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A Newcomer’s Guide to Recovery Programs

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

Recovery means much more than simply completing a drug treatment program. While successfully completing a treatment program is an important step, recovery is a lifelong process and requires other essential tools in order to maintain hard-earned sobriety. One of those important “recovery tools” is continued and proactive involvement in a recovery program. These sober support groups provide those who are newly sober the fellowship, support and encouragement they need in order to stay motivated in their recovery.


Just as every addict has different needs and goals in their recovery, there are different recovery programs that embrace different philosophies. If you are new to recovery and are looking for a recovery support program that will provide you the spark you need to strengthen your sobriety, the following are several popular recovery programs utilized by addicts worldwide.

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Popular Recovery Programs

12-Step Programs

The most popular sober recovery program available to those in recovery are 12-Step programs. The first 12-step program began with the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 and currently there are over 50 in existence that cover a wide range of addictions from substance abuse to eating to sex addictions. The foundation of these groups lie in the Twelve Steps which can be seen as a blueprint for people to move from their addictive behaviors towards a happier more spiritual existence in which they help others who struggle.

Each of these steps revolve around a specific theme and are meant to be worked sequentially as a process of getting rid of addictive behaviors and should result in a growth in freedom and happiness. For those who are new to 12-Step programs, they can be guided in working the steps through the help of a sponsor who has considerable clean time and is active in working a program of recovery. The fellowship that is found when attending regular meetings helps empower the addict to continue working their own recovery program.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery was founded in the mid-1990’s and is a not for profit, nationwide organization which offers free support groups to individuals who desire to gain independence from any type of addictive behavior. Those who participate in SMART Recovery learn the tools for addiction recovery that are based on scientific research and are based on four principles:

  1. Building and Maintaining Motivation
  2. Coping with Urges
  3. Manage Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
  4. Living a Balanced Life

These techniques teaches people how to change themselves from within and encourages them to be proactive which leads to self-empowerment.  This overall concept stands in contrast to the more traditional 12 step approach in which there needs to be understanding that one is powerless in the face of addiction and the acceptance of that fact.

Individuals are encouraged to talk with one another during meetings, as opposed to talking to one another. Additionally, the techniques taught in SMART Recovery evolve as scientific knowledge regarding addiction recovery changes.  SMART recovery meetings can be held in traditional meeting rooms or people can participate in online meeting forums.

The Life Process Program

The Life Process Program was developed by Dr. Stanton Peele and was conceived as being an alternative to Twelve-Step programs like AA and NA. This internet-based operates on the belief that people are not powerless in regards to their addiction and don’t need the help of support groups to overcome substance abuse.

There are four basic tenets on which the program operates and are the following:

  • Values and purpose
  • Motivation
  • Life skills and real-world rewards
  • The building and mending of community and relationships

This program was initially used in luxury rehab facilities, then made available as a comprehensive online course in which people receive both online and telephone coaching. Relapse prevention techniques are at the core of this program and participants learn how to build positive self-worth, values,  and purpose in life.

Women in Sobriety

Founded in the mid-1970’s, Women for Sobriety is the first national self-help program that is specifically geared for women struggling with addiction. Currently, Women in Sobriety has over 300 active chapters throughout the United States. The program operates on a set of principles called the Thirteen Acceptance Statements which are similar to the Twelve Steps in terms of addressing powerlessness in addiction and the development of emotional and spiritual growth. Meeting group are small by design with 6 to 10 women in each group and online meetings and forums are also available.


LifeRing is another secular-based recovery program which takes a more experimental approach to maintaining sobriety. The core principles upon which LifeRing operates from are based on the “three s” approach of sobriety, secularity, and self-help. Members of LifeRing do not have sponsors, but people with time are encouraged to give advice to newcomers. People in LifeRing run their own recovery programs, which is directly opposite to the philosophy of 12-step groups. The openness of this format gives members the option of incorporating different ideas as to what can help them get sober. Additionally, members of LifeRing are also encouraged to give advice to one another at meetings. Ultimately, LifeRing views relapses as experiences that can be learned from, and believes its members should not be ashamed of these experiences.

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What Type of Recovery Program is Right for Me?

As  you can clearly see, there are different approaches that addiction recovery programs adopt. In finding a recovery program that is right for you, it is important to approach the process with an open mind. While 12-step groups are the most popular and widely available, there may be other sober support groups that may provide you the direction you need to get and stay sober.

No matter what recovery program you decide to be a part of, an essential part of a comprehensive recovery plan is detox services. SoCal Detox has provided many addicts in southern California with quality detox services, individualized treatment plans, and compassionate care. If you or a loved one are in need to detox services that are proven to work, call SoCal Detox toll-free today and make your recovery a reality.

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