What Is a Non-12-Step Approach to Care?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery August 12, 2023

What Is a Non-12-Step Approach to Care?

It is widely agreed upon that 12-Step recovery programs have helped millions of people and their families recover from addiction over the last 88 years. Also, it remains one of the most popular forms of recovery, not just in the United States but all over the world. In fact, the first official 12-Step recovery program, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), now boasts over two million members, 123,000 specific groups, and can be found in over 150 countries. Yet, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has found that in America alone, 10% of adults will struggle with addiction at some point in their lives. Based on population, that’s roughly 33 million people. So, what about those that are looking for a different path of recovery? A non-12-Step approach may be an ideal option.

The Basics: Understanding 12-Step Recovery

While there were some components and early ideas involving 12-Step Recovery, it became official and began in earnest with two co-founders, Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (more commonly referred to as Bill W. and Dr. Bob). These two individuals considered themselves “of the hopeless variety” of those with alcohol addiction. No matter what they tried, they could not recover on their own. That is, until they discovered that two things could keep them sober. One was working with another individual in need of recovery, and two were adopting a belief in a “Higher Power.” 

This method became highly effective for them and, as previously mentioned, for many others as well. However, it does not work for everyone. That is even acknowledged by these 12-Step co-founders. The primary 12-Step text (commonly referred to as “the Big Book”) often refers to “not having a monopoly on recovery.” What this means is that there are many ways to recover, and they support and complement those that do so outside of a 12-Step program. 

Ultimately, all effective recovery programs, whether 12-Step or a non-12-Step approach, have the same goals in mind. To achieve long-term recovery by any means necessary.

What Is a Non-12-Step Approach to Care?

Interestingly enough, there is a misconception that a non-12-Step approach to addiction care is wholly devoid of 12-Step principles. While it may seem surprising, this is untrue. Many people find that 12-Step meetings and concepts can be very helpful to their recovery. However, they utilize it in addition to their other forms of treatment rather than as a sole solution.

Yet, this addition of the Twelve Steps often comes after a non-12-Step approach while in residential treatment. So, many people ask, “What exactly does a non-12-Step approach to treatment look like if it isn’t just about avoiding the Twelve Steps?” Ultimately, it is more about creating a comprehensive recovery plan rather than a sole solution.

The Benefits of the Non-12-Step Approach

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in recovery at the cellular level. To achieve this, there must be a whole-mind-body approach that gets to the core root causes of our addiction. This includes the mental, emotional, behavioral, and physical causes. 

To get the best results from this approach, it is important to utilize all of the tools at our disposal. This includes our access to some of the most highly regarded therapists and psychotherapists in the country. We also have some of the best nutritionists and dieticians that stay on-site 24/7 at our facility. The same goes for our onsite naturopathic doctor (ND).

We also have the luxury of being located in one of the most ideal recovery locations in the world, the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii’s beautiful mountainous backdrop and ocean-filled horizon allow our clients to connect to nature in a way that is unlike any other place on Earth. Utilizing these “traditional,” experiential, and holistic methods are what our non-12-Step approach is all about. It is not about pushing back against 12-Step recovery; it is about offering and utilizing effective alternatives.

Utilizing Trauma-Informed Therapy

A significant component of our non-12-Step approach is the use of trauma-informed therapy. The key to trauma-informed care is getting to the underlying root causes of addictive behavior. Many individuals struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) may not even realize that they struggle with trauma or potentially even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives. Many people who have PTSD will recover and no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD after treatment. So, this number counts people who have PTSD at any point in their life, even if their symptoms go away.” It is important to keep in mind that these statistics are not just referring to veterans, which is a misconception that many people carry. PTSD affects many more people than those that have experienced combat.

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our trauma-informed care can improve a person’s sense of empowerment and resilience. It also promotes physical and emotional well-being and develops dependability by creating goals and a long-term recovery outline. Trauma-informed therapy is also bolstered when utilized in tandem with other treatments.

“Traditional” Therapy to Get to the Core Root Causes of Addiction

Now, “traditional” talk therapy is probably what most people envision when they hear the term “therapy.” While the trope of the person lying on the couch being psychoanalyzed is no longer the norm, talk therapy is still effective in treating issues of addiction. It just so happens that these therapies are much more complex than many people may realize.

Utilizing Psychotherapy

As with trauma-informed therapy, other psychotherapies can help get to the underlying cognitions and psychology (emotions and behaviors) that are often the core cause of our struggles with addiction. It is only when these underlying factors are brought to the surface that an individual can truly start to work through them. There are also several types of therapies and psychotherapies that can help bring this to fruition.

The Benefits of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is perhaps the most well-known type of psychotherapy. It is a talk therapy that introduces coping skills and exercises that can help individuals struggling with addiction deal with negative beliefs and perspectives that an actively addictive lifestyle can manifest. These exercises help them change the negative emotions and behaviors most often associated with them.

There is also an “offshoot” of CBT known as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of talk therapy, but it is generally utilized for individuals that struggle with feeling emotions on a more “intense” and disordered level. It just so happens that many individuals seeking relief from addiction also meet this emotional criteria. DBT can help them accept these emotions in order to grow beyond them.

The Benefits of Interpersonal Therapy and Humanistic Therapy

Two other types of psychotherapy that have shown to be particularly effective in treating addiction (and addiction with co-occurring disorders) are humanistic and interpersonal therapy. These therapies have two specific focuses. 

Interpersonal therapy focuses on how we interact with those around us, and humanistic therapy focuses on how we perceive the world around us. While highly beneficial on their own, utilizing them in tandem not only helps us better understand ourselves but also communicates that understanding to those closest to us. Also, as with the other therapies we’ve discussed, their benefits are compounded when used comprehensively with other modalities, such as nutrition therapy.

