You’ve probably heard of Alcoholics Anonymous. For those struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, AA and its sister groups are some of the most popular programs for getting sober. In fact, as of 2019, over 2 million people worldwide went to AA.

What most people don’t know is that there are a lot of alternatives to AA. If you have a drug or alcohol problem but don’t want to go to AA, keep reading. There are still plenty of ways to get the treatment you need and start the healthy lifestyle you deserve.

Why Should You Get Sober Without AA?

AA is an effective treatment program. There’s no denying it. It’s helped millions of people fighting addiction. It’s not for everyone, though.

For example, a lot of people don’t feel comfortable with the religious aspects of AA. AA isn’t explicitly religious, but it did grow out of a Christian organization called The Oxford Group. Some people may prefer something more secular.

Similarly, people might feel out of place. Depending on where you live or where the meetings are, AA groups might lean heavily toward one age, cultural background or gender.

Finally, it could just be a matter of logistics. Some people might be too far away to get to a meeting. They might have commitments at the same time or childcare responsibilities.

If you don’t think AA is the right choice for you, don’t worry. There are many other ways to get and stay sober.

7 Ways to Get Sober Without AA


In some cases, there may be medication that can help with a drug or alcohol problem. In fact, the FDA has approved three drugs for treating alcoholism.

Of course, medication is rarely the solution by itself. Trained professionals can help you integrate whatever medication is available into your treatment program.

Regular Exercise

Keeping in shape is a huge part of getting clean. Studies show that certain brain chemicals play a role in addiction. Regular exercise helps balance these chemicals. It also promotes confidence and structure, which are important to recovery.


Using meditation, you can discover the triggers behind your addiction. That way you can be aware of your responses to these triggers. You can control your behavior to stay clean.

Setting Boundaries

Drug and alcohol abuse is often caused by problems in personal relationships. Codependency and controlling and passive-aggressive behavior are at the root of many addictions. An important part of recovery is addressing these issues and setting boundaries.


Even if you choose not to do AA, that doesn’t mean you have to fight your addiction alone. There are many experts ready to help you. A counselor can address your personal issues and hold you accountable for your addiction.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is one of the best ways to treat drug or alcohol abuse. This scientifically proven treatment teaches you how to regulate your emotions and end self-destructive cycles. You take control of your mind back from addiction.

Alternative Group Programs

There are also several other group support programs out there. These might be more in line with your personal beliefs or goals.

  • SMART Recovery: SMART stands for “Smart Management and Recovery Training.” It focuses on the individual and finding the power within yourself.
  • LifeRing: This program uses support groups to share practical advice and experiences for getting sober and staying that way.
  • Women for Sobriety (WFS): Since more men suffer from drug and alcohol abuse than women, many women feel out of place in the usual programs. That’s why this one gets women together to support each other.
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS): Some people don’t like the religious aspect of many addiction treatment programs. SOS uses the same tools but with a secular philosophy.
  • Moderation Management (MM): This program focuses on moderation instead of abstinence. They have a network of support groups to help you make positive lifestyle changes.

Find a Treatment Program That’s Right for You

As you can see, there are many alternatives to AA. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s important to find the right program. With so many options, it’s always a good idea to talk to professionals. They can help you decide what treatment methods are right for you. Search our rehab directory to find the nearest treatment center to you.


Alcoholics Anonymous. (n.d.). Estimates OF A.A. Groups and Members as of January 1, 2019.

Brady, K. T., & Randall, C. L. (1999). Gender differences in substance use disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 22(2), 241-252.

McHugh, R. K., Hearon, B. A., & Otto, M. W. (2010). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Substance Use Disorders.

Zgierska, A., Rabago, D., Chawla, N., Kushner, K., Koehler, R., & Marlatt, A. (2009). Mindfulness Meditation for Substance Use Disorders

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