Secular Alcohol Treatment

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Secular alcohol treatment 

Secularism is a famous term for those who do not adjust to specific religious practices. The secular community is unbiased to the concept of God, the idea of a supernatural being, or religion and depends on logic or science instead.

Secular alcohol rehabilitation programmes are addiction treatment options for non-religious individuals to get equal treatment as religious people. This belief also stretches to drug or alcohol addiction treatment, and secular individuals usually struggle in specific, faith-based programmes.

However, there are not as many secular alcohol and drug rehabilitation programmes as faith-based; other options are available.

Secular individuals have different behavioural patterns. Religious individuals see substance abuse as an outcome of not having a higher power in life; still, this is just a matter of perspective.

The secular treatment approach involves evidence-based treatment to ensure that the treatment options are reliable and offer the best treatment for each patient.

The general treatments are based solely on scientific principles. For instance, an addict struggling with alcohol abuse or drug addiction accompanied by mental health issues is to receive Cognitive Behavioural Therapies(CBT) and medications.

Secular individuals dealing with substance abuse are encouraged to choose 12-step programs offered in treatment centres. Patients are also able to use the SMART recovery program centred around self-management instead of faith.

Non-spiritual alcohol and drug treatment options 

Several individuals feel at ease in religious rehabilitation centres, while others prefer to enrol in a secular self-help programme that emphasises evidence-based treatment rather than faith. A non-religious rehabilitation programme could be the best solution for people struggling with drug use or alcohol abuse syndrome.

The broad majority of the drug and alcohol rehabilitation centres and recovery programmes are faith-based in several regions of the country. They are usually different wings of a particular church, spiritual foundation, or other religious groups, or founded and managed by religious people.

Although these centres offer help to many addicts every year, they use scientific and holistic methods for spiritual awakening and spiritual growth. They are based on a person’s faith in a higher power.

A recent poll by Gallup reported that only 54% of people think that religion can solve all problems. So, what about the remaining 46% that do not find religion helpful? [1]

These are who the secular recovery programmes are made for to remain abstinent. In non-religious recovery programmes, there are facilities that use evidence-based treatments or research-based methods to fight against drug and alcohol addiction instead of religion.

Non-religious programmes ideal for non-religious and atheists include the following:

SMART Recovery 

This is an abstinence-focused, nonprofit organisation that offers free, mutual, and support meetings. The meetings vary from local and face-to-face meetings to online meetings.

Members learn self-management recovery methods based on modern scientific research and self-awakening science-based mutual help groups.

SMART is a 4-point programme that includes: coping with urges, establishing and maintaining motivation, feelings, and behaviours, managing thoughts, and living a balanced life.

SMART Recovery, a non-profit organisation uses scientifically based methods to empower addicts to embark upon a change in behavioural patterns and learn coping strategies used both in the short and long term.

The programme is based on self-empowerment, self-reliance, and self-direct change and prevents talk about a God or religion. The information and techniques for SMART recovery are continuously developing as new evidence-based information becomes available. [2]

Secular organisations for addiction treatment 

Secular Organizations for Sobriety(S.O.S) is a non-profit network of groups devoted to helping addicts achieve and maintain abstinence from drug, alcohol, or food addiction.

S.O.S also represents “save our selves” and stresses the belief that patients of S.O.S perform the biggest role in their abstinence.

S.O.S admires healthy scepticism, values diversity, and promotes rational thinking.

Every individual takes personal responsibility for individual abstinence regularly. Feelings, thoughts, understandings, and experiences, are shared in an anonymous setting at the meetings. [3]

LifeRing Secular Recovery 

This anonymous organisation offers abstinence-based treatments to offer a safe meeting space where individuals experience a non-judgmental recovery conversation with the treatment provider and also get peer support.

Support groups in this network offer help to those struggling hard to live drug or alcohol-free lives. It is not based on the concept of a higher power, and patients’ spiritual or religious beliefs remain private.

Positive social reinforcement is used in LifeRing to offer treatment according to the individual's condition. [4]

Women For Sobriety (WFS) 

WFS is the first peer-support programme designed for women battling substance use disorder.

