12 Step Alternative

Greener Pastures supports all paths to recovery, but we embrace a self-directed, individualized approach that is backed by science & research.

Why Choose a 12-Step Alternative Program?


Check out some popular alternatives to 12-Step groups:

SMART Recovery is a non-profit, nationwide organization, which offers free support groups to those addicts who are looking to break free from their addiction to alcohol or any other addictive behavior. Formed in 1994, the SMART Recovery program provides addicts with tools to maintain recovery that is based on scientific research.


Women for Sobriety is the first addiction and recovery support group founded just for women. Established in 1976, the group has over 300 chapters nationwide. The program is similar to Twelve Step-based groups in the fact that its core philosophy, called the Thirteen Acceptance Statements, addresses powerlessness in addiction and the development of emotional and spiritual growth. Groups are small by design with 6 to 10 women in each group and online meetings and forums are also available.

Refuge Recovery: Is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery community that practices and utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Drawing inspiration from the core teachings of the Four Noble Truths, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes.

 SOS, an international non-profit network, provides recovery programs for alcohol abuse, drug abuse and compulsive eating. Through empowering tools and local support groups, SOS gives credit to the individual for achieving and maintaining their sobriety.


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Why 12 Step Alternative Groups Work

If you're a substance user with a desire to change your habits, you've probably heard that rehab and 12 Step meetings are the only real options. If you've already tried a 12 Step program or stayed in an addiction treatment center, you might even blame yourself for your "failure", rather than considering a new approach. We're here to tell you that there's another way.

Greener Pastures is proud to offer a research-oriented, self-directed alternative to 12 Step programs and other traditional "addiction treatment" methods. Most of our guests have already tried programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and many of them have stayed at rehab centers that followed these programs' basic methodology, whether they claimed to be "alternative" options or not. Our clients choose Greener Pastures Recovery for a variety of different reasons, but there are a few factors that recur again and again.

If you're considering a non 12 Step approach, learn how the following reasons have led so many others to make the switch too.


We reject the negative, fear-based terminology and uniform, all-or-nothing approach of programs like AA. Instead of labeling our guests as "addicts" and focusing on the substances they "can't" have, we treat them as individuals and focus on the futures filled with goals and dreams they CAN have. We don't believe your past behaviors should define you, and we view all self-improvement as a positive thing. There's no "setback" or "relapse" that can reverse the progress you make with us.


12 Step programs revolve around Judeo-Christian philosophies and require participants to submit to a "higher power". Though they claim that this power can be a spiritual force or idea, rather than a specific deity, they still force substance users to have faith in an outside force. Of course, not everyone is religious. If your belief system is not centered around a monotheistic approach or Judeo-Christian principles, this approach won't just alienate you; it will also be largely ineffective, because you'll likely go through the motions without incorporating the core beliefs. This can be especially problematic for people who already feel marginalized by conservative religious communities.

At Greener Pastures we don't use 12 Step philosophies in any way nor does your success depend on adopting or adhering to any particular belief system. You will be able to incorporate any faith or belief system you may hold into your personal goals and plans as you progress through the program with equal success. If you have no particular formal belief system, you will have no problem either as our approach is dependent on you taking personal responsibility for your decision making and promotes free will and self-reliance.


At Greener Pastures total sobriety isn't the only goal you can strive for. In fact, we don't determine any of your goals for you. If you struggle to moderate your alcohol or drug use, it doesn't necessarily mean that lifelong sobriety is your only hope for happiness. Substance use is a chosen behavior, and some people work better with every choice available to them. Instead of banishing a specific behavior from your life  and perhaps making it more attractive as a result  we allow for all possibilities and you determine what is the best decision for you today, tomorrow, and down the road.


Many people will stop using substances on their own when they determine that something they value more is in jeopardy. Others will need a more structured program to take time away and get a plan together to help them change their behavior. 12 Step programs leave no room for self-control or independence. In fact, they believe that a few drops of alcohol are more powerful than years of sobriety and that no change is ever complete or permanent. That's simply not true. At Greener Patures, we believe in the power of change and, more importantly, we believe in you.



Greener Pastures Recovery

Portland, Maine 04103

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Disclaimer: All information presented at this website is for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, prevent, cure, or treat any disease. You should always consult a qualified health care professional on matters related to your health and well-being. More...

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