Addiction Recovery Therapy Options

Addiction Recovery Therapy Options

There’s a common perception that AA and NA or another 12-step program are “the” way to recover from addiction or Secondhand Drinking (in which case, the 12-step programs are Al-Anon and Nar-Anon).

And let me say right off – these are wonderful programs for millions of people! But they don’t work for millions more and often that’s due to the perception that 12-step is the only way to recovery.

It’s for these millions that we must get the message out there – addiction recovery – like healing most chronic diseases – can take many, many forms. There is no one-size-fits-all. And that’s because addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease. It’s a developmental disease – people are not born addicts.

Some of the tools a person can include in their recovery tool box, include:

Recovery Therapy Options Can Help with Addiction and Secondhand Drinking Recovery

Therapy Options Can Help with Addiction and Secondhand Drinking Recovery

  • medications to cope with the cravings (in this link, scroll down to the sub-heading, “Medications”)
  • nutritionexercisesleep to improve the health of one’s brain
  • mindfulness practices (yoga – meditation – hikes in the woods – deep breathing – tapping…) to calm one’s thoughts and recenter the mind
  • help for underlying issues, which is where therapy comes in.

Addiction Recovery Therapy – What are the Options?

Therapy with an addiction’s specialist – a professional who has been trained in and fully understands the complexities of the family disease of addiction – can help a person sort through, process and move on from underlying issues, such as childhood trauma or mental illness (depression, PTSD, anxiety) – issues that contributed to how a person’s brain wired in the first place. For it is that wiring that makes a person’s brain more susceptible to substance abuse crossing the line to addiction, and it makes a family member or friend’s brain more susceptible to the health impacts of chronic exposure to secondhand drinking (or secondhand drugging), which is what makes them tolerate the unacceptable behaviors of a substance abuser or addict|alcoholic.

[Now, I realize I just loaded the opening to this post with a lot of concepts, so be sure to click through the links for clarification.]

The point of this post is to raise awareness about the role therapy can play in addiction | secondhand drinking recovery. As with recovery in general, there is no one nor-right way to “do” therapy. To explain, I want to share this article by Susanne M. Dillmann, PsyD, therapist in Escondido, CA, in which she shares “Common Therapy Approaches to Help You Heal from Trauma,” posted March 9, 2011 on’s website.  In her piece, Dillmann describes the following therapy options:

  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Hynotherapy
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Group Therapy

Check it out – therapy just may be the missing link you’ve needed to round out your recovery. I know it worked wonders for me (along with Al-Anon, nutrition, exercise, sleep, mindfullness practices – and research – lots of research :)) as I struggled to recover from secondhand drinking.




Lisa Frederiksen

Lisa Frederiksen

Author | Speaker | Consultant | Founder at
Lisa is the author of hundreds of articles and 11 books, including "If You Loved Me, You'd Stop!," "Addiction Recovery: What Helps, What Doesn't," and "Secondhand Drinking: the Phenomenon That Affects Millions." She is a national keynote speaker with over 25 years speaking experience, consultant, and founder of She has spent more than 14 years studying 21st century brain research in order to write, speak, and consult on substance use disorders prevention, intervention and treatment; mental disorders; addiction (aka substance use disorders) as a brain disease; adolescent addiction treatment vs adult addiction treatment; effective treatment for co-occurring disorders (having both a substance use and mental disorder); secondhand drinking | drugging; help for the family; and related subjects. In 2015, she founded SHD Prevention, providing training and consulting to companies, public agencies, unions, nonprofits and other entities to address the workplace impacts of employee secondhand drinking and alcohol misuse.
Lisa Frederiksen

Latest posts by Lisa Frederiksen (see all)

6 Responses to Addiction Recovery Therapy Options

  1. Lisa Knudson says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with your article Lisa! There is no “one size fits all” approach to recovery. Experimenting on what works for each individual is important; taking into account the individual’s experience, personality and trauma history. I very much agree that the key component is feeling safe in whatever medium is chosen.

  2. John McCready, M-RAS, CSC says:

    Hi Lisa,

    Your article neglects to mention TWO VERY IMPORTANT THINGS: 1.) What is the “21st Century” DEFINITION of this thing called a “disease” (something that is commonly taught in medical schools in THIS current century!), and 2.) HOW this process called “addiction” meets that “disease” criteria! I have been in the AOD field for 11 years now, and have yet to have these two questions adequately answered. Too many “experts” keeps repeating “addiction is a disease” the way the Nazis kept repeating, “The Jews are bad!” (It was known then and now as “THE BIG LIE”!). THE BIG LIE of addiction is this “disease” argument, with ZERO MEDICAL EVIDENCE BACKING IT UP! Stating something is a disease because it was postulated as such 75 years ago, in the first edition of “Alcoholics Anonymous” DOES NOT MAKE ADDICTION TO ANYTHING A DISEASE! I really wish there could be some convincing evidence on this. Sadly there is not.

    P.S. The “Addiction” series of HBO comes short on this as well! Dr. Nora Valkow (not even an AMERICAN LICENSED PHYSICIAN!) postulates the “disease theory” with NO EVIDENCE TO BACK IT UP! Please quit playing this MYTH FORWARD!

Leave a reply