It’s a non-profit organisation that caters to a women-only secular support group that offers complete abstinence and long-term recovery from alcohol or substance abuse through sessions, therapies, and recovery training.

Women in this group share feelings, thoughts, and personal experiences with other members.

In Women for Sobriety programme, group members are encouraged through positive thinking and reinforcements, health changes, and relationship building through group participation. [5]

Moderation management 

Recovery support groups need complete abstinence as a term of membership or even joining the meetings. However, Moderation Management is unique.

The National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) states that in 2013 above 70% of British aged 18 and older consumed alcohol, and only 7% of British suffered from an alcohol use disorder. Individuals who limit alcohol drinking is not involved in problem drinking and do not suffer from addiction. [6]

MM programme among the other non-religious programmes is specifically designed to target problem drinking at the initial stages and invites alcoholics who find alcohol becoming a problem to join.

It aims to change problematic behaviour patterns and health-damaging drinking habits by promoting more responsible habits and a healthy lifestyle and not necessarily through complete sobriety. Many behavioural treatment facilities enlist the benefits of an MM programme for secular recovery.

MM doctrine says alcoholism is a choice and is subjected to change with some good intervention strategies. It allows members to either choose complete abstinence or alcohol in moderation. MM states that around 30% of its members opt for abstinence-based treatment.

Personal recovery path 

Apart from these incredible secular treatment options and support groups, agonistics and atheists usually blaze their trail.

They stop drinking by finding online support, reading informative books about drug or alcohol addiction and memoirs, reaching out to a trustworthy friend who has had the experience, and engaging in healthy activities like exercising, meditating, and yoga.

Reaching out to recovery coaches and health representatives is also a good option. Representatives work solely, and sobriety is achieved by following a personal recovery path.

The secular nature of this online meeting makes it fundamentally different from the 12-step programme and Alcoholics Anonymous. [7]

Check your insurance benefits 

When it is about choosing the right treatment programme, as a patient, several aspects are considered besides noticing if the programme offers secular treatment.

As different picks are being considered, knowing exactly which insurance provider is better among all options, and what the insurance plan covers give mental satisfaction while in a rehabilitation centre.

Seeking help from United Kingdom Addiction Centres is vital as information regarding the insurance payment is provided and the facilities and programmes it includes are secular and evidence-based.

Addiction treatment programmes with coverage disclaimer and HIPAA(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) badge are the best reliable ones because HIPAA aims for an improved and efficient health care system. [8]

What are the behavioural treatment methods? 

CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Motivational Interviewing, and DBT(Dialectical Behavior Therapy) are the popular behavioral treatment methods to treat alcoholism.

Several treatment methods are evidence-based or non-religious that include components found in religious addiction treatment, but do not include God or religion.

Treatment methods used in non-religious alcohol recovery or non-religious substance abuse treatment include the following:

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) 

This is a goal-oriented therapy targeted at changing negative thoughts and habits to improve emotions and enhance positivity. It involves developing coping skills and skill-building to avoid withdrawals and relapses. [9]

Motivational interviewing 

This technique is to help an alcoholic’s motivation to change, and it also encourages the continuance of treatment to remain abstinent from alcohol or substance use.

This evidence-based approach helps people overcome the dubiousness in behaviours that usually make change impossible. [10]

Dialectical behaviour therapy 

This branch of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy trains people on coping skills including pain tolerance, emotional regulation, and mindfulness. This evidence-based therapy is used by certain groups. [11]

Types of therapy sessions 

Family Therapy 

This therapy allows individuals to interact with others, develop conflict resolution skills, and repair relationships with family members. 

Group Therapy 

Group Therapy offers a chance to develop a healthy network by interacting with others going through the same process and catering to community support. The participants work on coping strategies and practice sober social skills.

Individual Therapy 

Individual Therapy is a one-to-one therapy that helps participants learn about the leading substance abuse triggers and how to deal with them.

