• For 24/7 Treatment Help Call:

    (800) 526-5053

  • Today, many different treatment programs exist for people struggling with drug addiction, alcohol addiction, illegal substance use, and other forms of substance use disorders (SUDs). Many treatment programs follow a traditional 12-step outline.

    However, the 12-step model may not be for everyone. Treatment options that are not based on this model have also found success, including drug rehab centers that use medication, behavioral therapy, and other methods to help patients recover.

    Should I Follow The 12-Step Approach?

    The 12-step recovery program was first seen in Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s. It recognizes substance abuse problems as legitimate health issues. 

    While the original plan had a spiritual emphasis on a higher power, its outlining of support groups can still be effective for people from all walks of life.

    Since then, other approaches to abuse and addiction recovery have been researched and developed. While the 12-step model can work for many people, it is not the only program that can be successful.

    Other forms of treatment may focus on areas a 12-step model does not. The 12-step program does not account for newer methods of abuse and addiction treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, medication assisted treatment (MAT), and other approaches to treatment.

    Types Of Non-12-Step Treatment Programs

    Modern medicine recognizes drug addiction as a serious, often crippling mental illness. It also recognizes the importance of a successful detox, where drugs or alcohol are safely flushed out of your system.

    Many people struggling with forms of addiction and chronic drug abuse may need a treatment plan for both their physical and mental health.

    Smart Recovery 

    SMART Recovery was developed as an alternative to the 12-step recovery program. It focuses on four points of recovery for people struggling with many forms of addiction, including traditional substances (like opioids and cocaine) and addictive behaviors (such as gambling).

    The four points of SMART recovery focus on finding motivation to quit, managing cravings, and maintaining long-term motivation to live a healthier life.

    Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

    Medication-assisted treatment uses approved medications to reduce the side effects of other medications. It is commonly seen in treatment for abuse of opioids, benzodiazepines, and other prescription drugs. 

    MAT may involve the substitution of an addictive substance for a less potent one. It may also involve gradually coming off of your medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms and other negative side effects.

    While all medications have risks, MAT has seen success as a modern treatment option for substance abuse.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a treatment method with a high amount of evidence behind it. CBT focuses on identifying attitudes and behaviors that may cause drug abuse, and teaching life skills or incentives for staying sober long-term.

    CBT takes many forms. Some forms follow a 12-step support program, while some do not. Many treatment centers offer CBT as a part of their recovery program.

    Holistic Treatment Options

    Holistic treatments do not involve medication. Instead, they focus on healing both the mind and body at the same time. Common holistic treatments include yoga, acupuncture, meditation, exercise, and changes to your diet.

    A holistic approach can teach you healthy lifestyle habits, mindfulness, and other coping skills. These skills may help make drug or alcohol abuse seem less appealing even after you have finished your treatment.

    Other Treatment Options

    Contemporary addiction treatment programs can also combine ideas from the 12-step plan with modern techniques. These plans may include individual therapy or counseling, a tapering schedule for your medication, group therapy sessions, wellness activities, and others.

    Intensive treatment programs often include a wide-variety of services. 

    Due to the number of treatments combined, and the delicate nature of the treatment process, a recovery center may recommend an inpatient treatment program for you. An inpatient stay can help you focus on your treatment.

    The wide range of 12-step and non-12-step treatment options for drug and alcohol rehab means that you may need to look into which options are best for you or your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about the best treatment available.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Alcoholics Anonymous - The Twelve Steps of AA - Alcoholics Anonymous
    National Centers for Biotechnology Information - Chapter 4 - Twelve-Step-Based Programs - Treatment of Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Preface
    SMART Recovery - Introduction to SMART Recovery

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on June 24, 2022
    Questions About Treatment?

    Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

    100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
    Prefer Texting?
    We've got you covered.

    Receive 24/7 text support right away.
    There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.


    For Immediate Treatment Help Call 800-526-5053