MANY PATHWAYS TO RECOVERY
Hope is real. Recovery is real. That is the theme for Recovery Month 2023. Recovery from addiction (and other issues) comes in all shapes and sizes. And the paths to get there are as numerous and varied as the roads to perdition that force some of us to confront our addictive behaviors. At LCL we meet our clients where they are and can help explore paths to recovery that meet our client’s needs and that leads them to better physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the most common and effective recovery programs. It is certainly the most widely known and has been around for a long time. But AA is not the only path to sobriety, and it may not actually work for some. Many people seeking recovery balk at the “spirituality” component of the program and some of the perceived religious overtones in some of the AA literature (a person can be “spiritual” without any religious affiliation or belief, but that is a topic for another blog). Still others have issues with the “powerlessness” aspect. Sometimes, with the help of a caring and informed sponsor, a person can work through these concerns. Sometimes, however, these and other elements of the AA program present real and insurmountable obstacles to success.
There are effective alternatives to AA that have been developed based on addiction research and developing thinking on behavioral change. One study found that some of the alternatives (Women for Sobriety, LifeRing, and SMART Recovery) were as effective as AA in producing beneficial recovery. The key elements the study found to be predictive for success were (1) a desire to remain abstinent, and (2) active involvement in the chosen self-help group (which included some or all of the following: (a) regular meeting attendance, (b) having a regular home group, (c) having a close friend or “sponsor” in the group, (d) leading, convening, or facilitating meetings, and (e) doing volunteer or service work).
These findings highlight that the availability of fellowship and service work opportunities are important in getting and staying sober. While additional research is needed on the programs providing these opportunities, it is encouraging to know that there are alternatives out there that can meet an individual’s recovery needs without exposing them to triggers that may threaten that same recovery.
LCL can help with addictions and other mental health issues of all kinds, not just substances. She Recovers, an alternative recovery program for women, says that “we are all recovering from something, and you don’t have to recover alone.”
If you are concerned about yourself, a colleague, or someone close to you, call us. LCL can help.