What Are the Best Alcoholic Recovery Programs?


Going through alcohol addiction treatment is a complex process, but maintaining long-term alcohol abstinence is arguably more challenging. That’s why alcoholic recovery programs exist, as they help recovering people maintain their sobriety through a series of steps, meetings, resources, and peer support.

This guide provides some insights into the steps taken to recover from alcoholism, and reviews seven alcohol recovery programs that can work for people looking to maintain their sobriety.

Understanding Types of Alcoholism Recovery Programs

All alcohol recovery programs have the same goal, but the means by which they achieve it can differ. Generally, there are two primary approaches to recovery: 12-step and non-12-step programs. Here are the differences between them:


12-step programs emphasize powerlessness in the face of alcohol and drug abuse. They center the reliance on a higher power for recovery. Participants must admit that they can’t get over their addiction by themselves before the treatment begins.

Non-12-step programs emphasize individual responsibility and self-control, leading the participant to understand that, despite needing external help, the road to sobriety begins with them.


12-step programs follow 12 guided steps to help guide spiritual growth and acceptance along with peer support. Non-12-step programs often utilize evidence-based approaches like behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness.


12-step programs offer meetings that are typically free to attend. However, despite not having mandatory membership fees, the groups may have a donation option during meetings to cover running expenses like rent, paperwork, coffee…etc.

Non-12-step programs can also be free but may include professional-led therapy groups, online resources, and workshops, which usually involve fees.

7 Alcoholic Recovery Programs to Help People Sober

Here are seven recovery programs to cover the different needs of struggling individuals:

1. Alcoholics Anonymous

AA is among the most popular 12-step programs to recover from alcohol use disorder. According to Stanford Medicine, after evaluating 35 studies involving 145 scientists, Alcoholics Anonymous was almost always more effective than psychotherapy in treating alcohol dependence.

Another 2019 study on untreated problem drinkers concluded that 70% of those who attended over 27 weeks (just over 6 months) of sustained AA meetings were no longer dependent on alcohol for the following 16 years. The study also found that those with lower durations of meeting attendance than 27 weeks had lower rates of sobriety.

The reason behind this is AA’s philosophy of connecting people who struggle with alcohol addiction together, making them feel like they are in the same boat. Members end up providing each other with emotional support and various tips to prevent each other from rebounding.

AA is also affordable, as all meetings are free to attend, and it’s accessible throughout the entirety of the United States and tens of other countries worldwide.

You may contact Alcoholics Anonymous through their email system or their number at 212-870-3400.

2. SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery is a global, non-profit organization utilizing evidence-based approaches to overcoming alcohol and substance addictions. It relies on a 4-point program that emphasizes building skills and tools to manage the urge to drink.

Since it’s a non-12-step program, it focuses on empowering individuals to overcome their own dependence. This process is supported by evidence-based mental health therapies and strategies drawn from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy.

To find a suitable meeting, type in your city and state and search. SMART Recovery is available in the USA and Canada.

3. LifeRing Alcoholism Recovery Program

LifeRing is another non-12-step program that provides free alcohol therapy, both online and in-person. Its self-directed approach provides a sense of ownership to the struggling person, allowing them to overcome their dependency without giving in to a higher power.

The meetings welcome communities all over the world regardless of background or beliefs, and being free removes the financial strain from the recovery process.

Their Sober-Self program follows a 3-step philosophy of sobriety, secularity, and self-help. Much like Alcoholics Anonymous, anonymity is crucial in the meeting space.

You can connect with LifeRing through their email system. Click on “Connect with our team” at the top of the screen, and it’ll open your email app whether you are using a computer or a phone. You can also browse their meetings to see if they’re a good fit.

4. Celebrate Recovery

Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a unique, faith-based program aimed at individuals with various substance misuse issues that include alcohol addiction.

Technically, it is a 12-step program since it involves admitting powerlessness over addiction. However, integrating these steps with the Christian faith principles and Bible verses makes religion a strong contributor to the recovery process.

As such, it requires believing in Jesus Christ as a higher power. That doesn’t mean that other religions aren’t welcome. CR accepts all religious backgrounds, but non-Christians may not get the most benefit out of the program.

The meetings are anonymous and are held weekly. They combine the 12 steps with music, testimonies, and teachings to foster connection and spiritual growth. Some of the groups are specialized to address other issues like codependency, trauma, or family support.

CR has over 35,000 groups in over 90 countries, with a strong presence in the United States.

You can quickly find a meeting near you through their map system, which can detect your location (with your permission) and find the nearest meeting.

5. Women for Sobriety

WFS is a non-profit, non-religious, non-12-step program specifically designed for women struggling with alcohol dependence and substance abuse.

While mixed groups are acceptable to most people, some women may find it difficult to open up in front of male strangers.

The core services of the program include online and in-person meetings, the New Life Program, and a message board for connecting with other members – all free of charge. Optional paid services are also available, including books, workbooks, and online courses.

WFS has over 600 regional support groups across the United States and various other countries. Their website is available worldwide, allowing any woman to access their online meetings regardless of her background.

Reach out to WFS at 215-536-8026 or through their email system: contact@womenforsobriety.org 

6. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS Alcoholism Program)

SOS is a non-12-step program that emphasizes personal responsibility and discards surrendering control through meetings with peers.

The meetings are free and open to anyone struggling with alcohol abuse, but donations are encouraged to keep the groups running. The program itself doesn’t utilize evidence-based professional therapy, but it doesn’t prohibit members from seeking paid services outside of SOS.

Its secular approach is more suitable for individuals who prefer a non-religious approach to recovery.

SOS has over 600 autonomous groups worldwide, with meetings in all 50 US states and tens of other countries. You don’t even need to be physically there, as online meetings are constantly held. You can check the online groups through their website.

You can contact SOS through their phone number at 314-353-3532 or through their email system.

7. Moderation Management

Moderation Management (MM) is fairly different from other recovery programs on this list because it doesn’t need complete abstinence from alcohol to welcome a member.

It’s a non-profit organization that provides a non-judgemental peer-support community to help members manage their problematic drinking.

MM doesn’t rely on the concepts found in 12-step programs and focuses instead on private chat rooms, forums, and Facebook groups.

These groups are free of charge, but you may opt for paid individual therapy with a licensed therapist to personalize strategies to handle alcohol consumption.

You can reach out to MM through their email system.

Maintaining Sobriety is Possible if You Start Your Recovery Journey Today

Alcohol treatment and maintaining sobriety go hand in hand in the recovery support journey. The most important part is to seek treatment as soon as possible.

If you or someone you love feel lost and don’t know how to start on your path, consider booking an appointment with CuredNation.

Our licensed clinicians provide various online treatment options to help with alcohol and substance use disorders.


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