How to Choose Between Rehab vs AA
Finding one’s path on the road to recovery can be a difficult and frustrating task. Whether they are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, finding treatment is the only way to take back control of their lives. Whether they decide to seek help at a rehab facility vs AA, this decision to seek help is very important.
Everyone’s path to recovery will be unique as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to treatment that works for all addicts. Choosing to overcome addiction will depend on a number of factors. But with a wide selection of tools and resources, let’s review the differences between rehab and AA programs for addiction treatment.
What is A.A.?
One of the ways addicts can seek help is through a 12-step program first popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, AA is considered to be an international mutual aid fellowship whose goal is to help fellow alcoholics stay sober and help others achieve sobriety.
As part of an intricate support system and regularly planned meetings among its participants, addicts are encouraged to take in the 12-step program. This program is a list of guiding principles outlining how alcoholics can be freed from their addiction, compulsion to drink.
To this day, the 12-step program is an integral part of AA and has helped countless people find their path to recovery. In fact, some treatment centers will often encourage substance abuse addicts to participate in an AA group to help maintain their sobriety.
While AA is most often specific for alcoholics, the 12-step program has been applied towards other addictions such as for drugs and sexual addictions. The guiding principles as part of the 12-step program, in theory, are still relevant as a plan of action to overcome addiction.
It is incredibly difficult to gauge the success rate of AA and similar groups, but about five million people attend 12-step programs for drug and alcohol abuse every year.
Is AA Considered Addiction Treatment?
Although rarely acknowledged, addiction is an illness just like diabetes, heart disease, and so on. When treated as an illness, there is a lot of research and science which supports the idea that addiction can be most effectively treated with a medical and behavioral approach.
For example, when someone is diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, maintaining a patient’s A1c levels are critical to keeping them healthy. Support groups have shown to help people with diabetes have greater control of their diets and glycemic levels. But they most often are receiving medical treatment alongside support from peers.
Contrast to those dealing with substance abuse, support groups like AA are seen as a form of treatment, when they are technically not. For maintenance and long-term sobriety, 12-step programs can be extraordinarily tool and support system for addicts. Unfortunately, AA and other programs like it cannot be considered an alternative form of treatment for medical treatment.
AA and similar programs may not be appropriate for everyone because the programs rely on support from a designated sponsor and an openness to becoming highly spiritual. If there is no sponsor or the patient is secular, the program is only doomed to fail.
How To Decide Between Rehab vs AA
Of the 23 million Americans who need to seek addiction treatment, only 11% percent receive treatment at a specialty facility. So while AA can be an instrumental part of overcoming addiction and staying substance free, it is less effective if not combined with evidence-based medical treatment.
Unlike AA, addiction treatment therapies administered at rehabilitation centers aren’t restricted to a single type of treatment. If an addict seeks help from a rehab facility, they will receive specialized care, just as their personal doctor would work with them to find a treatment plan which works for them.
When it comes to considering AA vs rehab, here are a few considerations:
1) Determine your level of support: Overcoming addiction can be a tough road. The more built-in support you have around you, the better equipped you might be to handle it through a program like AA instead of choosing a recovery program. But keep in mind that while support will be critical, this is not a substantial replacement for treatment from a licensed medical professional.
2) Review your schedule: Recovery centers will require a full-time investment for several weeks to allow you to build new habits for a healthy life. Choosing AA can give you more freedom for any scheduling issues that you may encounter.
3) Understand your own limitations: Some people work better with the accountability of daily groups and counseling that recovery centers can provide. Attending AA will still provide a level of that accountability but will also require a degree of personal persistence that will push you down the road to your recovery.
AA is Only One Part of The Equation
As widespread as alcohol abuse and addiction are across the globe, it’s no surprise why Alcoholics Anonymous has more than 100,000 groups throughout the world and over two million members. AA should not be dismissed because even medical professionals agree that programs like AA are instrumental to long-term sobriety.
However, it cannot be stressed enough that AA will rarely be the process by which all addicts can achieve sobriety in the first place. In a recent membership survey, it was reported that 59% of its members were referred to AA after receiving treatment from a rehab facility.
That fact is that nothing will ever truly serve as a replacement for personalized medical treatment from a respected rehabilitation center.
If you’re struggling with addiction and want to take the next step in finding help, we can help. As one of the premier treatment centers in the U.S. and worldwide, FHE Health can get you the help you need. Talk with our knowledgeable and friendly staff today.