All too frequently people imagine there is a single pathway or straight line from addiction to getting involved in recovery. However, there is no set pattern or pathway that will get someone to stay clean and sober. Everyone’s journey is different, and one pathway to recovery is not going to fit everyone’s individual needs. There are numerous ways to stop using drugs and alcohol. There are also numerous ways for a person to recover. The purpose of this article is to begin exploring those options.


Drug Treatment Programs

Most people dealing with opioid addiction go through a detox program at the very least. Detox is especially necessary if an individual is detoxing from benzodiazepines or alcohol because there is a risk of seizures. Short-term drug treatment programs last for 28 to 45 days depending on the program. There are also long-term programs that last up to a year.

Short-term treatment and detoxes are generally homogenous with slight variations depending on their level of funding, whereas long-term treatment is often more specialized. Some long-term treatment facilities focus on helping individuals find academic success or offering vocational training.

Treatment is not always an option due to issues related to insurance and financial difficulties. This should not discourage anyone from finding a path to recovery. While many people begin their road to recovery with a drug treatment program, those programs typically guide individuals into support groups and other programs geared toward long-term recovery.

12-Step Programs

There are many variations to the 12-step model that began with Alcoholics Anonymous. 12-Step fellowships offer guidance and support for dealing with issues related to addiction/alcoholism. The two main fellowships are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Both fellowships are world-wide organizations that are constantly growing and evolving to fit the needs of their members.

Millions of people dealing with addiction have chosen these two fellowships because there is evidence that they work in people’s lives. Although there are many who have an aversion to 12-Step programs due to references to God in the steps and in the literature, both programs insist they are not religious but spiritual programs and that the word God is a place holder for anything that a person chooses to believe in.

Whether or not a person chooses either of these fellowships is up to them. The one thing that can be said of them is that if a person is adhering to a 12-Step program, completely and totally as they are laid out, staying clean and sober is guaranteed.

However, if a person does not feel comfortable with the 12-step model, there are numerous other fellowships and ways to recover available.


Recovery Yoga

Yoga programs have been devised with a focus on helping individuals in recovery find their spiritual centers. These programs are not necessarily a fellowship in and of themselves, but they are often treated as a supplemental method to aid people in recovery, utilize yoga to find inner strength, and empower their recovery programs. Their effectiveness is dependent upon the individual.

Recovery yoga can also be incorporated into any recovery program to help individualize recovery and help those who feel that they need both the physical and spiritual healing offered by yoga practices.


Celebrate Recovery and Faith Based Recovery

While both have Christianity as their foundation, their methods of recovery are different. Celebrate Recovery is a Christian based 12-step program that is not to be confused with Faith-Based Recovery. The difference is that Celebrate Recovery incorporates the 12-steps with Christianity whereas Faith-Based Recovery is entirely based off practicing Christian principles and seeking to be healed through faith.

Celebrate Recovery believes that the 12-step model works best to aid people in their path to recovery. Faith Based Recovery relies on the teachings of the bible alone. Both recovery models are wide spread and are for individuals that seek to incorporate Christianity into their recovery.


Online Recovery

Online recovery can either be supplementary to an existing recovery program or work as a model unto itself. There are online meetings for numerous fellowships. There are also online message boards, chatrooms, and Facebook groups all devoted to helping people strengthen their recovery. These are excellent for people that are living in isolated or rural areas or have issues related to agoraphobia. However, many would argue that humans thrive on human interaction.

Still, some people may simply feel the need to develop their own personal path to recovery. It is entirely possible that this may work for some people. Such individuals may utilize the support they can find through online groups, so they are still getting guidance and help with addiction outside of a more traditional setting.

If it works for them, it works for them. Although, since this is a newer trend in recovery, such individuals may be somewhat reclusive. It may be difficult to gauge just how well utilizing only internet-based recovery groups may work. However, like every recovery program, if it is working for an individual, then their program works.

Native American Recovery Movements

White Bison and the Welbriety recovery movements are both interrelated and affiliated with other Native American Recovery Movements. These movements are focused on cultural knowledge to aid or insure the recovery process. These are movements that are highly focused on gaining a better understanding of an individual’s tribal roots and cultural heritage to find a means to heal the damaged psyche.

There is a focus on healing the mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects of a person’s being. These practices can be used in conjunction with other recovery programs or on their own merit. This pathway to recovery does focus on Native Americans, but it does not exclude individuals lacking Native American roots.


Shamanic Healing

Shamanism is a form of recovery with a focus on healing an individual’s spirit through shamanic practices. Many individuals feel that the only way to truly recover is by incorporating shamanic principles into their lives. The idea is that addiction has led to a disconnection between the spirit and body and needs to be healed so that a person can find peace within themselves.

Like many pathways to recovery, some people choose to supplement or aid their recovery with shamanism. However, shamanic healing does not necessarily have to be practiced along with another path to recovery. Many feel it is unnecessary to do so and simply engage in shamanic healing alone.


SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is based on a four-point plan of recovery. Point 1: building and maintaining motivation, point 2: coping with urges, point 3: managing thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and point 4: living a balanced life. According to their literature, following this four-point plan allows an individual to gain independence after suffering from addiction.

SMART Recovery is based on science and evolves with the science around addiction. It is in many ways intended to be more psychologically innovative. While many people do simply work a program of SMART recovery, it is inclusive of other recovery programs. In fact, members are encouraged to do anything and everything that may help them with their recovery in conjunction with SMART Recovery.

Refuge Recovery

Based in Buddhism, Refuge Recovery offers practitioners the guidance of the teachings of Buddha to deal with addiction. Refuge Recovery is a fast-growing movement because many believe that the serenity offered by Buddhism is a balm to their wounded psyches, however there are still only a few meetings outside of New York City.

Whether a person chooses to simply work the program of Refuge Recovery is dependent upon them.

Recovery is Possible

One thing to take note of is that while many of these paths to recovery can be worked by themselves, all of them can be worked to some degree in concurrence with each other. Given that many people are striving to find new ways and recovery movements to help other deal with addiction, it’s entirely possible that there are a wide range of programs that were not included.

Whichever path a person chooses to recover, or however they choose to recover, is entirely up to them. If a person is free from actively using drugs and they’re learning to become a productive member of society, their recovery program is working. Being open minded is a spiritual principle of many fellowships, and it is for good reason. If a person is open to new ideas in recovery, it helps them change their way of thinking. It is also to remember that being open-minded is how many of us begin our recovery process.