When we opened our practice we were able to secure the domain www.non12step.com because, while the term “non 12 step” was becoming common, the provision of real services based on research, as an alternative to AA, was not. Virtually all other treatment for alcohol related problems was based on AA and the 12 Steps and “just say no”.
Of course programs based on the Steps and AA have about the same success rate that you can have by joining AA, 3%-5%. Success in AA and in following the 12 Steps depends on things like your emotional and psychological maturity, religious preferences, and comfort with joining a cultish group. Obviously, smart, sensitive, competent, creative, and independent adults won’t find AA helpful – quite the contrary.
Still, “non 12 step” says what we aren’t while telling nothing about what we do (more about what we do below). As you have probably discovered, there are now numerous programs which describe themselves as non 12 step without saying what they have to offer instead. After all, if an alternative to AA is going to be effective for you, what is it and why is it going to be better than doing nothing or trying to work it out on your own, is important.
Again, if you Google “non 12 step” you will find more offerings these days than ever before – though you may have trouble figuring out what they’re based on. For example, there are programs based in Atlanta that seem to be based on steps, just different ones, and programs in Arizona that appear to be based on merely replacing one drug – alcohol, with a number of prescription drugs. Programs in Malibu advertise the magic of their location and luxury and seem to think personality cults will do the trick if you have enough cash – up to $200,000!
In review, whether you opt for the traditional 12 step/AA approach and abject failure, or a “non 12 step” regimen with equally dubious tenants and outcomes, you really need to carefully consider what it is you are paying for and what outcomes you are looking to achieve.
With that in mind, we like to point out that what we offer you is the best of what research says works for otherwise successful adults who are having trouble giving up alcohol abuse.
Notice that the first difference between our work with you, and the starting point others assume, is that we start from the premise that you are abusing alcohol, not alcohol dependent, which is the case for 85% of the people seeking help with their misuse of alcohol, according to the New Perspectives Conference presenters in Nanaimo, British Columbia in the fall of 2009.
That’s right – we, and a few other quality non 12 step programs, differentiate between alcohol abuse and alcoholism and we design our work with you to treat the actual condition, not some made up “disease.”
(See: Alcohol Abuse, Alcoholism, and 12 Step Programs That Can’t Tell the Difference).
Programs that can’t be bothered to assess you accurately can hardly be expected to treat you appropriately, but when they’re only pushing one agenda, regardless of your personal situation and condition, you can be sure that whatever “glove” or “shoe” they’re selling isn’t going to fit very comfortably or serve you very well.
Of course when you ask, they won’t tell you what they actually offer. Dr. Barnes discovered this for herself many years ago when she was delegated by her family to find help for her brother and discovered that real information, as with real help, simply wasn’t available.
(See: Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Sent My Brother Off To Rehab)
But this isn’t the case anymore – at least not if you’re working with us. At Non 12 Step, we’re quite clear about what we do which includes nearly all of the things that research shows actually work. These would include, individual short term counseling; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT); Motivational Interviewing; Naltrexone; and other components which DO NOT include AA, the 12 Steps, or residential “rehab.”
(See: Ending Alcohol Abuse: What Works)
Again, it’s very hard to make good decisions when you are in crisis, perhaps impaired, and bombarded by people and programs indoctrinated by the pervasive AA/12 Step mythology. But if you are going to succeed, you are going to need to cling to what does work – and all of that makes far more sense than the “powerless” and “progressive disease” model.
After all, what will allow you to emerge from your period of alcohol abuse, even alcohol dependence and alcoholism, won’t be endless meetings, tokens, chants, and slogans, but will instead be getting an actual life.
That’s right – you will not just survive, but thrive, by building a better life, not by shrinking into a bottle or a cult, but by embracing the best life you can have, not hiding in the company of the lost.