I Don’t Believe in God: 3 Options for Secular Addiction Recovery

Imagine the sinking feeling some addicts and alcoholics get when they look on the wall of the meeting room to discover God or a Higher Power referenced again and again in the 12 steps.  While 12-step programs generally encourage those new in recovery to develop his/her own conception of a Higher Power, some die-hard atheists and agnostics have extreme difficulty stomaching this part of such an addiction recovery program.  Fortunately, non-12-step and secular program options are available.  Disbelief in the spiritual realm should not deter anyone from seeking recovery from deadly addiction.

If you or someone you love needs help, call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) today.

12-Step Overview

The 12 steps were developed when a gentleman named Bill Wilson began his personal journey from recovery from alcoholism.  Initially, he had been exposed to a religious organization called the Oxford Group.  This group adhered to a set of principles and ideals that Bill found helpful in his own recovery from alcoholism.  Some of the principles include:

  • Admission of wrong-doing
  • Making amends
  • Praying
  • Meditating
  • Working with others

These ideas established the foundation for the formation of the 12-steps.

SMART Recovery

Secular Addiction Recovery

You can recover, no matter your beliefs or spiritual background! Call our helpline to find a program today.

For many years in addiction treatment, 12-step programs were the only game in town.  However, many people struggled to find ongoing addiction recovery with a God-based concept.  In 1994, as an off-shoot of Rational Recovery, SMART recovery was born.  SMART recovery offers a 4 point program to aid those seeking a secular recovery option.  The four point recovery program is noted as follows:

  1. Building and Maintaining Motivation
  2. Coping with Urges
  3. Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
  4. Living a Balanced Life

Life Ring

Life Ring is another secular-based recovery option.  This abstinence-based recovery program focuses on support.  Meetings are offered world-wide, along with online support for addicts seeking to join the recovery journey.  Life Ring promotes sharing experiences to find what works for each individual instead of a prescribed, one-size-fits-all sort of program for everyone.  Chat rooms are even available for people who live in areas devoid of face-to-face meetings.

Types of Drug Addiction Treatment Programs

SOS Sobriety

S.O.S. stands for Secular Organizations for Sobriety.  This recovery program is similar to other secular options in its support structure.  The focus of this option is primarily one addict helping another.  SOS focuses on specific principles.  Some of these follow:

  • Sobriety requires abstinence from all alcohol and drugs.
  • Honest, clear and direct communication.
  • Members are anonymous.
  • Recovery includes scientific study of addiction.

Putting it All Together

Regardless of which ongoing recovery option you choose, your recovery can be placed on a solid foundation by attending rehab prior to a set schedule of meeting attendance.  SMART Recovery, Life Ring and SOS are all good options for follow-up after inpatient treatment.

Depending upon the type and level of addiction and behaviors, reaching out for help from qualified counselors and therapists can help plot a course for successful recovery.  Secular and spiritual options abound.  The important thing is to reach out for help today by calling 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) .


Life Ring (2017).  Life Ring:  Discover Life Ring.  Life Ring.  Retrieved on April 9, 2017 from:  http://lifering.org/

SMART Recovery (2017).  SMART Recovery:  Self-management for addiction recovery. SMART Recovery.  Retrieved on April 9, 2017 from:  http://www.smartrecovery.org/

SOS (2017).  SOS:  What we do.  SOS. Retrieved on April 9, 2017 from:  http://www.sossobriety.org/what-we-do