Alternatives to AA/NA

I think it’s safe to say that millions of people have benefited by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).  There are, however, people who do not feel that AA or NA is for them.  So often, it feels like AA/NA are a recovering alcoholic/addicts only choice.  However, this is not the case.  Some other options include, individual therapy, marriage and family therapy, group therapy, SMART recovery meetings, and medication.  Today I will talk about these other options.

Individual therapy:

Through cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, art therapy, etc. one can benefit by learning control over the aspects of their life that may be underlying the need for the addictive substance.  Therapy will also help a person learn how to challenge cravings.

Marriage and Family Therapy:

Marriage and Family therapy can be very helpful in overcoming addiction.  Addiction is a disease that affects the entire family, and often involves co-dependence.  Co-dependence is when one person in a relationship supports the other person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, or other unhealthy trait.  Marriage and Family therapy can help a couple break out of this cycle, which will benefit the entire family, not just the addict.

Group therapy:

Group therapy is often overlooked, since when most people think about therapy, the image that comes to mind involves them alone with a clinician.  Group therapy can be valuable because it shows someone they are not alone in their struggle, and allows people to see how similar situations effect different people.  Many Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) utilize group therapy, as do many rehabs.

SMART recovery meetings:

SMART recovery meetings utilize the latest in scientific research to encourage recovery.  Like AA/NA, these groups are free to attend, though as in AA/NA a donation hat is passed around at the end.  SMART recovery is based on self-empowerment.  To find a SMART recovery meetings near you, visit and enter your location.


Options such as naltrexone and Suboxone exist, I have previously written about medication as an option, so for more information, click here.

Each of the options listed above, as well as AA/NA can be used alone or in combination.  Personally, I utilize individual therapy, medication, and the rare AA meeting.  I have also utilized group therapy both in an IOP setting as well as in rehab.

What did I miss?  Let me know in the comments below, or send me a personal message.

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