Most everyone is familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous and its inclusion of a higher power. However, you don’t have to rely upon God or religion in order to free yourself from addiction. There are other sober communities that you can join that focus on a rational, secular path to non-religious addiction recovery. This article will review two of these options, but there are more than the two described here. In fact, you might find non-religious addiction recovery options that address your unique needs, such as Women for Sobriety, a group that addresses the needs of women in recovery.
If you are looking for a way to recover from addiction that leaves religion out, consider the following two options:
LifeRing Secular Recovery (LifeRing or LSR)
LifeRing is similar to the Alcoholics Anonymous in that it is run by its members. There are no “experts” in the room. The LifeRing philosophy is based upon the three principles. These are sobriety, secularity, and self-empowerment. With this in mind, LifeRing members are encouraged to strengthen their sober self and weaken their addict self by focusing on their current lives rather than the hurts and painful experiences of the past.
LifeRing emphasizes to its members that they should experiment with a variety of approaches to maintaining abstinence. Members are also encouraged to incorporate ideas from other recovery methods. Another point about LifeRing to note is its view on relapse. This group doesn’t see relapse as a life failure. Instead, once a relapse takes place, men and women are strongly advised to see that relapse as a learning experience. It’s a time to recommit to their sobriety. It’s a time to review their recovery and explore any needs that weren’t getting met.
LifeRing is also a program that can serve those who are in relationship with someone who is an addict or alcoholic. Similar to Al-Anon, LifeRing supports those whose loved one is an addict. It provides local support groups for men and women learning how to live with and love someone struggling with an addiction.
Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery
SMART Recovery is secular and scientifically based. It uses non-confrontational yet motivational methods which strive to change behavior as well as unhealthy thoughts of those who are still using drugs and alcohol. SMART Recovery has in-person meetings around the world, online daily meeting, and a forum for people to meet anytime and from anywhere.
Those who attend SMART Recovery meetings, whether online or in person, learn recovery methods that have been used in evidence-based addiction treatments. Evidence-based practices are those that are based upon research and have been proven to be successful in treating addictions to drugs, alcohol, and behavioral addictions. For instance, SMART Recovery uses therapies such as Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which have all been success in creating change in clients.
SMART Recovery emphasizes four points in the process of recovery: Building Motivation, Coping with Urges, Problem Solving, and Lifestyle Balance. These are used in combination with the evidence-based types of therapy mentioned above.
LifeRing and SMART Recovery are two recovery options that leave religion out of the equation. If this is your preference, these and other options are available for you.