Are There Other Options When AA and NA Don’t Work?

Aside from AA and NA, there are many treatment options when it comes to battling addiction. Drug rehabilitation centers are available through different programs, and there are many peer support groups for those facing addiction. If drug rehab centers are not an option, many of these programs offer online components as well.

Non-12-Step Programs for Addiction Recovery

The following are some alternatives that may prove useful for individuals who find that 12-step programs don’t work for them:

Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), while not technically a single program, but instead a group of different programs that work independently from one another, is an organization that provides a non-spirituality-based recovery program to clients both in person and online. This organization is a great option for those looking to find sobriety through different means, rather than relinquishing control to a higher power. The SOS programs include drug rehab facilities and alcohol recovery programs, and they encourage clients to challenge their weaknesses, accept what they cannot change, and move on in their recovery.

Moderation Management

Moderation Management (MM) is a very different program when it’s compared to those used in traditional drug rehab facilities, as it does not require members to completely abstain from their addiction. Instead, they focus on helping to manage problem behaviors by helping members make positive changes within their lives. MM draws a distinction, in that unlike typical drug rehabilitation centers and alcohol recovery programs, this program is for those who abuse alcohol (as this is a behavior that can be changed), not for those who have alcohol dependence. MM does ask members to go through a 30-day abstinence period, during which they develop coping mechanisms, determine how to stay away from drinking if and when necessary, and how to be responsible with addictive substances.

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety (WFS) is a specially designed program, meant to support women’s treatment and their needs during the recovery process. Women for Sobriety groups meet all throughout the United States. During meetings, like at most drug rehab facilities, members are taught to identify self-destructive thoughts and actions, cope with any mental turmoil or negative behaviors caused by addiction, and eventually overcome their addiction. The program encourages the use of 13 acceptance statements by members. The statements are meant to be read in the morning, put into practice through the day, and reflected upon at night.


LifeRing (LR), a secular self-help group, has online programs and in-person meetings at drug rehab facilities throughout the United States. LR holds the belief that each person holds the key to their own recovery. They note the important difference between one’s “addicted self” and one’s “sober self.” Their work and treatments are designed to help enhance each person’s “sober self.” Programs also demonstrate different methods and examples of how to encourage the sober self’. LifeRing encourages peer support in their programs, similar to drug rehabilitation centers. Members will share and offer each other advice within the program. LifeRing also strives to help members move on from the past and instead focus on the present.

SMART Recovery

Smart Management and Recovery Training (SMART) focuses on a research-based program. All the methods and training used in the SMART model are scientifically supported. In-person meetings held at drug rehab centers and online meetings are available for SMART members. SMART programs focus on cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational enhancement therapy to help change previously self-destructive behavior exhibited by members. SMART Recovery is a 4-point program based on creating motivation to change, controlling urges, regulating thoughts and behaviors, and creating a balanced life. SMART Recovery practices are always changing as scientific research into addiction continues. SMART encourages individuals to take charge of their own recovery.

AA and NA programs don’t work in every person’s case. Alternative programs are available through drug rehab centers and oftentimes can be accessed online as well. It’s important to remember that even if AA or NA don’t work for everyone, there are always other options out there.