What is the best form of addiction support when you are trying to stop taking drugs or alcohol? Are 12 step meetings the best support you can find? Are there alternatives?
If you need support for addiction, then you should probably start with 12 step meetings. There are various reasons for this:
1) They are free.
2) They are widespread and available almost everywhere.
3) They are effective for a basic level of support in recovery.
4) They are universal (i.e., you know what to expect there).
Of course AA and NA meetings do not work for everyone, and many people who have tried them have simply moved on to other solutions. But if you are in need of immediate support regarding addiction, then you could do a lot worse than a 12 step meeting.
There are alternatives to the 12 step program out there but they are very, very hard to find. For the most part it is not worth it, in my opinion, to seek out alternative support groups. Set your differences aside and attend a 12 step meeting. You can usually find what you are looking for there. If not, pull someone aside after the meeting and talk with them privately.
Alternative therapies and programs are not widespread and they are so small as to be almost useless. These types of recovery groups and self help programs are all pretty much alike, in the basic sense that none of them has an advantage over the others. There is no magic program out there that is somehow miraculously better than AA and NA. Recovery groups are about the people in them and the interaction, not about the program itself and the actual mechanics of sobriety.
In other words, any type of recovery support is sufficient, because it is all basically the same. 12 step programs are the default because they are easy to access and they are everywhere. Take advantage of what is there and use it to help you.
So this type of support being discussed is particularly useful in early recovery. But what about long term sobriety? What type of support is needed then?
The best support in long term sobriety are clean and sober friends and healthy family members. If you build a sufficient network of people, then the need for self help groups diminishes greatly.
It is important to have some support in long term sobriety that is in recovery. Not all of your support system has to be, but at least some of it should be. The need to relate to other addicts is very real.