The type of addiction treatment that most people have heard of is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. It’s common to think of someone in recovery attending 12-step meetings, spending time with AA friends, and having regular meetings with their sponsor. However, AA is not the only path to addiction treatment. It’s certainly not the only path to healing.
There is nothing wrong with AA. In fact, it has facilitated sobriety in the lives of millions of people. However, anyone who is starting out in their recovery should know that recovery isn’t one-size fits all. You don’t necessarily have to attend AA’s 12-step programs to get sober. In fact, you don’t even necessarily need to jump right into sobriety. Programs like Moderation Management and Harm Reduction do not make sobriety their focus.
There is no right path to recovery. The only right path is the path that is right for you. In fact, many of the peer-driven models of recovery emphasize that a treatment plan be created by the person who needs it. Historically, a therapist or psychologist might make a treatment plan with strong recommendations. However, today, professionals typically involve the recovering addict into the decision-making process so that the recovery path is the right one for him or her.
And there are many options to choose from. Examples of different recovery paths include the following:
- Attending a residential in-patient treatment center.
- Regularly participating in an out-patient program that includes recovery groups 3-5 times per week.
- Meeting privately with a therapist in order to quit.
- Becoming a member of AA and following the 12-step program.
- Joining the Moderation Management community and learning how to manage drug use or drinking rather than completely taking it out of your life.
- Joining a religious or spiritual group as a means of quitting.
- Regularly practicing meditation or yoga in order to become more self aware and to stop making self-harming choices.
There are a variety of paths to choose from. And there is no right way. Depending upon your needs, circumstances, and desires, you’ll find that one of the paths (or a combination of) the paths mentioned above might work for you. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that no matter which path you choose, having a fellowship of recovery can significantly facilitate healing. In other words, surrounding yourself with others who are also in recovery or who have made the changes you want to make can ease the transition towards your life goals.
Furthermore, you might find that at some point in your recovery, it might be time to change the program you’ve been following. Perhaps you began with Harm Reduction, for instance. This is a program that aims to reduce the harm that drugs or alcohol might be producing in your life. It doesn’t aim for sobriety right away. However, perhaps, after a year of Harm Reduction, you might be ready to join AA and make sobriety the focus of your recovery. In other words, you’re free to make changes to the path you’ve chosen so that recovery works best for you, your health, and the well-being of those you love.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, he or she does not have to face it alone. Contact a mental health provider for assistance and find the path of recovery that will work best for you.
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