoughts and emotions helps identify where they come from.


The program emphasizes the importance of a supportive community. Meetings provide a safe space for individuals to share their struggles. This fosters connection and understanding.


Refuge Recovery recognizes addiction as a process of craving, suffering, and seeking relief. Identifying the root cause of addiction is the only way to treat it.


Ethical behavior is key in all aspects of life. The programs promote personal growth and positive relationships via values and ethics.

The foundations of Refuge Recovery are Buddhist, but the program invites people from all religions to attend.

Women for Sobriety (WFS)

a group of women get ready to enter a womens rehab program

Women for Sobriety is a nonprofit organization and self-help program for addiction recovery. It supports women on their journey toward sobriety. WFS offers an alternative approach to addiction recovery that focuses on empowering women to take control of their lives. They then can overcome their addictive behaviors.

The WFS program uses thirteen acceptance statements for recovery. These statements encourage self-empowerment and personal responsibility. Some of the core principles include acknowledging that “I have a life-threatening problem that once had me,” “Negative thoughts destroy only myself,” and “Happiness is a habit I am developing.”

WFS meetings provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment. Women can connect with others who understand their unique experiences and challenges. Women for Sobriety also offers other resources like online forums, literature, and an active online community.

Secular Organization for Sobriety (S.O.S)

The Secular Organization for Sobriety is a non-religious approach to addiction recovery. The goal was to create a supportive community for individuals in recovery that does not rely on religious or spiritual beliefs.

S.O.S embraces the principle of self-empowerment. It emphasizes personal responsibility and self-reliance in recovery. The program encourages individuals to take charge of their lives. Then they can make positive choices and develop tools to overcome addiction.

Meetings of S.O.S follow a format like other recovery support groups. Participants share their experiences with addiction. They are free to discuss challenges and successes. The emphasis is on providing a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

The guiding principles of S.O.S. follow a set of “Suggested Guidelines” that encourage personal growth. These guidelines include acknowledging one’s addiction, abstaining from addictive substances, taking responsibility for one’s actions, seeking support, and making positive life choices.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing Secular Recovery is a non-religious, peer-led support network. LifeRing offers an alternative to traditional 12-step programs by providing a secular and inclusive space for individuals seeking sobriety.

The primary focus of LifeRing is on:

  • Personal empowerment
  • Self-reliance
  • Developing a positive, sober lifestyle.

The program embraces the belief that individuals can overcome addiction. They have the power to create meaningful change in their lives through their own choices and effort.  Peers who have personal experience with addiction and recovery lead the meetings.

LifeRing follows three key principles:


LifeRing encourages abstinence from addictive substances and behaviors, focusing on the importance of maintaining a sober lifestyle.


The program is non-religious and welcomes individuals of all backgrounds and beliefs. It provides a space free from religious or spiritual elements, allowing participants to approach recovery from a secular perspective.


LifeRing emphasizes the power of peer support and the importance of building a strong sober network. It encourages individuals to connect with others, share their experiences, and seek help when needed.

LifeRing also promotes the use of tools and techniques to aid in holistic addiction treatment. These include setting and achieving personal goals, practicing self-reflection, and utilizing cognitive-behavioral strategies.

Are You Looking for Help?

woman and doctor discussing proper addiction treatment center

There are countless benefits to attending peer-based addiction programs. 12 step programs and their alternatives provide a system of support that can be a crucial element in recovery. Should non 12 step rehab programs not fit your needs, there are other substance abuse recovery options available, including rehab centers. Vogue Recovery Center offers a range of evidence-based, customized treatment plans and levels of care for a personalized approach to addiction treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment helps both addiction and mental health issues for those suffering from co-occurring disorders.

 Our levels of care include:

Recovery isn’t something to delay. If a traditional 12-step approach didn’t work for you, don’t get discouraged. Get help from clinicians who understand the problem and know how to treat it. Rehab centers offer everything you need to turn things around. Contact the team at Vogue today to verify your insurance and learn more about the admissions process and the many addiction treatment programs available.


Evan Gove

Evan Gove

Evan Gove is a writing and editing professional with ten years of experience. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. When not writing, you can find him enjoying his sunny hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.
Evan Gove

Latest posts by Evan Gove (see all)

Published by Evan Gove

Evan Gove is a writing and editing professional with ten years of experience. He graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges with a degree in Writing & Rhetoric. When not writing, you can find him enjoying his sunny hometown of Delray Beach, Florida.

Medically Reviewed by Kelsey Jones, MS, LPC