Save Our Selves, or Secular Organizations for Sobriety, was founded in North Hollywood, Calif., in 1985 as an alternative to AA. The largest secular sobriety group in the world, it has 100,000 members, including believers who want to keep religion separate from recovery as well as atheists, secular humanists and non-Christians. It respects diversity, welcomes skepticism and encourages rational thinking and emotions. It makes sobriety a separate issue from religion and does not oppose 12-step programs.
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LifeRing Secular Recovery International
LifeRing Secular Recovery International in Oakland, Calif., was founded in 1999 as a secular alternative to AA. LifeRing does not subscribe to any particular theory of alcoholism/addiction but is held together by a common commitment to abstinence.
Women for Sobriety
Women for Sobriety in Quakertown, Pa., describes itself as the first national self-help program for women alcoholics. It was founded by the late Jean Kirkpatrick in 1975 with the belief that women with addictions had different psychological needs in recovery than men. This notion stemmed from the fact that at that time, men had better recovery success rates. It has 13 affirmations, called the “new life program.”
Rational Recovery in Lotus, Calif., is a program of independent recovery based on abstinence and banishing of self-doubt. It uses the Addictive Voice Recognition Technique, which is taught on the program’s web site in eight 90-minute sessions. RR has no groups, meetings or treatment centers and maintains that its technique is incompatible with AA and other 12-step programs because they foster dependence and discourage self-discovery. RR maintains that it fits well with any religion except 12-step programs.
Self-Management and Recovery Training
Self-Management and Recovery Training in Mentor, Ohio, uses rational emotive behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy in a self-help, abstinence-based addiction recovery program. SMART does not accept the disease concept of alcoholism and is not a 12-step program. It was founded in 1992 when it split off from Rational Recovery.