Alternatives to AA

in Detox
Published Sep 9, 2020

AA is thought to be one of the largest pathways of recovery. However, it is a common misconception that it is the only way to recover. In our recent blog — How Do People Recover From Addiction — we highlighted how people recover from substance use disorder and AA only makes up a proportion of the range of pathways used. There are many different ways to recover, from clinical addiction treatment to mutual-aid meetings. There are also a range of alternatives to AA.

The landscape of addiction and recovery in the US

An estimated 22 million Americans have successfully resolved an alcohol or drug problem. According to the National Recovery Study, researchers found that just over half of those who recovered used assisted pathways:

  • 45.1 percent used mutual-aid supports
  • 27.6 percent used formal Addiction treatment
  • 21.8 percent used emerging recovery support services, like recovery community organizations.

Researchers concluded that tens of millions of Americans have successfully resolved their substance use disorder using a variety of means. However, it is worth noting that for those with more severe substance use disorder more clinical intervention is needed. Typically the more acute addiction requires medical detox by a professional facility, like Gallus Medical Detox, providing specialist addiction treatment.

Despite there being 22 million Americans in recovery — a fact worth celebrating! — there still remains a staggering death toll each year due to drug and alcohol related deaths. 88,000 Americans die due to alcohol-related causes and 70,000 due to drug overdoses.

That’s why it is critical to provide quality treatment, like a medical detox facility, and educate about the range of pathways available.

Alternative pathways of recovery to AA

As we’ve alluded to, there are a range of clinical and non-clinical addiction treatment interventions available to people recovering from addiction.

Clinical addiction treatment

Clinical pathways of recovery mean just that: an intervention by an addiction treatment professional. That could be an addiction treatment center, medical detox facility, or a licensed professional like a social worker or clinical therapist.

Typically, those who require clinical intervention are people who have been using drugs and/or alcohol persistently over a period of time. It can be dangerous to detox at home (you can read more about the risks of at home detox here). If you are concerned about your use, or that of your loved one, and need guidance about making the right choice for you, read our blog How to Pick a Medical Detox Facility.

Important note: Please also be cautious that not all addiction treatment centers are created equal. Some facilities use protocols that are dated and they lack the clinical expertise in addiction treatment and emergency medicine to provide a seamless and comfortable detox. Dr Gallus is highly experienced in emergency medicine and medical detox, and acutely aware of the risks patients face during detox. That’s why he created The Gallus Method, which emphasizes medical safety and patient comfort.

Non-clinical pathways of recovery

For people leaving treatment and detox and those who don’t require detox (guidelines here), many find recovery support in mutual-aid meetings. However, that doesn’t mean AA.

There are a wide range of recovery meetings available and many are just as helpful. In fact, a recent study shows that other support groups, like SMART, LifeRing, and Women for Sobriety, were just as successful as AA.

This is a comprehensive list of AA alternative meetings available:


At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we bring compassion to the commotion. Peace to the pain. Empowerment to the powerless. If you or someone you know needs support with addiction problems, bring us your battle. Call us today and take the best, first step towards recovery: 720-704-1432