The traditional twelve-step program for recovery was introduced in 1938. It has helped massive amounts of people get sober and stay that way over the past eighty years. This is ideal for those who are successful with that approach. Many people are not successful working the steps. Research into the psychology of addiction provides answers as to why twelve steps are not the way to recovery for some.
Pathways in the Brain
One result of extensive research is that addiction is a learned behavior that effects the brain. Pathways are forged that lead those struggling with addiction in a pattern of automatic responses to triggers. Those pathways can be altered with new behaviors and understanding regarding the science of addiction. This is similar to teaching a stroke victim new ways of moving or remembering basic daily activities. It can be done with lasting effect.
That is not to imply that a person in recovery will be free from obstacles, temptation, or relapses. It does mean that people are finding success after traditional approaches have failed them. The science-based approach does not disregard the twelve steps, it simply utilizes the ones that work without relying on the religious overtones.
Treatment programs for each participant include a customized combination of therapies and activities. The first is education about addiction, the science behind it, and how to look at the process differently. Moving from dependence to independence is a focus. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and related framework therapy (RFT) are options, as are transitional analysis and regular exercise. Meditation and yoga are not science-based but are offered if that is a preference.
One important perspective is that people are not broken. They do not need to be fixed in any way to get sober and be successful. The addiction trap is seeing recovery as something to do tomorrow instead of living with the attitude that it is always today. This is the building block upon which people begin to transform their lives.
Participants are treated with respect, understanding, tolerance, and encouragement by compassionate professionals who are also in recovery. The small setting allows individuals to get more attention and support. Treatment can last from four weeks to twelve weeks based on the progress of the individual.