Is There Such a Thing as Non-12 Step Programs?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

12 step program

Many people seek out 12 step programs to help them develop a connection with a Higher Power and work through the steps leading them through recovery. While this has worked for many people, there are many others that are seeking a non-conventional approach to recovery because they do not wish to base their recovery on religious beliefs. With so many options available for group therapy and treatment, you can determine what works best for you. Non-12 step programs are available, and they are slightly different from traditional 12 step programs. Below are the key differences:

12 step programs:

  • Have a spiritual outlook, and address God as the Higher Power to rely on throughout recovery
  • Require participants to admit they are powerless over their addiction
  • Operate on a basis that those with addiction have moral concerns which can be rectified through the program
  • Focuses primarily on the addiction and less on any co-occurring mental illnesses

Non-12 step programs:


  • Build self-reliance and finding personal motivation to change, often based on the damaging effects the addiction has had on one’s life
  • Accepting personal responsibility for recovery and continuous sobriety without placing responsibility on a higher power
  • Establishing overall wellness and balance of life as well as peer support group meetings
  • Focuses on the whole being, including any co-occurring mental illnesses


The Huffington Post notes that non-12 step programs provide a secular, evidence-based, multifaceted approach that includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), pharmacotherapy, motivational enhancement therapy (MET), counseling services, family therapy, and more. These programs typically take a holistic, well-rounded and scientifically supported approach to recovery. As many people do not feel comfortable taking a religious route to recovery, a non-12 step program may be a good option.

As each person is different, explore your needs, interests, beliefs, and approach regarding recovery. What matters most is that the treatment you select provides you with everything you need to be successful in recovery.





If you are interested in non-12 step recovery programs, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu is a mental health and addiction recovery treatment center that provides both 12-step and non-12 step programs, as well as a variety of other modalities for treatment. Come and see what works best for you while obtaining the best care possible. Call us now for a consultation.

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