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Finding Alternative Support Groups Compared to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Finding Alternative Support Groups Compared to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

As an executive or upper-level manager, you likely tackle strict schedules, meetings, deadlines, and more on a daily basis. Executive positions come with a higher level of pressure and demand than other positions, primarily because major decision-making relies on this role. For executives seeking support for an addiction, having the time and energy to find not only a support group that’s appropriate for professionals, but also one that meets the needs of the individual can simply be too demanding. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has long been considered as an appropriate form of support by many in the addiction recovery world, but it’s become less popular amongst those who prefer alternative views (and non-religious based).

Alternative support groups are becoming increasingly evident for those seeking a unique perspective or shift from the 12 steps that are based on religion; some programs may focus more on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), while others may simply have a different protocol for group meetings. The following are some excellent alternatives to AA, which executives may find beneficial:


  • LifeRing – abstinence-based program that hones in on personal growth, development, refinement, sharing personal strategies to continue abstinence and build on one’s life in recovery.
  • Women for Sobriety – a non-profit organization to assist women in recovery from addiction using 13 acceptance statements which encourage emotional and spiritual growth.
  • SMART Recovery – for professionals, a 4-point program is available to help professionals obtain the tools they need while also being able to focus on their responsibilities. The points include: 1) Building and Maintaining Motivation, 2) Coping with Urges, 3) Managing Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors, and 4) Living a Balanced Life. Resources are available online as well as in person.


A 2016 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to explore the effectiveness of alternative, non-12-step support groups with individuals recovering from alcohol use disorders (AUDs) as well as perceptions of those attending AA. A total of 651 people participated in the study, completing surveys regarding their attendance, perceived level of satisfaction with these groups, as well as cohesion. Researchers found the following:

  • Women for Sobriety and LifeRing members were most likely to be older, married, and lower on overall lifetime drug and psychiatric severity
  • LifeRing and SMART Recovery members were least likely to endorse the most stringent abstinence goal
  • Despite lower levels of attendance in non-12-step programs, all members of alternative support groups reported higher levels of involvement, satisfaction, and cohesion compared to 12-step members

If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about treatment programs to best suit your needs. It’s never too late for you to begin your journey to recovery.

Created by professionals for professionals, our Professionals Treatment Program utilizes industry proven practices for fully restoring professionals back to better health. We serve multiple industries with our specifically catered programs and services, providing life changing care for addiction and co-occurring issues. Call us today to book an appointment: 855-422-4129

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