Types of Alternative Alcohol Rehabs

Types of Alternative Alcohol Rehabs


What is alternative alcohol rehab?  How does it differ from traditional alcohol treatment?

Traditional rehab generally consists of detox and residential treatment.  By the numbers, most rehabs are 12 step based.  That means they rely heavily on the 12 step program for the model that they teach and as a method of recovery.

For a variety of reasons, many people want alternatives to this traditional approach.  There are a couple of possibilities for this:

1) They have tried 12 step programs in the past and failed to stay sober with them (remember the definition of insanity?  Try something different if you want different results!).

2) They have social anxiety and do not do well in a group setting.

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3) They believe other methods of recovery will work better for them.

And so on.  Some people just want alternatives to the usual treatment model and that is just fine.  To be honest, if you take a hard look at the numbers, traditional treatment models don’t fare so well anyway.  Success rates have never been anything to brag about and in most cases the numbers are downright scary.  It is probably nothing worth arguing in detail, but let’s just say that seeking out different forms of treatment is probably a good thing, especially if an alcoholic has typically struggled to stay sober with the traditional methods.

So, what are some alternatives to 12 step based alcohol rehab?  Many of the ideas below can be combined to form an overall strategy for recovery.  There is no one right path to sobriety.

1) Religious based programs – there are treatment models out there that are strictly religious based, and they work for some people.  Obviously, these are not for everyone, but they have definitely worked for some.

2) Outpatient treatment – showing up for outpatient classes every day might be the type of support that certain alcoholics need in their life.  You can also form support groups this way based on your peers in treatment with you.

3) Therapy or counseling – some people avoid groups and do better one-on-one.  Having a therapist guide you through early recovery has worked for some people, but again…it is not for everyone.

4) Fitness and nutrition based programs – there are actually alcohol treatment programs that are based exclusively on good nutrition and fitness as a model for recovery.  Definitely will not work for every alcoholic but sometimes you need to think outside the box, and there are people who are enjoying an awesome recovery based on this treatment model.  It certainly differs quite a bit from traditional recovery models and challenges us to think about what we might be overlooking in our own recovery.

5) Holistic approach – This is primarily what I advocate for recovery.

* Try many different approaches to recovery and keep what works.
* Push yourself to grow as a person in many different ways.
* Find unique ways to reach out and help others in recovery.
* Push yourself towards better health on multiple levels.  Consider fitness, nutrition, quitting smoking, etc.
* Create the life you really want by setting goals and living with purpose.

So you don’t necessarily need to find an alternative treatment center….you just need an open mind about recovery and a willingness to pursue a holistic model of health as you stay sober.  If 12 step recovery works for you then that is awesome and you should take advantage of that model and incorporate it into your life.  If it does not help you so much then you need to find other ways to recover.  Basically, you need help, and you need to help others.  Without those two elements you are flying blind in recovery and really don’t have a program at all.


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