In order for people to successfully recover from an addiction it will be necessary for them to find a path that works for them. Unfortunately the one size fits all approach to recovery has proved to be unsuccessful, and this is why there are now different options available to people. If they choose something that is not really suitable for their needs it will hinder their progress, and may even cause them to relapse. By choosing the most appropriate option the individual will be increasing their chances of success. One of the things that people may want to consider is whether they prefer a spiritual or more secular approach to recovery.
The reasons why finding the right recovery path is important include:
* If the individual is reluctantly following a program it will mean that they are not fully committed to it. This is dangerous because in order for people to successfully break away from addiction they need to be 100% committed.
* The person may only have one opportunity to get sober so it is vital to make the most out of this opportunity. This means choosing the program that is most likely to work for them.
* If the individual feels that they are pushed into a program that does not suit them they might actively sabotage their own efforts.
* The individual will not be getting the skills and knowledge they need in order to build a successful life away from alcohol and drugs.
* This path needs to be something that the individual will be able to follow for the rest of their life.
* Not only will the wrong program lead to failure, but it could also convince the individual that recovery is just not for them. They will use their experience with one option to dismiss all the possible options.
Some people do benefit from choosing a recovery option that is spiritually based. The reasons for why this can be a good choice for them includes:
* Those individuals who are spiritually inclined will find that these beliefs can give them meaning and purpose in their new life. This can be important as a replacement to alcohol or drugs which will previously have been the main focus in the person’s life.
* By following a spiritual path people may be able to overcome some of the character flaws that drove them into substance abuse in the first place. All spiritual paths involve at least some personal development.
* Spirituality can be a great source of comfort during those times when things are going wrong. This may mean that the individual will be better able to deal with stress and therefore less likely to suffer from stress related illness.
* Most of these paths will encourage contemplative exercises such as meditation and prayer – these are tools that can greatly benefit people in recovery. Of course it is also possible for non believers to practice meditation as well.
* Spiritual communities can be a good source of emotional support.
While it is true that a spiritual program can benefit some people it is certainly not a requirement for sobriety. Many people manage to walk away from addiction without any such beliefs or practices, and they can go on to live just as fulfilling a life. Luckily these days there are many resources available to those who choose a secular approach to sobriety. It seems that the key to a successful recovery are finding something that works and staying committed – without these things the individual is likely to relapse no matter which path they take.
12 Step groups have managed to become the most successful community based addiction recovery option. While this organization is not affiliated with any particular religious denomination there is no doubting that it has been strongly influenced by Christianity. This is hardly surprising as the program is based on the teachings of the Oxford Group. It is possible for people of any spiritual tradition to work the 12 steps, but there is the expectation that the individual will look to a higher power for help. Some non believers manage to get around this by making their higher power the universe or the power of the group. Other secularists are put off the program completely because of these religious undertones.
There are a number of reasons for why people might choose a non religious recovery option such as:
* The individual has no real spiritual convictions, and they prefer a more secular approach to recovery.
* The person may want to keep their spiritual life and their recovery from addiction separate. This could be the case if the person already feels that this aspect of their life is being well catered for.
* Some people will have tried spiritual approaches in the past and not had good results. This time they may prefer something that is more scientific based.
* There is a specific program that the individual wants to try, and this is a non religious based approach.
* Those who consider themselves to be atheist or agnostic might struggle to make headway with a spiritual option where there was an emphasis on God.
The popularity of the 12 Steps format has mean that many rehabs in the US, and other western countries, have based their programs on this approach. This can mean that in some areas where there are only 12 Step rehabs. If the individual requires state funded rehab it may mean that this is the only program available to them. This is because resources in some states will be too stretched to give people a choice of faculty. Those who can afford to pay for their own treatment will have far more choice and they should have no problem finding a non religious option. Some of the most successful facilities now base their treatment on evidence based practices such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
There are plenty of resources available for people who prefer a non religious approach to recovery including:
SMART Recovery is a support group that offers a secular approach to recovery. This system tries to make use of all the latest scientific discoveries and the program includes motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy. This fellowship has meetings in most cities across the US, and they also offer online meetings and activities.
Rational Recovery likes to describe itself as the antithesis of the 12 Step approach. Not only do they not believe that spirituality is necessary for recovery, but they also do not advocate recovery meetings. This is because this approach emphasizes the idea that once people are sober they are cured – there is therefore no need for them to continue with any type of treatment. In fact they believe that membership of an addiction fellowship may even be harmful because it convinces the individual that they still have a problem.
* The We Quit Drinking is not aimed directly at non secular recovery, but it welcomes people who are interested in any approach to recovery. If something works for the individual then that is all that matters.
* The Sober Recovery Forumis another online community where different options can be discussed. It is possible to get help here for drug and alcohol problems.
* The Reddit Community tends to attract mostly people who hold a secular worldview. They have a subreddit called stop drinking and many of the members advocate less spiritual approaches to addiction recovery.
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