Looking for some additional recovery support? While 12-step support networks such as AA and NA are the most widely-known, it’s important to know that, just as with addiction treatment, you have choices when it comes to recovery support. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of self-empowering organizations that offer resources for mutual- and self-help support.
The Best Approach to Recovery
We strongly believe that the best approach to recovery is the one that works for you. You may find one of these organizations to be just what you need. Or, you may find the support you need through 12-step oriented groups. Maybe you’ll even decide to combine different approaches and customize your recovery support to fit your needs. Whatever you decide, remember it’s your journey – choose the path that’s best for you!
All of these non-profit organizations are active communities of recovery with websites, publications and face-to-face meetings in some locations. Several also have online meetings and active message boards. All support abstinence, with Moderation Management supporting both abstinence and moderation with alcohol.
LifeRing Secular Recovery, formally founded in 2001, has become an international source of support for people in recovery. Each member is encouraged to chart a recovery path, or a personal plan for recovery. The theme of meetings is “how was your week,” and members share their highs and lows of the past week, as well as goals for the upcoming week. “Crosstalk,” or open discussion, is encouraged and members are discouraged from sharing drinking/using stories, lending to a focus on recovery in the present. While meetings are a little more difficult to find than some of the other support groups, there is a large online community, offering online meetings, chat rooms, Yahoo groups, email lists and a bulletin board.
Moderation Management was started by Audrey Kishline in 1994 as a support solution for problem drinkers, in addition to those with more advanced dependency on alcohol. Aimed toward moderating drinking through behavioral changes, the organization has found approximately 30% of its members ultimately decide on abstinence. Whether looking to cut back and manage drinking, or abstain entirely, members appreciate support meetings in several countries and an online resource for support, literature and various recovery tools.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (S.O.S.)
Secular Organizations for Sobriety was founded in 1985 by James Christopher and designed as an alternative for recovering addicts who were uncomfortable with the religious approach of the 12-step programs. The second oldest of the secular support networks (next to WFS), members welcome the organization’s free thought approach and find support built on an evidence-based framework. Meetings operate based on the 3 S.O.S. precepts or rules: 1) they are secular, 2) they are self-help (vs. being professionally facilitated) and 3) they exist to help people achieve and maintain abstinence and provide a source of support. The S.O.S. website offers several resources, including meeting lists and literature.
SMART Recovery, co-founded by Dr. Tom Horvath and now an international organization, is an evidence-based alternative to 12-step recovery groups, with a focus on changing thinking and behavior to achieve sobriety. At the 30-Year SMART Recovery conference in 2014, U.S. Drug Czar Michael Boticelli hand-delivered a message from President Obama, commending the work of the organization and its dedication to providing support to people in recovery. You can find several free recovery resources on their website, as well as handbooks and other recovery-related merchandise in their online store. As the number of meetings continues to grow (there are over 30 in San Diego alone), SMART Recovery is becoming more accessible by the month. No meetings in your area? Or prefer not to attend a meeting in person? Check their website for a listing of online meetings!
Women for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety– Dr. Jean Kirkpatrick founded this nonprofit as a solution to the unique problems women faced in addiction and recovery. Not resonating with AA’s message, Dr. Kirkpatrick founded “New Life” (later renamed Women for Sobriety), a recovery program based on 13 principles of affirmation. With over 300 international groups, WFS continues, more than 40 years later, to provide an option for women in recovery. In addition to face-to-face meetings, WFS offers several resources, including online support, literature, an annual conference, and even a store on eBay!