So you need a recovery solution without attending AA or NA meetings, huh?
This is not an unrealistic goal to have and there are a lot of reasons why an addict or alcoholic might want to achieve “independent recovery.” For example, many people who are struggling to change their lives are:
* Not willing to attend meetings for fear of a religious or spiritual agenda.
* Not willing to go to meetings out of social anxiety.
* Have limited access to 12 step meetings or groups.
* Have had a bad experience in a 12 step group before (such as being sexually manipulated, etc.).
And so on. AA and NA is clearly not for everyone, but that does not mean that there is no hope that you can recover.
Note that some people in these 12 step programs are terrified of relapse and they project this fear onto others (those who may find an alternative route). In fact, they see people who recover outside of the fellowship as a threat to their own recovery! Stay away from such people and focus instead on positive action.
So what is the proper solution for recovery when forgoing these 12 step programs? What is the big secret to recovery? What actions can you take that will produce success?
Let’s break it down to the basics. I know this process works because, one, I did it myself, and two, I see it working for others in recovery, and three, it sort of mirrors what most people in 12 step programs end up doing anyway.
So it is easy to complicate this process, but we will try to strip it down to the essentials here.
This is how to recover, with or without a 12 step program:
* Surrender to your disease and stop fighting it. Stop fighting for control. Admit to yourself that complete abstinence makes the most sense for you. Admit that you cannot control your drug or alcohol use and have fun with it at the same time. For you, it is one or the other. Fun and out of control, or not fun at all. You have no in-between because you are an addict or an alcoholic. This “surrender” idea is fairly universal….doesn’t matter what program of recovery you are using. You gotta accept that you cannot control it any longer if you are going to overcome it.
* Get detoxed physically. I recommend that people go to inpatient detox and residential treatment for this.
* If group therapy, 12 step meetings, counseling, or outpatient therapy helps you to stay clean and sober in early recovery, then by all means, use those resources. They are not necessary for everyone, and they do not work for everyone. But they might help you. If they do, use them!
* As you stay clean and sober for longer in recovery, the real test begins. Now you must learn how to live the rest of your life clean and sober. This is where most “programs” fall short, because they keep you stuck in the tactics that are designed to keep people sober when they first get clean. No, at this point, you need personal growth.
Your long term sobriety depends on your ability to push yourself to grow as a person.
Think about that. This is true whether you go to AA or NA or just do your own thing.
Twelve step programs might help you, but they don’t actually motivate you to do the work…..the work that is necessary to maintain sobriety. And this work is never ending. People get complacent and relapse after 5, 10, 20 years in recovery.
You have to keep pushing yourself to learn and to grow so that you do not fall victim to relapse.