Drug treatment and sober living facilities are definitely not a one-size-fits-all. Everyone chooses to use for various reasons. While the addiction and the outcome may be similar to the next person, their reasons for using are different – and their journey and choices are different. There are many recovery alternatives for all different types of people.

Choosing to use drugs or alcohol is a personal choice. There is no miracle statement that someone can say to the addict that will get her or him to sober up. If there was, recovery – and life in general -would be much simpler.

So, what happens when the program you are on is not working for you? It is time to accept the fact that just because you have heard many success stories from others does not mean the program can fulfill your needs. If AA isn’t working, stop going back – here’s why.

What makes a successful recovery program?

A successful recovery program comes with a set of important criteria. Every program has differences, but, to be effective, they should have the following:

  • Personalized treatment programs. Like we said above, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. A successful recovery program will focus on the individual and tailor the program to meet your specific needs – within reason, of course.
  • Structure. Without having boundaries and structure, you will have a very low success rate. Addicts need structure since – for most – life has been spiraling out of control. This structure helps bring balance, clarity, and focus back into their lives.
  • Links to continuing care. A successful recovery program should not be just black or white. There should be a gray area, too. This will benefit you when leaving a treatment facility or a sober living home. You are linked with community services, continued therapy, daily living needs, and more. Recovery is a lifelong process so treatment, in a sense, should never just
  • By the time you find yourself in need of treatment, your sense of self-esteem and self-worth may be dwindling. The program you choose must focus on self-empowerment. You should be made to feel that you are strong enough and worthy enough of succeeding in recovery.

Recovery Alternatives

What happens when you find yourself a program that has all of the above criteria and you still don’t feel like it is working? Then it is time to find alternatives. Just because a program has structure, empowerment, personalized treatment, and community linkagedoes not mean that it will be the perfect fit for you.

Each facility or group hasa different way in which they may approach these in recovery, so you must find what works for you. But, whatever you do, don’t keep trying something that just isn’t working. It is ok to admit that it may not be a good fit – and find something else.

If you are ready to change, consider these recovery alternatives.

Sober living homes

Sober living homes are great recovery alternatives than simply attending AA meetings. In fact, they offer so much more structure, guidance, and support because it is a residential setting. You will find that here you will learn coping skills, accountability, and responsibility. You will learn how to maintain your sobriety as you venture back into the real world.

You have mentors and support from your team at the sober home – as well as from the bonds you will form with those you will be living with. Group meetings also keep the support system alive and functioning under the guidance of those who run the home.

In addition, most sober homes focus on individual needs, helping you learn what you don’t know about life and getting you access to employment or education, depending on where you are in your life’s journey.

Sober living homes are a great alternative choice for AA or any other fellowship-type program.


Individual – and group – therapy can be very beneficial. They provide you with a great amount of personal treatment that you may not otherwise receive. Further, they are best equipped to focus on the root of the addiction and healing, rather than simply staying on the surface. Without digging deep, it is hard to effectively make positive changes.

Therapy only lasts for a brief time each week. While it is not a great alternative to treatment facilities or sober homes, it can be used as great recovery alternatives to AA and other types of fellowship programs.

Support groups

Looking for support within support groups can be a great alternative to AA. In a sense, they both offer a close group of fellowship. However, support groups focus less on a higher power and a 12-step program and more on each individual group member.

Depending on your needs, you should be able to find a support group just for you. Whether you are looking for a same-sex, co-ed, narcotics, alcohol, etc., support groups are often broken down into specific categories which allow for the most beneficial sessions.

Life coach

If you need guidance and help with daily tasks and succeeding in life, then a life coach may be a beneficial alternative. While they cannot offer you addiction treatment, they can offer you a helping hand.

For some, groups are too much to handle and cause the individual to shy away. This includes AA meetings. For the introvert, a life coach can be a lifeline – and there are many benefits they can offer someone in recovery.

You have many choices when it comes to walking away from AA. It is not in a rulebook that you must attend AA meetings. So, if you find that you are not receiving what you need to succeed in recovery, then try something else. After all, that is the only true way you will discover what works best.

Before you jump in, remember the key criteria for a successful program and find one that will give you the gold medal in your personal story. A life coach, support group, therapist, sober living home – what will it be?