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Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder: Where Do I Start?

March 8, 2024

By: Emily DeWalt, Prevention Specialist


An addiction to alcohol puts a lot of stress on your body. The addiction might also make it difficult to take care of everyday tasks, keep a job, or maintain healthy relationships. Taking the step to get help for an alcohol use disorder is a huge decision, and should not be taken lightly. But this decision presents a challenge – figuring out how and where to get help. With so many resources for sobriety available, it can be extremely overwhelming for someone with an alcohol addiction and their loved ones to choose what’s best. In this week’s blog, we will give you a tool that can help you narrow down program options as well as share information about a few unique Arizona-based and national programs that may fit your specific recovery needs.   


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has developed a search engine that can make finding an alcohol addiction recovery program easier. The tool was developed to simplify the process of searching for help without endorsing or promoting any particular clinician or program. The Navigator emphasizes evidence-based approaches to treatment that is firmly grounded in scientific research. Not only does the Navigator help you find the right program, but it also educates the user about how to spot quality treatment during their search. Informative and user friendly, the Navigator is a great place to start for anyone on a journey towards sobriety.


Many alcohol recovery centers claim to have unique treatment methods for individualized care, but three locations in particular stand out above the rest. The homepage of Canyon Crossing Recovery’s website states that their efforts go towards “revitalizing minds and restoring lives, one woman at a time.” As an addiction treatment center designed exclusively for women, Canyon Crossing Recovery takes a gender-specific approach to treatment, which has been found to be an effective approach to addressing substance use disorders. The recovery center is located in Prescott, Arizona and offers many unique therapeutic experiences including equine, experiential and adventure therapy. For more information please visit: https://www.canyoncrossingrecovery.com/


The Meadows Outpatient for Adolescents, Scottsdale states that their program “provides life-changing outpatient treatment for teens 13-17, addressing trauma, substance use and mental health issues.” As the only outpatient treatment center for adolescents within the company, this location provides services specific for minors that may be experiencing alcoholism. Program features include individual and group counseling, mindfulness and somatic experientials, and relapse prevention. To learn more please visit: https://meadowsoutpatient.com/


In the far southeast corner of Arizona lies the town of Elfrida (shown above), where Seven Arrows Recovery is located. With its remote location, this treatment facility “ensures lasting recovery in a small group setting, nestled at the base of the tranquil Swisshelm mountains.” Seven Arrows Recovery is a great option for those wanting to find sobriety in a rural setting that provides spiritual healing in addition to traditional forms of treatment. This treatment center offers a program that weaves indigenous ceremonies into other recovery practices. You can learn more about Seven Arrows Recovery at: https://sevenarrowsrecoveryarizona.com/


After receiving professional treatment for alcoholism, attending support groups to help maintain sobriety is highly encouraged. The most widely known support group is the peer-led Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), famous for its 12-step program. Although many people have greatly benefited from participation in A.A. groups, their support program comes with criticism. A 2024 article called “Alcoholics Anonymous: Why AA Is Harmful To Some” (reviewed by Dr. Susan Julius, MD) describes concerns regarding the language used in A.A. meetings and the reliance on spirituality or a higher power. Those attending A.A. meetings are referred to by their peers as “alcoholics” with a “disease” that can never be overcome. These terms suggest that they are part of one’s identity, and an identity that is heavily stigmatized. Therefore, A.A. members may believe they will always be burdened by this identity as an “alcoholic”, making abstinence their only option.


The 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous also puts heavy emphasis on surrendering to a higher power to overcome an addiction to alcohol. This does not resonate for all people in recovery. In 1985, Jim Christopher founded the Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) as an alternative to the traditional A.A. model. Like A.A., SOS is free to all participants and keeps members anonymous. SOS differs in that members do not follow the notion that a spiritual entity is needed in order to maintain abstinence. SOS focuses on individuals acknowledging their addiction, accepting their addiction, and prioritizing behaviors that will help maintain sobriety. You can find more information about SOS at: https://www.sossobriety.org/



There are many other alternatives to A.A. On a national level, Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is an evidenced-informed recovery method that uses therapeutic techniques to help guide meetings. Unlike the peer-led A.A. and SOS support groups, SMART requires facilitators to complete a training in order to lead a meeting. For more information about SMART, you can visit:  https://smartrecovery.org/


For some, complete and total sobriety is not what works best for them. Another outlet for support is through Moderation Management. This non-profit provides peer support for anyone wanting to change their relationship with alcohol, whether moderation or abstinence. In these groups, members set their own drinking goals that are realistic to their circumstances, while following specific guidelines and limits set by Moderation Management. To learn more, visit: https://moderation.org/


There is no one-size-fits-all resource for those recovering from an alcohol use disorder. By highlighting some options, we hope that it will help you or your loved ones make an informed decision on getting help.



 

Thanks for reading!



Sources

1.      National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (2024). NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator. Last viewed March 8, 2024. Available at: https://alcoholtreatment.niaaa.nih.gov/

2.      Townsend Recovery Center (2024). Alcoholics Anonymous: Why AA Is Harmful To Some. Last viewed March 8, 2024. Available at: https://www.townsendla.com/blog/aa-is-harmful-to-some


Images

1.      Envato Market (2024). Old Fashioned Compass. . Last viewed March 8, 2024. Available at: https://photodune.net/item/oldfashioned-compass/25078168

2.      Seven Arrows Recovery (2024). Scenery of Elfrida, Arizona. Last viewed March 8, 2024. Available at: https://sevenarrowsrecoveryarizona.com/our-program/

3.      Willing Ways (2024). Cartoon of an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting. . Last viewed March 8, 2024. Available at: https://www.willingways.org/treatments/supportive-counseling/12-steps-program/

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