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truvia-7-alternatives-to-aa-12-step-groups-photo-of-people-in-a-AA-meetingAA and other 12-step groups are one of the most popular addiction-treatment methods in the world. An estimated 80% of all rehabilitation and treatment facilities offer 12-Step as an option or primary treatment method, most government programs utilize 12-Step, and most people are at least passingly aware of the existence of AA or 12-Step. But, while popular, AA isn’t for everyone. 12-Step is faith-based recovery (although not always Christian), typically asking individuals to be fully abstinent from drugs and alcohol, to rely on a higher power, and to follow a strict process of change and recovery. This process doesn’t work for everyone. Whether your reasons are necessary medical treatment for chronic illnesses such as pain or mental disorders, a dislike of the system, or atheism doesn’t matter so much as the fact that 12-Step may not be for you.

If this is the case, there are many options and alternatives to AA. While availability will heavily depend on the area, chances are, you can find a suitable alternative to 12-Step to help you stay clean or sober.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is possibly the most popular alternative to 12-Step groups in the world. The organization offers abstinence-based recovery centered around group meetups, with online and phone supplementation. Unlike AA, SMART is science-based, utilizes principles from therapy, supports individuals who require medication, and offers a more flexible approach to group meetings.

SMART utilizes a 4-point recovery model starting with motivation to change, moving into managing cravings, managing emotions and behaviors, and finding balance. Like AA, most SMART meetings run 90 minutes, following a pre-determined structure, with check-ins, agendas, and homework.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety

Secular Organizations for Sobriety or S.O.S. is an abstinence-based recovery program, fully geared around using non-religious or spiritual methods to help individuals completely quit drugs and alcohol. Originally developed as an alternative to AA, S.O.S. now offers self-help and assistance through thousands of autonomous groups across the world. Unlike AA and SMART, S.O.S. meetings are highly autonomous, many groups utilize different theories, and many commit to continued learning and utilizing new research as it is made available.

However, meetings are typically held in a structured way, typically starting with an introduction and announcements, group discussion, and group interaction. Most S.O.S. groups ask for donations to fund the group.

LifeRing Secular Recovery

LifeRing offers secular recovery groups with in-person and online meetup options, a wealth of literature, and a strong focus on personal empowerment. LifeRing does not require or necessitate that individuals be secular, but it does remove the element of spirituality from recovery. Instead, LifeRing helps individuals to recognize behaviors, thoughts, and emotions contributing to addiction and introduces tools, ideas, and accountability to help attendees overcome those problems. LifeRing calls this strengthening the Sober Self and weakening the Addict Self, with the help of peers, motivation, and science-based information.

LifeRing uses a “3 S” principle of “Sobriety”, “Secularity”, and “Self-Help”. LifeRing is also fully abstinence based, with no tolerance for drug use of any kind.

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Moderation Management

Moderation Managementtruvia-7-alternatives-to-aa-12-step-groups-photo-of-a-Coach-and-support-group-during-psychological-therapy is a recovery center built around reducing drug and alcohol usage rather than complete recovery. In this way, it’s less traditional than most AA alternatives, but a good solution for individuals who want to change a problematic lifestyle before it gets out of hand. Moderation Management is also a good solution for individuals who require pain medication for chronic pain.

Moderation Management functions as a self-help group, holding individuals accountable, asking for daily diaries of drug and alcohol intake, and recommending rehab if drinking or drug use gets out of hand. This means it can be an excellent option for individuals who want to monitor total usage, for example, if you are in recovery already but are taking medication for mental health disorders or chronic pain.

Most importantly, with a motto of personal responsibility, moderation management is about personal empowerment, taking control of your life, and actively working to put yourself in control of your own recovery.

Refuge Recovery

Refuge Recovery is a Buddhism-based recovery group offering non-theistic recovery alongside science-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Meetings are held where individuals discuss problems and personal goals, hold each other accountable, and learn. The group also contains a strong element of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation and living, alongside the Buddhist practices of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Like AA and other 12-step groups, Refuge Recovery meetings will typically start off with readings and learning, but it will then move into a meditation, followed by a Speaker sharing on a chosen topic, group sharing, and then further readings.

