There are many ways to establish ongoing support in recovery from addiction. This variety of addiction recovery is welcomed — the diversity addresses the diverse needs of recovering addicts. I just attended this past weekend the International Conference of Alcoholics Anonymous held in Atlanta, Ga. There were approximately 61,000 registered attendees and no telling how many there who didn’t register but wandered the World Congress Center amazed at the multi-national, multi-cultural crowd. AA is still the largest recovery support group by far. Approximately 80 nations were represented at the International Conference.
However, even the 12 steps of AA have morphed and branched out to many other recovery support offerings, such as Beyond Belief Agnostics, Humanist 12 Step groups, Realistic Recovery 12 Steps, Buddhist’s Non-Theist 12 Steps, and so on. Secularism is on the rise, so recovery support groups have to adjust to the changes if they don’t want to exclude any recovering addict seeking support.
Some recovery support efforts are outside the realm of the 12 Steps altogether, like Rational Recovery. William White and Ernest Kurtz have written extensively on addiction and recovery — this is from Varieties of Recovery Experiences:
Secular recovery is a style of recovery that does not involve reliance on any religious or spiritual ideas (God or Higher Power), experiences (conversion), or rituals (prayer). Secular recovery rests on the belief in the ability of each individual to rationally direct his or her own self-change processes. Secular recovery groups view the roots of addiction more in terms of irrational beliefs about oneself and the world and ineffective coping strategies than in terms of biology, morality, character, or sin. Secular frameworks of recovery such as Secular Organization for Sobriety and LifeRing Secular Recovery reinforce the “Big Decision” or “Sobriety Priority” (“not using no matter what”) through a variety of cognitive and behavioral self-change techniques. Where spiritual and religious frameworks of recovery involve a transcendence of self, secular frameworks of recovery involve an assertion of self (White & Nicolaus, 2005). Where spiritual frameworks of recovery emphasize wisdom (emphasis on experience, search for meaning, freedom rooted in the acceptance of limitation, self-transcendence by connection to a greater whole, strength flowing from limitation), secular frameworks of recovery emphasize knowledge (emphasis on scientific evidence, an assertion of control, self-mastery through knowledge of self and knowledge of one’s problem, and strength flowing from personal competence).
Who’s to say which is best — as we know people are different and their recoveries from addiction will be different. All forms of recovery should be celebrated whether we believe in their philosophies or not. If it works it works.