Utilizing Nutrition Therapy to Heal at the Cellular Level

Many people seeking addiction recovery don’t realize how depleted of vitamins and minerals they actually are. To fully recover, these nutrients must be introduced back into the body as soon as effectively as possible. This doesn’t happen simply by taking a multivitamin.

It requires serious solutions offered by serious and reputable professionals. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, these are our 24/7 onsite nutritionists, dieticians, as well as our naturopathic doctor (ND).

The Benefits of Having Nutritionists, Dieticians, and Neuropathic Doctors Onsite

Nutrition therapy is about a lot more than simply changing one’s diet, though this is part of it. No, it is about fully changing the way we view and interact with our food. Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe that “food is medicine,” which is why we don’t just offer nutrient-rich food (prepared by our private chefs), but we offer the tools and techniques to take the practice of “food as medicine” home after treatment.

Our professionals also offer our clients the ability to engage with the food that they eat. We offer horticulture therapy, which allows our clients to get their hands dirty, garden, and see the results of their labor in the rows of lime, orange, tangerine, and longan fruit trees. These fresh fruits offer the micro and macronutrients necessary for recovery, but they are not the only way they are received at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab.

Utilizing Infusion Therapy for Whole-Body Recovery

One of the best ways to get the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed early in recovery promptly and in the volume necessary is via infusion therapy. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we are uniquely qualified in that we offer our clients an array of Concierge IV infusions directly on our property.

Nutrient-rich infusions like Myers Cocktails, glutathione infusions, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) IV infusions have been shown to have an immediate effect on improving the symptoms associated with addiction. For example, Myers Cocktails have been shown to increase energy levels, reduce inflammation, and even improve hair growth. Glutathione infusions have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and eliminate detrimental toxins. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) IV infusions have been shown to improve mental focus, enhance mood, and help with physical performance.

The Importance of Personal Development

Personal development is also a pivotal part of our non-12-Step approach to recovery here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. Personal development is all about recreating a balance in our lives that active addiction tries to take from us.

This balance must be created in four arenas. These are the physical, emotional, mental, and emotional pillars of our lives. Our personal development plans, including our “Life Contract Program,” can help bring this balance back, as well as create a sense of empowerment and control over our own lives. Mission therapy also aids in these goals.

The Benefits of Mission Therapy

Active addiction often robs us of many aspects of our lives. One of these crucial aspects is our sense of purpose. Our mission therapy aims to establish and give that purpose back.

Mission therapy at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab not only helps bring purpose back into our lives but also how we can utilize that purpose to improve our lives moving forward. It can reestablish the sense of “self” that was long shadowed by the behaviors of addiction. 

The idea of personal development and mission therapy is all about forward momentum. Laying out our goals for the future and working closely with professionals to make a plan to achieve those goals is one of the best ways to ensure that the road to long-term recovery is smooth and successful. Also, while it is important to focus on our inner selves, we must also take care of our physical bodies.

The Benefits of Physical Activity and Surf Therapy

There may be no better place than Hawaii to rediscover a relationship with our physical selves. This is not merely living weights and running on a treadmill. No, this is about engaging with the incredible nature that is all around us.

Whether it is running under the shadow of the Kilauea Volcano, practicing yoga on Spencer Beach, or swimming with tropical fish in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii’s Big Island offers wholly unique physical fitness opportunities.

One of the unique offerings at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is the ability to surf or boogie board the local break known as Honoli’i. Not only does this activity offer strength and conditioning, but it also offers inspiration from catching and riding a wave into shore, as well as meditating on the board while green sea turtles swim about.

Connecting With 12-Step, Dharma, and SMART Recovery Groups After Treatment

To reiterate, a non-12-Step approach to recovery is not an anti-12-Step approach. It is merely an alternative and one that has been highly effective for countless numbers of people.

However, many people find that after discovering themselves with these other treatment methods, they are more open to connecting to other forms of recovery once they get home. This may be getting involved with a 12-Step program, but it could also include other options.

Some individuals chose to follow a path of more spiritual Buddhist principles and incorporate Dharma recovery into their long-term journey. Others may choose to include SMART recovery methods in their recovery, with a focus on self-reliance rather than powerlessness. There are countless ways to recover. As Bill W. and Dr. Bob wrote, there is no monopoly on recovery, and that is what makes a comprehensive non-12-Step approach so attractive and effective for many people.

Comprehensive Care For Core Root Recovery at the Cellular Level at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we don’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” cookie-cutter recovery. No one person’s addiction story is the same, so why then should we expect their recovery journey to be? That is why we believe in individualized comprehensive care at the core level for healing at the cellular level. This includes our non-12-Step approach to recovery.

There is a proverb that we say here in Hawaii that goes, “Oi kau ka lau, E Hana I ola Honua.” This translates to “Live your life while the sun is still shining.” That is what we aim to offer here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. Not just recovery for the sake of recovery, but recovery that comes from the type of experiences that are truly life-changing.

Risk factors stemming from your environment and biology are often what dictate our substance use. Therefore, 12-Step programs aren’t always enough to address the core root causes of addiction. However, there is another approach which is often referred to as “Non-12-Step.” This approach provides the best traditional, experiential, holistic, and natural treatments that enhance recovery and growth. These treatments include psychotherapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapies such as nature immersion, holistic treatments like yoga, and neuropathic options like infusion therapy. Utilizing these tools for recovery, followed by a connection to a 12-Step, Dharma, and/or SMART recovery community, is an ideal way to heal at the cellular level. For more information, reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab at (808) 775-0200.