What if a 12 step program doesn’t work for me?

If you are concerned that your recreational drug use is becoming a destructive or dangerous challenge, treatment is critical. Depending on your years of use, you may need to undergo monitored detox, in-patient treatment or out-patient treatment. However, many people are not comfortable with the idea of many of the most commonly used group therapy treatments.

What if a 12 step program doesn’t work for me? The fundamental tenets of a 12 step program include admitting powerlessness and a belief in a higher power. For many, these two tenets can make joining such a group an impossible choice. If you are the child of an addict, or if you have ever been in an abusive relationship, powerlessness is a hard pill to swallow. You’ve been powerless and are not going back. Additionally, many people have found themselves feeling judged or rejected by a religious group.

Powerlessness Can Be Hard to Accept

Many 12 step groups that meet in the community meet at churches. For addicts who have been fighting the addiction on their own, religious affiliation may have a negative history. For example, many children of addicts have grown up in want. If your non-addicted parent relied on the church for emotional support, they may have had little energy left over for you.

The addicted parent was not able to care for you. The end result for you was isolation and neglect. As an adult, you have two examples of adult behavior. You can either choose

  • addictive behaviors as a method of coping with stress
  • religious fixation as a place to get support

Seeing neither of these working for the adults in your life resulted in some pretty twisted life lessons. Living life in moderation is not an example you were exposed to and finding that balance can be incredibly challenging.

Personal Counseling May Be Helpful

If your behaviors have you concerned, are damaging your relationships, or are making it hard to meet your obligations, consider seeking personal counseling. A one on one relationship with a skilled drug counselor can help you manage the personal challenges that may be contributing to your addiction.

It should be noted that having an addicted parent doesn’t mean that you’ll become an addict. It does mean that you probably have some psychological scarring and struggle to find ways to make healthy choices. It may also mean that you tend to be rigidly controlling and struggle with all or nothing thinking. Finally, having an addicted parent can make it very hard to rely on others, particularly in a group volunteer session. Paying a private counselor can help.

Consider Other Group Therapies

Those who are religiously nervous can still find effective group options. If you have a strong personality that you earned by surviving some seriously nasty stuff, the idea of admitting to being powerless in any way will not serve you. Joining groups such as a SMART Recovery Group, or Self-Management and Recovery Training will give you the skills to start your personal detox and treatment without the psychological risk of the 12 step program.

A support group that tells you that you’re not alone is a huge bonus. Instead of focusing on accepting your own powerlessness, you can focus on the strength that you’ve earned through your life. You can also rely on the stories and strength of others in your group.

For those who are extremely private, or who are fighting an opioid addiction, Medication Assisted Therapy may be the best choice. If the idea of voluntarily attending any type of meeting has no appeal for you, pairing private counseling and medication can make the anguish of weaning yourself off drugs and alcohol can make the process easier to manage. This form of treatment may require an in-person detox to be as safe as possible.

However, one the medication routine is established and you’re moving forward with your private therapy, you may be able to manage the medications on an out-patient basis. If you’ve been to a 12 step meeting and felt uncomfortable, unwelcome or isolated, you’re not alone. Just because 12 step doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean you can’t find a program that can help you.

Looking for SMART recovery meetings if the idea of a group meeting interests you. If never going to a meeting appeals, discuss your desires with a private counselor. Finally, if the religion thing isn’t your thing, you can still find help. Ready to get started? Call us today at 844-639-8371.

Scroll to Top