Is AA The Only Way? [3 Explosive Alternatives To 12-Step Recovery]

Is AA The Only Way…what a silly question!

Before I give you my pitch as to why you should investigate these 3 alternatives to A.A., I figured out provide links to my reviews of each one. Read them now, or later, or never. Whatever is in accord with your life trajectory. Happy travels.

SMART Recovery

Refuge Recovery

Rational Recovery

Is AA The Only Way

The Three Parallels…every program needs these

Within each EFFECTIVE therapeutic sphere – be it religious in nature or secular – a particular pattern is discovered.

A pattern of radical significance; and frankly, a pattern which cannot be ignored.

I call it ‘The Three Parallels.”

Ok, its not that “radical” – its super obvious and intuitive, but give me a chance here.

1.) The Goal i.e. enlightenment, salvation, eudaimonia, mental stability, social acceptability, etc.

2.) The Method to arrive at this goal (usually located in a piece of revered literature).

3.) The Group that represents the method and assists each other in arriving at the objective.

The Three Parallels Illustrated


  1. Goal – Enlightenment
  2. Method – Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path
  3. Fellowship – Sangha


  1. Goal – Salvation (rebirth)
  2. Method – The Bible
  3. Fellowship – Church

Smart Recovery

  1. Goal – Rational Thinking
  2. Method – CBT
  3. Fellowship – Smart Meetings


  1. Goal – Physical and emotional sobriety
  2. Method – 12-steps
  3. Fellowship – Meetings

Trying To Get Sober Without AA?

There Is A Program For You

Eureka! Parallels exist. Sure, they are rather obvious, but not all recovery programs employ them, so I would approach these cautiously (Rational Recovery is a perfect example as it fails to acknowledge the importance of the group).

Nonetheless, the similarities are worth discussing more than the dogmatic differences and trivial argumentation – you know, the whole “my idea is better than your idea routine.”

In a word, we should focus on what works and what’s effective at producing life change.

I explore alternatives to 12-Step recovery not with the intention to divide and conquer but to find unity in diversity.

Moreover, it is to leave the addict without excuse: there is a program for you.

==> In our living sober blog we explore various avenues to freedom, check it out here!

Try Every Addictions Recovery Program – what do you have to lose?

As stated above when discussing the parallels, religions and secular philosophies do have commonality.

I highly recommend you investigate EVERY program. Chances are if you are reading this it is because you are a seeker; you’d only sell yourself short and deprive yourself of the brilliant dimensions of recovery and life if you do not.

Have Car, Will Travel

So, you must ask yourself – what’s my donkey?

yea, yea. I know. Its a weird question. I’m a weird guy. Stick with me though:

Imagine, life is a journey up a steep, challenging, breath-taking, and equally dangerous mountain. Each climber has his possessions (mind, will, emotions) tied neatly and tightly to his donkey.

This, in turn, helps him navigate the rough terrain – in other words, the donkey enables him to travel (it conveys capacity), by instilling navigational comprehension.

Every donkey has a name: Christianity, Buddhism, 12-Step, CBT, Smart Recovery, Stoicism, etc.

Each goes their separate ways all intent on reaching the summit. Moreover, each has its own experience with the mountain.

However, once the summit is reached the donkey is dismounted – this is the grand commonality.

The vehicle ceases to be of importance, it is the exploration and experience that is paramount – a form of mysticism if you will.

Far too frequently we get too attached to the method of travel rather than the journey itself.

Is AA The Only Way

Therefore, as you read the following reviews, remember: each view (donkey) is just another way of comprehending and understanding the world and oneself – truly the world cannot be understood without first understanding thyself, in other words, the views are the necessary medium for self-reflection. No need to argue whose donkey is better – just join hands and appreciate the summit.

p.s. my eclectic donkey is superior to yours 🙂

The below Amazon links are for your convenience if you purchase the books. We get a small commission at no cost to you to keep the SOBERTOSTAY up and running. The links at the beginning of the article are the actual reviews. Thanks!

SMART Recovery

Refuge Recovery

Rational Recovery