• Nicole Arzt

Conquering Drugs and Alcohol: Alternative Addiction Treatments That Actually Work

Do you feel like drugs and alcohol are consuming your life? Do you keep trying to cut back or quit on substance use only to feel like your efforts are fruitless? Have you tried the classic 12 Steps a thousand times- but you’re looking for something different?


You’re not alone. Although the path towards wellness can be a complicated one, recovery is absolutely possible. With that in mind, you must find the treatment approach that works best for you! Let’s get into the top alternative addiction treatments you need to know.


Psychotherapy


42% of Americans have seen a therapist at some point in their lives. Therapy has numerous benefits that can help people of all ages and demographics. Likewise, many different kinds of psychotherapy models can help support people recovering from substance use.


Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT examines the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The underlying premise is that by changing distorted or unhelpful thoughts, you will feel better, which promotes healthier habits.


Psychodynamic Therapy: Psychodynamic therapy focuses on drawing connections between your past and present. Through resolving old hurts and wounds, you can learn how to break damaging patterns and make better choices in the future.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is a highly effective therapy modality designed to alleviate the distress associated with trauma. Because trauma and addition are so closely linked, processing and healing from trauma are often paramount to a sustainable recovery.


Motivational Interviewing (MI): Many people feel somewhat resistant or ambivalent about recovering from their substance use. MI explores these conflicting feelings and helps you feel more empowered about making the best choices moving forward.


Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): DBT focuses on reducing distress while increasing mindfulness and acceptance of current realities. This therapy teaches people how to improve their self-esteem, cultivate meaningful relationships, and be more present and aware in daily living.


Support Groups


Addiction often lives in isolation. The shame, fear, and secrecy often keep people living on the outskirts of the world; you usually avoid intimacy and meaningful interactions to keep your substance use as close to your heart as possible.


If isolation is a leading agent for addiction, then social support and connection are the leading agents for sustained recovery. We all need to have a sense of community. Beyond that, we all need to feel a sense of unity and love.


Today, there are numerous support groups available to people struggling with addiction. The most popular groups include:


12-Step Groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.): 12-Step groups are universal, highly accessible, and completely free. There are numerous offshoots from the original Alcoholics Anonymous, but each group focuses on self-supporting fellowship for people who wish to recover from substance use.


SMART Recovery: SMART Recovery focuses on self-empowerment and free mutual support. They teach scientifically validated methods to empower people to live a more positive and productive lifestyle.


Secular Organizations For Sobriety (SOS): SOS is dedicated to helping people achieve sobriety from mood-altering substances. The groups are not dictated by religious affiliation; they are instead fully secular-based.


LifeRing: LifeRing supports efforts by strengthening the Sober Self and weakening the Addict Self. Meetings are focused on sharing advice, understanding, and encouragement to one another. There is a supreme focus on the current self- as opposed to focusing on the hurts and regrets from the past.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)


It’s no secret that we are in the thick of a devastating opioid epidemic. Drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of death in the United States- they surpass deaths related to car accidents, firearms, homicides, and HIV/AIDS. In 2017 alone, accidental overdoses took 70,000 lives.


These staggering numbers beg for dramatic change- and quickly. MAT has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. The premise of MAT is simple: integrate effective medication to reduce the risk of a fatal overdose.


MAT tends to be most helpful when combined with counseling and behavioral therapies. It is primarily used for opioid treatment, although it can also help reduce alcohol cravings. The most common medications prescribed are:

  • Methadone

  • Buprenorphine

  • Naltrexone

  • Disulfiram

  • Acamprosate

Medications do have their risks, and some of these medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, can be habit-forming. Thus, each medication requires a physician’s prescription and ongoing medical assessment and monitoring.


Harm Reduction


Harm reduction focuses on reducing the harmful effects of substance use rather than solely focusing on ignoring, eliminating, or condemning them. Proponents of harm reduction understand that substance use is complicated and multifaceted; abstinence is not the only answer, and it may be a shortsighted solution for some people.


Harm reduction isn’t about minimizing the effects of substance use. It’s about finding reasonable solutions to mitigate the devastating consequences often associated with addiction.


For example, harm reduction may mean promoting stricter drinking and driving laws to reduce dangerous alcohol use. It may entail encouraging a safe needle exchange for people who use substances intravenously.


Holistic Methods


Many people supplement formal therapies and medications with holistic interventions. Some of these methods may include:

  • Experiential therapy (equine therapy, art therapy)

  • Exercise and fitness

  • Nutrition

  • Yoga and meditation

  • Acupuncture

  • Spiritual connection and religious involvement

You may need to experiment with some or all of these methods to find what works for you. As you evolve in your recovery, you will find that you benefit from particular treatments over others.


The Best Alternative Addiction Treatments For You


It’s faulty and dangerous to assume that everyone responds to a specific, single recovery method. There are many beneficial alternative addiction treatments. Professional programs understand that recovery doesn’t occur on a linear, one-size-fits-all spectrum.


At The Resurface Group, we treat you as an individual. Our approach is unique, multifaceted, and compelling. Whether you need one-on-one support, family involvement, or an entire program built on dynamic, experiential care, we’ve got you covered.


We create unique plans built on each individual’s needs. This approach promotes long-term wellness and happiness. Are you interested in learning more? Contact us today to get started.

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Orange County Addiction Recovery • 2900 Bristol St Suite 320, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 • Main (509) 319-0845

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