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Sometimes a single brand comes to be associated with a whole category of products or services.

For example, when it comes to internet searches, most of us immediately think of Google—so much so that the word has been used as a verb since at least a 2002 episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In other cases, there might be a clear leader in a category. Take fast food, for instance. There’s a good chance that if someone asked you to name the most iconic of the fast food restaurants, you would name the place with the golden arches. (The fact that we could write “golden arches” and you immediately knew what we meant is further proof of this.)

But that particular fast-food restaurant is, of course, just one among many. And while it is many people’s favorite place to get a quick burger and fries, it might not be your favorite. Maybe you regularly pull into the drive-thru line of one of the numerous competitors out there. (Given how important good nutrition is to sobriety, we might suggest that you keep those fast food runs to a minimum.)

What is true of fast food restaurants is arguably true of recovery programs as well. There’s a good chance that if someone asked you to name the most iconic of the substance use disorder recovery programs, you would name Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alcoholics Anonymous (and the related program known as Narcotics Anonymous) is easily the best-known mutual aid group for people in recovery. And for many people, it is an excellent fit. However it is not necessarily the right choice for every person seeking support for their ongoing sobriety. (If you would like to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step approach to recovery, we offer more information here.)

Fortunately, in the recovery space—just as in the fast food space—there are a number of options out there for you to try if AA turns out not to be for you. Let’s highlight a few.

Secular Recovery Programs

Some folks feel uncomfortable with Alcoholics Anonymous because the 12-Steps include quite a number of references to God. For example, the 11th step is:

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

If you are not a religious person, that sort of framing may not be comfortable or helpful for you. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) and the related organization known as LifeRing Secular Recovery offer an alternative. These programs focus on personal responsibility, self-reliance, and ensuring that sobriety remains an individual’s first priority. 

Religious Recovery Programs

Maybe the references to God in the 12-Steps are not too specific for you. Perhaps they are not specific enough. If that is the case, you might be looking for a recovery program that is more explicitly connected to one religion or another. 

Celebrate Recovery, for example, leans into Christianity with its own take on the 12 Steps that connects them to specific Bible passages. Alternatively, practicing Buddhists (or even those who engage with some Buddhist-inspired practices like mindfulness) may find Refuge Recovery to be a good fit.

A Therapy Based Recovery Program

SMART Recovery (SMART stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training) is grounded in a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) known as rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). The idea is that thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to actions—and a better understanding of that chain of causation can lead to more positive outcomes. Those positive outcomes can include ongoing sobriety.

This program might be an excellent choice for someone who has found therapy like CBT to be effective in helping them maintain their sobriety and improve their mental health. If therapy is working well for you, there is a good argument to be made that you should stick with it in your choice of a recovery program.

An Affirmation-Based Recovery Program for Women

Women for Sobriety encourages spiritual and emotional growth as well as a commitment to physical health and personal responsibility. The program also encourages active problem-solving. At the heart of the program is the process of replacing negative self-talk with self-affirmation. Often, our inner voice is our biggest critic. Women for Sobriety encourages you to work toward making that inner voice your biggest cheerleader.

The Very First Step Toward Recovery Is Getting Help

At French Creek Recovery Center in Meadville, PA, we will help you get sober and give you the tools to support your work to stay sober. We offer personalized care grounded in evidence-based practices, expertise, and experience. We are also committed to care that is delivered with empathy—that is, we see you as the individual you are, and we know you are worthy of respect.

When you are ready to get your recovery started, we are ready to help you get on—and stay on—the path to lasting sobriety.