Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), arguably the most famous alcohol recovery program, is based on a set of spiritual principles that provide tools for sober living.
While 12-step programs like A.A. Offer hope and recovery to many who are willing to accept the higher power of their understanding. For agnostics or atheists seeking sobriety, belief-based recovery systems are often an aversion.
For an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program to work, the person seeking sobriety must not feel alienated or uncomfortable with the beliefs or practices involved.
For example, prayer or overt religious messages can be enough to dissuade an atheist from returning to a treatment program – and because seeking sobriety is hard enough, that experience can be enough to make that person give up.
Fortunately, there are many different treatment options available to help you stop drinking or using drugs, and most of them have nothing to do with spirituality at all. In fact, there are many self-help and self-help groups that do not use the 12-step method or a spiritual approach to recovery.
Many people stop drinking and drug abuse by using medical, evidence-based, and therapeutic treatments on their own, such as detox treatment or pharmacological interventions...
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA) helpline at 1-800-662-4357 Information about support and treatment facilities in your area.
Additional mental health resources can be found in our National Helpline Database.
Alcohol and drug treatment facilities
There are thousands of alcohol and drug treatment centers and clinics in the United States that offer both outpatient and inpatient treatments for alcoholism and addiction.
Many institutions base their treatment on 12-step spiritual programs or incorporate the 12 steps into their programs, but there are also institutions that specifically do this do not Use the 12-step approach or belief-based methods...
Instead, these facilities and programs use cognitive behavioral therapy and other mundane, evidence-based addiction management methods...
To find out what type of method a facility is using, contact them by phone or through their website and ask if they use the 12-step approach. If a facility does not use a 12-step method it is usually stated on their websites.
You can find a treatment finder on the Drug Abuse and Mental Health Authority website. Rehabcenter.net also has an online directory of recovery programs and the option to search by state, and a free, confidential hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week that allows a counselor to refer a rehabilitation center to your needs meet.
For more information and resources on finding a quality alcohol treatment, see the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator.
Recovery support groups
Research has shown that people who try to quit get better results when they join a recovery or support group in their recovery program...
Alcoholics Anonymous are the most popular and easily available of these groups, but there are secular support groups that do not use the 12 Steps or religious or spiritual forms of support. These groups may not be active in all parts of the country, but most have online meetings and forums that you can attend for assistance.
- LifeRing: Worldly Restoration
- SMART recovery
- Rational restoration
- Women for sobriety
- Secular Sobriety Organizations (SOS)
It is important to note that just because many atheists and agnostics are not interested in the Alcoholics Anonymous program, it does not mean that, despite the spiritual foundations, not many have made recovery there.
There is a chapter in the book Anonymous alcoholics called “We Agnostics”, which explains how to approach the 12 steps without believing in a higher power. Many agnostics and atheists have had through the community and accountability aspects of A.A. without accepting a spiritual higher power.
When chronic or heavy drinkers or drug addicts try to quit, most withdrawal symptoms will occur. The symptoms of alcohol or drug withdrawal can be severe...
Detox treatment is aimed at reducing or eliminating symptoms as your body gets used to not having alcohol or drugs in your system during the “dehydration” phase...
Detox treatment usually involves taking sedatives to calm the shocks and using diet and vitamins to get your body back on a healthier path. This can be done on an outpatient or inpatient basis if symptoms of withdrawal are severe.
There is usually no spiritual or other counseling or other treatment available during the detox phase of recovery.
You may be able to stop using drugs or alcohol such as: B. Medication to help someone stay abstinent. Medication can reduce cravings, decrease the effects of drugs and alcohol, or just make you sick when you try to drink.
You must obtain a prescription for one of the FDA-approved drugs from your doctor or health care provider when using these treatment methods.
- Antabuse (disulfiram)
- Naltrexone (Revia or Vivitrol)
- Acamprosate (Campral)
No advice or other assistance is required unless you seek it out. However, there is research to suggest that participating in a mutual support group along with other treatment approaches leads to better outcomes...