Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Alternative Addiction Recovery Programs

I worked very hard researching for this post and it took me a couple days to finish but as promised I'm ready to explain 2 of the different alternatives I had mentioned in my recent post We Need More Alternatives To 12 Step Programs. They were all great and different in their own way and I think that's important because we are all different. 
Options are important as I've mentioned in my other post because no one should be denied recovery.

 It would be a shame if someone were to be trapped in the never ending cycle of addiction just because they don't know about the alternatives or don't have the right program (for them) offered to them. I honestly believe that it took me way longer to get sober because the right program wasn't available to me. It would of been so much easier on me and saved a lot of time and heartache if I would of had something like SMART offered to me but I didn't so I had to do it the hard way without a program. 

We need to truly believe in the program we are working to recover, so forcing the wrong program on someone is pointless. Therefore, I hope by giving a brief description and my opinion on the programs will help others in search of recovery get an idea of what might work best for them and what else is out there. This is to help people find the right recovery program. 

I'll start with the SMART Recovery Program which stands for  Self-Management And Recovery Training. This program teaches us self-empowering tools based on scientific research to quit any addictive behaviors. You can find the power point Intro to SMART here. I love this program because its based on Self Empowerment which is something I fully believe in, and all that is needed is a want to stop the addictive behavior that is troubling you. 

None of that you need to abstain from everything, even sometimes your medication from your doctor. Its all about learning the coping skills necessary to address the thoughts and behaviors that lead to using. Theirs nothing religious about the program whatsoever, which makes me more comfortable with my recovery process.

 I like that this program isn't meant to be permanent because they believe people can fully recover so you can stay with the program only as long as you think you need it. SMART lets you build your own recovery with their tools like worksheets, power points and readings which are all based on their 4 point program. And they also have the support needed to help with your recovery thanks to the face-to-face meetings around the world, the daily online meetings, the online message board and the 24/7 chat room which are also all excellent places to learn about the program as well as getting support. SMART offers tools and techniques for each of the 4 points in the program:
  1. Building and Maintaining Motivation
  2. Coping with Urges
  3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors 
  4. Living a Balanced Life
I haven't been able to find the free version of the SMART handbook which talk about the 4 points so we have to pay for it at their bookstore but I know if I was an addict I wouldn't have the money to buy anything so I found other great material they offer such as articles and essays, forums and a blog. I found the blog was good for motivation and information on how to change. There is also more stuff once you register like the tool chest and the chat room

You can start pretty much with any tool in the tool chest since you create your own recovery with the help of the tools available but many people start by reading the power point for the Cost Benefit tool (CBA) with the cost and benefit worksheet. I also suggest reading the power points such as SMART ABC Tutorial and going to the forums and the chat rooms to get more information and support. I think this program is wonderful and the best for me so I'll probably try it out myself on my addictive habit of drinking caffeine. 

I love that their program works for any addictive behavior like smoking or caffeine. You only need to want to stop any one of your addictive behavior to join the program and you can do it all online, no need to leave home. Although I found it a little confusing at first not knowing exactly where to start. Hopefully this info will make it a little bit easier for you to get started. My finale advice is read all you can, it helps a great deal with motivation and the whole recovery process by giving you useful information.

Next is The Life Ring which is a none religious-secular recovery program that believes that addicts have a sober self  and an addict self who are in conflict with each other and can be easily influenced by other people's sober or addict self which is why meetings are so important. They say meetings empower your sober self so you have to keep attending meetings which means this program is meant to be permanent and can not be done completely online. Life Ring is based on their 3 "S" philosophy, Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help.

Sobriety: The basic membership requirement is a desire to remain abstinent from alcohol and “drugs.” They say: "Please look elsewhere for support if your intention is to keep drinking or using, but not so much, or to stop drinking but continue using, or stop using but continue drinking." Their motto is “we do not drink or use, no matter what.” 

Secularity: Life Ring Recovery welcomes people of all faiths and none.  You get to keep whatever religious beliefs you have, and you are under no pressure to acquire any if you don’t. Life Ring supports recovery methods that rely on human efforts rather than on divine intervention.

Self-Help: Self-help in Life Ring means that the key to recovery is the individual’s own motivation and effort. The main purpose of the group process (meetings) is to reinforce the individual’s own inner strivings to stay clean and sober. Life Ring is a permanent workshop where individuals can build their own Personal Recovery Plans.

The Life Ring book that you would really needed to buy so you can start using the program is the workbook called Recovery By Choice. This workbook provides a structure for the recovering person to build an abstinence based recovery plan that matches his or her particular problems and needs. Fortunately, they also have an area online called the Toolbox  with some information on the tools used to get sober that people have shared but there wasn't that much information there so you would indeed need the workbook. 

Thankfully, the Life Ring also have a BlogForums and Keepers which are stories of people using the Life Ring. They also provide Online Support such as chat rooms, Group Emails and a social network called Ning. The Life Ring also holds International Meetings which is great because face to face meetings is the most important tool for the Life Ring Recovery Program.

Hope this Helps 

PS: If I was misinformed about any of these recovery programs, please let me know, thanks