Refuge Recovery is not fully secular in that it heavily involves Buddhist spirituality. However, it removes the Christian element of 12-step and removes the need to answer to a higher power other than yourself, making it a popular alternative to AA.

The Phoenix Active Recovery

The Phoenix Active Recovery Group embraces science-based theories surrounding the use of exercise to maintain and strengthen recovery. The group claims to have over 26,000 members in the United States, who utilize physical exercise ranging from yoga to CrossFit as part of the group. Members still talk, support each other, and follow strict rules regarding sobriety and living drug-free, but primarily meet up to exercise in a group environment, discuss goals and hold each other accountability, and to enjoy life.

Ongoing Group Therapy

It can be important and powerful to attend a self-help group and participate in conversations led by your peers. However, there’s no reason you can’t do so inside the structure of clinical support. Group therapy exists in many forms and you will almost always have numerous options. In many cases, your rehab center will also offer ongoing therapy and support. In other cases, you can consult with your doctor to receive a recommendation to a therapist offering group therapy, or search for one yourself. Whatever you choose, the therapist should be aware of your goals, previous treatment, and that your primary reason for attending is ongoing accountability and maintaining recovery.

There are, of course, numerous additional alternatives to AA 12 Step Groups. Women can seek out female-only resources like Women for Sobriety. Online communities exist to offer support and accountability. And, many local communities offer support through meetings and organizations not affiliated with any organization.

Recovering from a substance use disorder is a journey that will take years. Joining a self-help group, seeking out support, and ensuring you are accountable to someone can help you on that journey. For many, social groups of peers in recovery is the best way to do so. Hopefully these alternatives to AA 12-Step groups will help you to find your place with your peers in recovery.

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Dr. Venice Sanchez

Ph.D., LMFT

Clinical Outreach Specialist, Europe Division

Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder, Panic Disorder, Bereavement, Acute stress disorder, and more. Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.

Jaime Askew

LMFT, LPCC

Clinical Director

Ms. Askew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been working in the field treating substance abuse and mental health issues for over twenty years.  She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University and was among the first to obtain the LPCC license in the state of California.  She has been providing clinical supervision and training to interns, conducting workshops, and is a certified Trauma therapy trainer.  Her areas of expertise include working with legal issues, court ordered treatment, family preservation, trauma therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family systems, social skills training, play therapy, and career/ vocational counseling.  Her passion is in advocating for at risk populations, holistic healing, and treating the underlying, core issues to help individuals achieve their maximum potential and happiness.  Jaime’s extensive experience and passionate leadership is of extreme importance to the overall TruVida clinical program, and her hands-on guidance of our clinical team insures that each patient is receiving optimal therapeutic treatment and care.

John Biroc

Consulting Psychologist

Dr. Biroc has a broad base of mental health and addiction recovery training and experience. He has supervised and taught therapists in various methodologies of effectively working with groups and individuals during therapy. He created and set up new group structures and trained staff in understanding the challenges of addiction recovery. He also helped develop curricula in Sociodrama and Psychodrama. Dr. Biroc is devoted to breaking paradigms that prevent progress in the path to lasting recovery. He is a member of the Nat’l Association of Marriage and Family therapists, and has a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, and a M.S. degree in Counseling from USC.

Dr. Nader Siahdohoni

Consulting Psychologist

Ph.D.

Dr. Nader is one our esteemed consulting Psychologists who provides our Clients with various breakthrough therapy’s that focus the functional systems including neurons, neurotransmitters, and certain brain waves that enable the way we think, behave, move, feel, and maintain homeostasis. Such therapy’s include NeuroMax neurofeedback, the state of art integrated technology in Neurofeedback, combinations of wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG), real time brain mapping and a unique and exceptional neuropathway therapy called “Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT)”. Dr Nader graduated from Walden University.

Tiffany Agra

Therapist

LMFT #103693

Ms. Agra is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who has been working with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the past seven years. Her other therapeutic approaches include Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Psychodynamic dream interpretation, and Gestalt Psychology. She has also been a Guest Speaker at other organizations. This unique background has made her effective at helping clients overcome the grip of substance addiction. Tiffany obtained two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s degree from the California State University, Long Beach. She has worked for both the county of Orange and Riverside, helping those who struggle with addiction and mental illness. In addition to providing evidenced-based approaches to the clinical program at Truvida Recovery, she brings her compassion as a fellow addict in recovery; living proof that we do get better!

