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Can I Still Find Help If I’m Not Religious?

Exploring treatment and recovery options that don’t have religion as a basis can feel daunting, but it opens up a whole new world of possibility in treatment. Intertwining religion with addiction treatment is not a new concept. It originated even before Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many religious groups emphasize caring for those who need it most and originated with good and wholesome intent. However, there are other religious groups that are centered around shame, which can feel demoralizing when you’re trying to heal. 

For some, the concept of religion and succumbing to the control of a higher power is freeing and empowering. For others, the constructs of religious entities feel suffocating instead of liberating. Some may also dislike religious constructs for personal reasons, such as trauma or growing up in a religious household. You may also identify as an atheist and know you can’t heal with a religion-based 12-Step program. That’s okay. You are worth helping, and there are treatment options for you that are not based on religion.



Therapy is a great way to connect with your inner self and work through past traumas as well as traumatic experiences that occurred during substance abuse. Many therapies can help to treat addiction, but there are a few that are especially helpful.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Cognitive behavioral therapy is greatly beneficial for those who struggle with addiction and have any traumas in their life they are working through. CBT requires the patient to identify what is causing the most significant issues in their life (for example, what are your triggers?) and be aware of how they affect you. With the help of a therapist, you learn how to identify inaccurate or negative thinking about these traumas and reshape your thinking to help you heal. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – Dialectical behavioral therapy is more of a treatment program than one specific treatment. According to a study published by  Psychiatry, DBT uses five major steps: 1) Enhancing capabilities (emotion regulation, structure, boundaries, etc.), 2) Generalizing capabilities (working with a therapist to try new techniques and accomplish goals), 3) Improving motivation and reducing dysfunctional behaviors, 4) Enhancing and maintaining capabilities and motivation, and 5) Structuring environment (further reinforcing good behaviors and positive results with proper training and structure). 
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) EMDR is an eight-stage treatment approach that takes a comprehensive approach to trauma processing. EMDR focuses on images and eye movements, helping the patient reprocess traumas and triggers that can be debilitating to everyday life. A study published in Permanente Journal lists all eight EMDR stages and their purpose for the client.
  • The Hero’s Journey to Self-Discovery and Acceptance – Also known as the hero’s journey, this type of self-discovery and acceptance therapy follows Carl Jung’s teachings of the hero’s journey and how they can be applied to your trauma. What can you learn, and whose help do you need to be the hero in your own life? 
  • Individual Therapy – You may be facing trauma from things that happened during your active addiction or before it began. Talking with a therapist helps identify your personal mental health needs and how you can work through them.
  • Family/Couples Therapy – Sometimes, your loved ones can help you, but sometimes they can trigger you. Therapeutic sessions for families or couples can help all of you heal from addiction and family trauma. 


SMART Recovery

SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a science-based program for anyone who needs help and encouragement through non-religious treatment. SMART focuses on a four-point program that can help anyone struggling with addiction. SMART Recovery offers lessons, podcasts, meetings, webinars, support groups, and more to help with your treatment and recovery.


Residential Treatment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, residential, outpatient, hospitalization, and intensive treatments are among the most effective for battling addiction. There are many residential treatment centers that focus on holistic or therapy-based healing rather than religion. Some even offer in-house 12-Step programs that are not religious for those who don’t want religion to be a part of their healing.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) Treatment Locator is a great tool for finding help near you. Addiction can affect anyone, and there is no shortage of treatment facilities, including those without a religious component. Find your treatment center today. 


Addiction is scary. If you’re someone who doesn’t want a religious base in your healing, that’s okay. Traditional 12-Step programs for addiction began with religion, but today there are many non-religious options available to you. At RECO Intensive, we offer a comprehensive and customizable treatment plan that is catered specifically to your individual needs. Our professional staff includes therapists, doctors, nurses, and specialists who are trained to help you, whatever your situation may be. Our experienced alumni can also offer help, guidance, and advice for navigating treatment and RECOvery. We understand that religious-based treatment is not ideal for everyone, and we want to help you find what treatment will serve you best. At RECO Intensive, we offer many types of therapy, including CBT, DBT, EMDR, and family/couples/individual therapy. We also offer the Hero’s Journey to self-acceptance and discovery, as well as our famous Adventure Therapy that includes hikes, equine therapy, rope courses, and other adventures. Call RECO Intensive today at (561) 464-6533. Let’s get back to a brighter future. 

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