What are Addiction Recovery Programs and Do They Work?

December 18, 2014 Becky Doyle

Whether the program is LifeRing, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), SMART Recovery, or some other program, the first question of a newcomer is always the same: "Does this addiction recovery program work?" The answer to this simple question varies, depending on who you ask. Yet, there is one factor that can make or break a person's success in any recovery program.

What Makes an Addiction Recovery Program Work?

A program is only as effective as an individual's willingness to follow its guidance.

Any addiction recovery programs does not work for all, so which addiction recovery program will work for you? Read this comparison.

Some people will tell you "No, it doesn't work, and this is why . . ." and proceed to deliver a well-rehearsed speech criticizing the method or beliefs of a particular program. Meanwhile, others may take the opposite stance, campaigning heavily in favor of LifeRing, AA, or SMART Recovery and emphasizing why that particular program is the only reliable solution to your addiction troubles.

So which one is it? What program is the best choice?

Choosing the Best Addiction Recovery Program

The best choice of an addiction recovery program is whichever one suits your personality best.

That may seem like a cop-out statement, but humor me for a second and keep reading. Think of these programs as different clothing stores in a mall. Not every store has all the same styles, prices, sizes, or materials. And yet, they can all do the job of getting you fully dressed. Individuals may be drawn to one store over another for a variety of different reasons.

LifeRing, AA, and SMART Recovery all tout the same basic principle: We can help you achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.

That is where the similarities (apparently) end.

Comparing Recovery Programs

Each program is influenced by their own beliefs and organizational guidelines. For instance, one of the key differences between these programs is the concept and necessity of "a higher power," also known as God. If that seems confusing to you, I suggest reading this great article about integrating spirituality into addiction recovery.

From those types of influences, a culture develops within the community of each program, re-enforcing their unique and completely separate approaches to addiction recovery.

Personally, I have not tried all three of these programs and cannot speak to the culture of each one. Instead, I gleaned some key points that differentiate the programs from one another and put them in a table for easier comparison.

[caption id="attachment_2682" align="aligncenter" width="400"]Any addiction recovery programs does not work for all, so which addiction recovery program will work for you? Read this comparison. A quick comparison of three recovery programs to help you find the best addiction program for your recovery.[/caption]

You can also ​check out this HealthyPlace blog article on The Best Way to Quit Using Drugs for some other suggestions.

If you still have questions, the best solution is to attend a meeting in your area and ask an approachable looking person after the meeting, In the mean time, all of these groups have an online-presence with plenty of information available. Check out their resources and see if they can answer your questions.

You can find Becky on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and her website.

APA Reference
Doyle, B. (2014, December 18). What are Addiction Recovery Programs and Do They Work?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 22 from

Author: Becky Doyle

shelly SHAFFER ishaffer
May, 13 2019 at 4:04 pm

I live in Woodland Hills California. I suffer from severe anxiety and panic disorder. Is there a meeting for my issues somewhere close to my house. I appreciate your response.

August, 17 2016 at 1:21 pm

Where will I find a NA meeting venue in Bonteheuwel

Todd @ Addiction Solutions
January, 5 2015 at 12:18 am

We believe that Addiction Porgrams do work, and they benefit the individual alot. No matter how different programs are in the end their main obejective is to free an individual from addiction.

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