Non-12-Step Support Groups to Help You on Your Sober Journey

Non-12-Step Support Groups to Help You on Your Sober Journey

By Jennifer McDougall

You’ve likely heard of 12-Step support groups if you’ve struggled with addiction. Fortunately, there are better options. 12-Step meetings don’t resignate with many people, so it is good news is there are more effective ways to get the proper help you need. These other options may be more suitable to your needs and personality.

If you’re not sure what direction to take in your sober journey, consider these four secular alternatives:

LifeRing Secular Recovery

If you’re looking for a non-12-step support group, LifeRing Secular Recovery may be for you. LifeRing offers a free hotline, a free online chat room, and free face-to-face meetings all across the country. You can even go to their website and find other groups outside of your geographic area—if there are no meetings on your block or in your town, options will still be available to help keep you sober.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a self-empowering addiction recovery support group that helps people recover from all addictive behavior, including alcoholism and drug addiction. The SMART Recovery program uses a four-point program to help you break free from your addictions:

  • Self-empowerment through Rational Thinking
  • Achieving Personal Goals
  • Helping Others with Addiction Problems
  • Living a Balanced Life

Women for Sobriety

Women for Sobriety, a non-12-step program, began in the 1970s to help women cope with alcohol addiction. The program is for women only and does not require you to be sober all of your life. You can attend meetings at any time, even if you haven’t yet become sober or have relapsed.

As the name suggests, this group primarily focuses on helping women recover from substance abuse problems. However, it also offers support and guidance for other programs like Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and Marijuana Anonymous (MA).

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a secular self-help organization that offers an alternative to 12-step programs. It’s based on the idea that Recovery is possible without a belief in God or a higher power and was founded by Joe Gerstein in Florida in 1985.

The program’s popularity has grown steadily, with meetings now held worldwide. There are also online resources available through their website, including a chatroom where you can talk with others who are going through the same thing as you. The organization offers many different types of meetings: some are open to people from all religions; others require members to be atheists, and still, others welcome those from any background but only if they’re looking for support from other atheists rather than prayer or spirituality (or if they’ve already tried other groups).


With so many options out there, how do you choose which support group is right for you? The key is looking at each group’s offers and finding one that fits your needs. For example, if you’re looking for something more laid-back than AA or NA, try LifeRing Secular Recovery. On the other hand, if you want something more structured than LifeRing but less religious than SMART Recovery, or if you’re a woman, consider Women for Sobriety. If neither of those works out, SOS has a wide variety of groups that may be perfect for your recovery journey.

Also, check out our many resources in the Passages Wellness Store for self-empowering books to help you along your journey. These books were written by Chris Prentiss, Co-Founder of Passages Addiction Treatment Centers.

Be sure to purchase a copy of The Alcoholism and Addiction Cure book today.

Also Read: Are Your Friends Holding You Back From Getting and Staying Sober?

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