Deborah Wieland

Therapist

MS, LMFT #96864

Ms. Wieland is an Eclectic EMDR Therapist, using R-TEP and G-TEP, and specializes in several modalities in treating Substance Use issues, Dual Diagnosis, Complex Trauma, and Severe Mental illness. Deborah also provides several types of therapy such as Psychodynamic, Rogerian, CBT, DBT, IFS, PICT, MI, Grief Recovery, Sand Tray, and Attachment Theory to help her patients achieve mental wellness and a sober lifestyle.

She has worked with Psychiatric Hospitals providing crisis interventions and psychotherapy to those struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and domestic violence. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanguard University of Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Cal Southern University. Deborah is an active member of EMDRIA, California Association Marriage Family Therapist (CAMFT), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and Psi Chi International Honors Society of Psychology.

Ashley McLaughlin

LMFT Therapist

Ms. McLaughlin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in EMDR therapy. She brings over ten years of experience working in the field of addiction to the Truvida Team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from University of California, San Diego. Ms. McLaughlin was trained in EMDR in 2013 and since has been helping individuals process through past traumatic experiences that have contributed to current struggles with substance abuse and mental health symptoms. Her extensive experience and passion for this field has helped guide individuals through the process of recovery in order to experience freedom from their past and a hope for their future.

Travis Taylor

Therapist

LMFT

Mr. Taylor is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in  Drug Abuse & Addiction,  PTSD, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality, Codependency, Coping Skills, Depression, Dual Diagnosis. Taylor uses an integrative approach geared towards understanding self, specifically what drives one’s thoughts and behaviors. He excels in helping patients identify automatic thoughts that lead to specific feelings and undesired actions. Another useful approach stems from understanding how thoughts and behaviors are fueled by former messages that have been consistently reinforced. Travis has over 6 years of therapeutic practice and obtained a Master’s degree at Vanguard University.

Kat Johnson

AOD Counselor, Group Facilitator

With almost 10 years experience working at treatment centers, Kat Johnson shares her wisdom and passion for balanced living, creative writing, and meditation and how each plays a role in early recovery and beyond. Certified as a CADC II, and supported by a bachelors in psychology, Kat’s infectious energy brings her groups to life. She is grateful for every opportunity to spread health and wellness.

Paige A. Chastain

AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Ms. Chastain has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict/alcoholic, bringing personal experience to both individual substance abuse and group counseling settings. She has worked in the field of addiction for several years, currently working as an addiction counselor and case manager.  Paige too, is a collaborative member of the multi-disciplinary team providing excellence in addiction services, working with clients from detox to intensive outpatient levels of care. She holds a strong skill-set in Psychoeducation, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.  She also has extensive experience with 12-step recovery programs. Paige is passionate about treating the client with empathy, compassion and respect throughout the client’s journey.  Paige holds an AA from Saddleback College, a BA from the University of California of Irvine and is a certified CADC-I holding memberships with CCAPP and NAADAC.

Lesley Richards

AOD Counselor, Interventionist

Ms. Richards began in this field of healthcare as a volunteer for substance abuse treatment centers and worked her way up from there. Lesley has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict. It is her strong belief that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to have a safe and sober life.  She is very compassionate about her work as an addiction counselor, and has a strong commitment in helping patients struggling with addiction in developing healthy coping mechanisms, and developing new positive behavioral habits.  Her Group counseling sessions are highly sought after within the TruVida program.  Lesley is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), National Certified Intervention Professional (NCIP), Nationally Certified Recovery Coach (NCRC), and is a member of the California Consortium of Addiction programs (CCAP), as well as the International Association of Addiction Professionals.

Christine Green

Treatment Facilitator

Christine Green is a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. Ms. Green is dedicated to helping patients struggling with substance abuse transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to body-in-motion fitness.

