Alcohol abuse affects each of us differently. This means that each person must find a path that helps guide them towards recovery. So that they can find a way to heal and to break free of the constraints of alcohol whether it be to take back their life and to grow stronger with each alcohol test they pass.
My husband is an example of the type of person who didn’t benefit from the 12 step program. While these programs offered a great deal of structure, my husband struggled with the spiritual aspect of it. While he doesn’t necessarily shun the idea of the potential of a greater spiritual being out there, he also doesn’t support the idea of placing his trust in what he cannot see.
The AA Structure Doesn’t Suit Everyone
Another issue is he has an image he’d like to uphold. So attending regular meetings, regardless of how anonymous they are making them out to be. There is always the risk some of the other guys he is on the job sites with, or even a client may also attend. This would cause him a struggle and he doesn’t want to deal with that.
He also struggled with the structure that the program required. He has always been the type of guy who wants to allow life to take action and its own course. Daily structure and a routine that cannot be deviated from, is a struggle for him. It’s why he became self-employed years ago in the construction industry and has managed to be successful. However, the easy access to funds and the lack of structure also did contribute to his alcohol abuse too. He found he could sleep later without a set routine, so a night of drinking with friends at the bar had fewer repercussions than if he had a 7 – 4 routine job site requirement.
When he was popped for a DUI and ended up having to enroll in counseling and taking a weekly alcohol test at random, it honestly was a godsend. He realized that he needed to make changes in his life, and while I see in retrospect I enabled his drinking, I can be more supportive of him as he finds a method that works for his combating the alcohol abuse he suffers from. But I did tell him that he needed to do something.
Helping Yourself or a Loved One with an Alternative to Al-Anon
We found a few options that were more in line with what he was comfortable with. There was the CRAFT program that allowed him to learn about alcohol abuse and the impact on his life. At the same time, he could reduce substance use and learn the skills that not only allowed him to take better care of himself but to give him reasons to want to make the lasting changes even when he never had to take an alcohol test again.
Another option was the SMART program. He really liked this one. This allowed him to learn how to balance life, combat cravings that would pop up on occasion, and manage his thoughts and behaviors in a positive manner.
Since settling on a program, he has proven to be successful without the need for the 12 step programs. If another person finds that they aren’t going to benefit from AA or any 12 step program, don’t throw in the towel and give up. Instead, realize there are other options out there like my husband found and they really do work!