It helps people with emotion control and balance skills as an effective substance abuse treatment. [12]


Recovery support groups for alcohol addicts 

A support group is a group of people who share thoughts, feelings, or experiences. Participating in a group coupled with other medical and professional treatment programmes provides several benefits.

These groups aid recovery by developing coping skills, providing social support, boosting motivation, improving mental health, and decreasing symptoms of depression.

Support groups are different from treatment centres, as they do not provide medical advice. They offer strength and inspiration but do not provide or replace treatment.

Regular meetings are organised, to provide comfort, encouragement, and advice.

The group focuses on offering peer support, celebrating every little achievement, and allowing participants to share their struggles and talk about helpful coping mechanisms. [13]

Family and friends play a crucial role for people in recovery, but do not always understand what a person might be suffering from. Support groups fill that gap by offering social support, empathising, and providing tips to the struggling participants.

What to expect? 

If an individual dealing with an addiction or mental health disorder is being treated in a rehab centre by a professional treatment provider, joining a support group is the best place to learn from others and feel less isolated.

These are what to expect;

  • Besides mutual support, the confidentiality and privacy of group members are well respected. For people attending face-to-face meetings, privacy is respected, and therefore, the obtained information is safe among the group members.
  •  For religious people, emotional and spiritual growth are offered. Evidence-based stories and experiences are shared among the non-religious. 
  • The groups also work as an online community and organize daily online meetings for those who are not comfortable sharing their story in groups. There are representatives that function solely to allow so little or as much information to be shared, as desired by the member
  • They help members to open up and feel comfortable with individuals having similar conditions. Open meetings and closed meetings for members and non-members are also arranged according to members’ choices.
  • They assist in every field of life. There are groups for people struggling with addictions, pain, hurt, substance abuse, mood-changing chemicals, emotional growth, narcotics, distorted thoughts, and many more. [14]

What are the benefits of a non-religious addiction treatment programme? 

A rehab centre provides the opportunity to battle against addiction. Non-religious rehab allows alcoholics and addicts to work on recovery without the intervention of God or any religion, to avoid discomfort to those that are not religious.

Pros of attending a non-religious addiction programme include: 

  1. Discovering a better suit: Treating addiction is difficult for a non-religious person who is less comfortable sharing religious views. Secular programmes employ scientifically proven data and coping mechanisms so that patients fully get the help needed without sharing any religious perspectives. 
  2. Finding out the root of the problem: Treatment allows a patient to observe self-views, thoughts, and behaviour to discover the root cause of the alcohol or drug dependence. This allows people to deal with the problems, thereby having a greater chance of overcoming the problems.  
  3. Healing for the entire family: Secular programmes focus on assisting the entire family so that the alcoholics are provided with the understanding and support needed while struggling for recovery to achieve a sober life.
  4. Empowering the alcoholics: Religion-based treatments have participants accept their powerlessness and can only be saved by God. Non-religious-based treatments place the power and responsibility directly on the shoulders of the alcoholic. 
  5. Grounding treatment in science: Evidence-based, scientific treatments have been proven to be extremely impactful and can help achieve sobriety. [15]  

How To Find Non-Religious Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Facilities Nearby? 

While only limited non-religious treatment approaches are mentioned in this article, there are rehab centres and programmes nearby that will offer evidence-based treatments. Be brave to ask the facilities for secular, non-religious treatment.

Moreover, there are several facilities that do not promote non-religious treatment programmes deliberately but are still an ideal fit based on the patient’s specific needs for addiction treatment.

 If confused about how to search for a secular rehab facility, google the nearest UK Addiction Centre location. There is a nationwide network that will help choose the ideal treatment programme.

Don’t forget that there is hope for every person who is battling against drug or alcohol dependency, irrespective of religious preferences.

Bottom line 

Anybody can enter a non-religious rehab centre, including those who practice a particular faith and believe in God.

A treatment facility for alcohol or drug addiction is there to help anybody, either a believer or an atheist.

Still, for a believer, it’s crucial to examine the treatment options available before choosing a non-religious rehab.

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: November 24, 2023