Christine passionately shares her 18 years experience with our clients by sharing her specialized Yoga & Energy Healing Program, which she has developed over the past 8 years of working directly with addicts and alcoholics. Her Yoga program facilitates integration of all the layers of life – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual with the primary initial goal of overcoming withdrawal symptoms and cravings from drug and alcohol dependency. TruVida is fortunate to have her as part of the team.

Allison Goode

Art in Recovery Counselor

Allison Goode is a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and professional artist for over 15 years, and has developed a very successful and trans-formative Art in Recovery program in treatment facilities through out California. Her passion for the fine arts and helping others recover from substance abuse addiction is contagious. Allison has a unique ability to connect with clients through the creative process helping clients set positive goals for their recovery. Ms. Goode has studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design, is a certified RADT1 technician, and is currently completing her CCAPP certification program.

Thomas Mladinich

Admissions Manager

Mr. Mladinich’s hard work ethic and dedication make him a key part of the TruVida team. Tom’s ability to connect and relate with others have allowed him to excel as admissions manager. His personal experience has allowed him to proudly serve those in need of recovery from addiction. Tom is eager to work with our clients and provide the experience, strength and hope that they need to find success in recovery.

Willie Sanchez

Operations Manager

Mr. Sanchez is a self-motivated professional with a positive attitude. He is actively involved in a 12 step fellowship. He effectively contributes to each Patient with their struggles with addiction. Willie is RADT1 certified counselor and has been educated at Long Beach City College.

Jose Flores

Program Manager

Mr. Flores is a highly motivated and hardworking team member with TruVida. He has several years of experience working in treatment helping individuals get back on track, achieving a lot of great results. He brings problem solving skills and experience to use everyday, and is proud and passionate about his profession as a RADT-I program manager.

Dr. Andrew Morrow

MD, Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist

Dr Morrow is a member of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology Psychiatry, who specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, thought disorders, other mental health issues, and substance abuse addictions. Having undergone extensive training in medical school, psychiatric residency and over 15 years of psychiatric practice, he is well trained in both psychotherapy and medication management of mental problems. Dr Morrow integrates psychological, and social characteristics with biological therapy to treat the whole person; mind, body, and soul, and it is with great humility that he pursues the goal of freedom from substance abuse addictions.

Dr Morrow conducted his undergraduate education at St. Louis University with a B.S. in Chemistry graduating summa cum laude. He then attended medical school at St. Louis University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training and served as chief resident at University of California, Irvine Medical Center.

Sound Bath Therapy

Truvida’s sound bath treatment is a very effective experiential therapy that uplifts one’s body, mind and soul. Our certified Sound Healer plays crystal singing bowls as well as the gongs to stimulate various chakra centers.

For more than 50,000 years, sound has been used to heal, and motivate the human soul.  During a sound bath or sound healing session, one’s brain waves & breathing become regulated and synchronized, producing a deep sense of peace & well being. Bathing in sacred sound allows us to powerfully resonate with frequencies that allow us to balance & heal on all levels.

Sound therapy allows professionals to tackle addiction at a brainwave level, thus making it much easier for patients to achieve a meditative state and come to terms with their problems. Sound Therapy redresses imbalances on every level of physiologic functioning and plays a positive and powerful role in the treatment of virtually any medical disorder.

Substance Abuse can also lead to the development of a co-occurring condition (or vice versa) and cleansing the body of a substance isn’t always enough for a complete and lasting recovery. Patients must also address the physiological and emotional issues that may have led to the destructive behavior in the first place.

Evidence shows that the outcomes of sound therapy are extremely positive and beneficial to patients’ behavior, especially when doctors pair them with other scientific methods, such as individual therapy, behavioral therapy, and so on.

Natural Benefits Of Sound Therapy:

TruVida’s Sound Therapy is performed by Andrew Hubbard who is a certified Sound Bath practitioner and conducted multiple college level studies in Sound Therapy and Music theory.

Robert (Bobby) Nicholl

Admissions and Interventions

Bobby has spent over 15 years in the development and operations of several residential treatment centers in California. He is a Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionist, as well as a Registered Addiction Specialist. Mr. Nicholl is personally involved in Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California. He says, “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.” As Bobby says: “I’ve recently learned what really matters the most in life: God, my relationships, and my integrity. There is nothing more important!”

