Non-AA Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most widespread alcoholic support groups with over 97,000 groups worldwide. Still, there are those who do not necessarily agree with the program and are unable to derive support from. With an emphasis on spirituality and the powerlessness of the addict, AA is suitable for particular kinds of individuals. That being said, it has still helped countless numbers of alcoholics to break free from addiction. Those searching for an alternative can find assistance with their alcoholism from the following support groups which offer a different method of recovery than the traditional 12-step program.

SMART Recovery

Standing for Self Management and Recovery Training, SMART Recovery focuses on empowering participants to abstain from drinking and create a more positive lifestyle. Through the latest scientific research, this US-based program gives an individual the chance to learn a number of recovery tools within a friendly, supportive community. It focuses on four main areas to assist members in returning to a normal lifestyle:

* Developing and Maintaining Motivation
* Dealing with Temptation
* Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behavior
* Living a Balanced Lifestyle

The program itself looks at addiction as both a physical and a mental disorder and condones the use of the appropriate medication and psychological treatment to promote an easier recovery. SMART also looks at empowering the individual, giving them the tools that they need to battle addiction on their own, and break free from its bonds. Because its methods are scientific, the program has been endorsed by a number of national organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Women for Sobriety

As the USA’s first national program specifically designed for women alcoholics, Women for Sobriety (WFS) aims to promote a healthier lifestyle and a balanced spiritual and emotional outlook for those who are struggling to break free from addiction. In 1976, the program was formed by Jean Kirkpatrick, a recovering female alcoholic. It aims to deal with the many issues that women have when it comes to excessive drinking or a dependency on alcohol. Like AA, it follows a specific set of rules to assist the recovering alcoholic reach her optimal lifestyle with ease. Unlike AA though, they never mention a higher power. Rather, they aim to convince an individual that she is in control of her life and has the ability to free herself from alcoholism with the support of the group plus her own internal motivation. The program is also an international one and self-help groups can be found around the world. As well as being used within support groups, it can also be utilized in hospitals, clinics and rehabilitation centers.

Rational Recovery

While most alcohol support programs focus on providing a softer approach to battle addiction, Rational Recovery takes a no-nonsense attitude that an individual must quit their excessive drinking or be forced to lose everything that they hold dear. Created by Jack and Lois Trimpey in 1986, the program is founded on a belief that programs, such as AA, and more clinical treatment methods, such as rehab centers, are both scientifically and spiritually incorrect. The site offers a step-by-step set of instructions as to how to implement their program within the home, giving the addict an ultimatum that it is time to stop their dangerous ways. For those who are feeling the pressure of living with an alcoholic, this program may actually seem appealing as it offers a strict, almost cold-hearted way of telling an individual that enough is enough. Rational Recovery will not be suitable to those searching for a more friendly approach of dealing with addiction, however, as it tends to view alcoholism as an indulgent behavior which can only be made worse by programs such as AA or clinical rehabilitation.


One of the largest drug and alcohol treatment charities in the UK, Addaction provides support to the individual who is struggling with addiction as well as family members and friends who may also be affected. The organization runs a number of campaigns around the country, including Aspire (aimed at providing young addicts with the support that they need) and Breaking the Cycle (for parents who find themselves dependent on alcohol). With over 120 projects being run around England and Scotland, as well as a variety of treatment programs, Addaction seems to offer enough choice so that addicts can then find the help that they need to free themselves from the shackles of addiction. The society itself offers a range of other services as well, including:

* Advice on property and finances
* One-on-one counseling sessions
* Expert health advice
* Needle exchange programs
* Family support
* Peer group discussions
* Residential rehabilitation

Through these offerings, Addaction can provide flexible treatment which is designed to aid in addiction recovery in the best possible manner. Rather than trying to fit patients in with a specific program, they instead design the therapy around what that individual requires. The focus here is on supporting an addict as they attempt to return to a normal lifestyle.


Started in 1984 in the UK, Adfam was created to provide support to those who are suffering due to a family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Since then, the foundations have been laid so that the right sorts of skills and techniques can be taught to those who wish to help their children, parents or relatives recover from substance abuse. The program covers methods of dealing with anger, betrayal, guilt and other negative emotions commonly felt by those close to drug and alcohol addicts. In this way, Adfam provides the necessary knowledge and advice to those who need it and thus gives the addict a better chance of regaining a normal life. Statistics have shown that those abusing drugs or alcohol are more likely to reach a full recovery when they have their family and friends completely behind them during the treatment process. In particular, Adfam’s Bouncing Back! program is designed to develop good practice within the family unit, encouraging participants to communicate about the problem and try out a number of different approaches to dealing with drug and alcohol addiction within the home.

Alternatives to AA-type Programs

Around the world, there are plenty of options when it comes to recovering from addiction and receiving the right level of support. From traditional 12-step programs to clinical treatment centers, there is a wide variety out there when it comes to professional addiction assistance. This means that anyone can find a suitable rehabilitation facility and support group which fits in with their beliefs, needs and desires. Thus, the path to recovery is there for anyone. All it will take is to contact the right sort of organization and find out how to enter into their particular variety of treatment and support program. The correct choice will then allow the addict to receive an appropriate level of clinical, psychological and emotional assistance to help them reach a normal lifestyle and maintain it from now into the future.]]>