Twelve step programs for substance abuse can be effective for people who are trying to deal with this type of addiction, but they are not the only treatment option available. Non 12-step substance abuse programs can also be effective for people who want to stop using drugs and/or alcohol.


Non 12-step substance abuse programs work with people who seek treatment voluntarily, as well as those who are directed to undergo court ordered addiction treatment. For those people who don't have alcohol and drug treatment insurance coverage, some treatment facilities offer a sliding payment scale or a payment plan.

Approach to Treatment

Each treatment facility has its own approach to treatment. Some of them prescribe medications to their clients as part of their treatment. Others take a holistic approach to the process and treat the addict's body, mind, and spirit, or make a point of adopting a drug-free approach to their clients.

Techniques Used

The techniques used by different treatment facilities vary. A combination of individual therapy and group therapy sessions may be used to treat clients. The first step in the treatment process may be a period of detoxification to deal with the physical effects of the addiction. Once the client's body is clean, the work of having him or her examine the reasons why they became addicted can begin. The client will also learn how to recognize and deal with triggers that encourage them to use the substance again.

Types of Meetings

Not all non 12-step substance abuse programs involve having to check into a facility, although a residential drug rehab program where a client stays for 30 days or more can provide an intense level of treatment without distractions from the outside world. Outpatient treatment is another option, and clients agree to meet with a counselor on a regular basis to deal with their addiction. Clients who go to a residential facility should have a plan for receiving follow-up care after their release. Without support, they may fall back into their former lifestyle of substance abuse.


Accounts of the effectiveness rates for non 12-step substance abuse programs vary. Treatment centers may publish their success rates, but unless they specify what they consider to be "success," it's difficult to evaluate which programs are most effective.

Treatment for Related Issues

A non 12-step substance abuse program may offer counseling for other issues, along with its focus on treating the addiction. Many people with addiction issues have mental health concerns as well. They may have started using drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate, and therapy and/or medication may be ordered along with the addiction recovery plan.

How to Choose a Program

When you are looking for a program, you will want to find one that fits with your own values and where you would feel comfortable. Do some research and find out about the center or counselor's approach to treatment. If your health insurance plan covers the cost of treatment, your insurer may be able to suggest a program. Your doctor can also tell you about treatment options near you. For residents of the United States, we offer an online facility locator on our web sites