“If you have a hole in your life and your very inner being (your soul) feels empty and hungry? Then welcome, to Celebrate Hope, you’re at the right place for healing and restoration of mind, body, and spirit; we will provide you with a dignified setting and surround you with loving people. You’re going to get everything you need and even some of your wants while Celebrating Hope. Everywhere you look you’re surrounded by people who believe in you and believe you have what it takes to recover, heal, and be WHOLE. We believe in and love you because He (God) first believed in and loved us.” From day one, Bobby has focused treatment services on “What is in the best interest of the client?” With that in mind, the treatment team develops individualized treatment plans with each client’s specific needs in mind.

Charlie Grooms

Christian Pastor

Pastor Charlie leads our Christ – centered addiction treatment program dealing with men and women who are seeking restoration from drug and alcohol addiction through our Lord Jesus Christ. Our program is based entirely on the Word of God, the Bible, and all counsel originates from it. Our experience has been that with a solid grounding in the Bible and good Christian living skills, numerous men and women have been able to become productive, vital members of their community. Our primary focus is to establish, or strengthen, a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only way to experience true freedom from the bondage of the sin of addiction

Charlie is originally from Columbus, Ohio where he attended a Christian college and then traveled across the country to California to continue his education at Bethel School of Ministry and graduated in 2015. Charlie has conducted interviews with TBN and other nation wide radio stations.

Michael Rosales

Case Manager – Christian Minister

Bio coming soon!

Dr. Edward Kaufman

MD, Psychiatrist

Psychiatrist

Dr. Kaufman graduated from Medical school at Thomas Jefferson University, and completed residency at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Kaufman specializes in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine and has been practicing for over 50+ years. He has recently been selected to the 2017-2018 Best Doctors in America List based upon polling of over 40,000 physicians nationwide. Dr. Kaufman has also been distinguished in each of the last 13 bi-annual reviews conducted for the distinguished “Best Doctors” list, and has been selected as the Outstanding Psychiatrist in Orange County by the Orange County Psychiatric Association.

During the course of his remarkable medical career, he has served as president for the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the editor for the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. He has authored three books, edited five more, and written over 200 articles and book chapters on family therapy, alcoholism, drug addiction, anxiety and depression. Dr. Kaufman was a full professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, where he served as Director of Psychiatric Education, Director of Family Therapy Training and Chemical Dependency Program Medical Director. Dr. Kaufman blends his knowledge of psychology, family systems and psychopharmacology to meet the individual needs of Truvida Recovery’s clients.

Kim Brassett

LMFT Therapist

Ms. Kim Brassett is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She brings over 7 years of experience to the Truvida Team, and is EMDR Therapist. Her style is warm, supportive & positive and her philosophy is healing happens when the therapeutic relationship is collaborative, honest, compassionate, respectful and caring. She comes from a place of personal experience and a genuine desire to help make a significant improvement in the lives of the people with whom she works with. She provides a unique therapeutic approach to treat a wide variety of conditions including addiction & recovery, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, sexual abuse, trauma, grief and loss, relationship issues and life transitions. Kim works with clients from various cultures and backgrounds as well as all ages, and strives to create a supportive, safe environment where one can share their experiences, emotions, challenges.

Leah Dean

LMFT Therapist

Ms. Leah Dean is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is Certified in Dual Disorders. She brings over ten years of experience to the TruVida Team. Her therapies concentrate on Drug and Alcohol abuse/use, grief and loss, blended families, Dual Diagnosis, divorce recovery, Parent/Child Conflicts, grief and loss, interpersonal relationships, stress management, and Gay & Lesbian issues. Her goal it that each of her clients enrich their personal and relational growth as well as enhance their emotional healing. She utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and believes that mind, body and spirit are essential components to healing. Her Psychotherapy provides the ceremonial time/space for honoring one’s movement thru important life passages. Leah utilize the 12-Step program/concepts to help deal with the difficult issues of drug and alcohol abuse/use, and incorporates spirituality as well as self actualization, and mindlfullness.