Wouldn’t it be great if there were one perfect recovery solution for everyone? No guesswork, no fear or doubt, only certainty that you will get well?

There are many paths to recovery. Deciding which option is best for you can be scary and confusing. You want things in your life to change for the better. Quickly. Where do you begin?

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by so many choices. Do you choose a 12-step, 100 percent abstinence-based program? A program with a spiritual path, a specific religious dogma or a non-God oriented program? A long-term or a short-term, group? How do you fi nd a group where you’ll feel safe, where you’ll trust the people and the process?

Let’s bring some clarity to the many paths available.

In the United States, one of the first successful organized recovery “programs” was the Oxford Groups. Oxford Groups still exist in many metropolitan areas. They require people to strictly adhere to a set of principles and behaviors to recover and change how they live
their lives.

In December 1934, one of the cofounders of Alcoholics Anonymous was deeply involved in the Oxford Groups. He found a slightly different approach. Not only did Bill Wilson expound upon the tenets of the Oxford Group, he discovered that he needed to talk about his alcoholism in a way that could really connect with another alcoholic.

This slight change founded one of the greatest recovery movements in history, which spawned hundreds of other recovery solutions. You have probably already heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics
Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, Al-Anon and many other 12-step programs. Millions of people have found successful recovery using these programs, and there are dozens of meetings each day in the area.

For those who don’t want to commit to the lifestyle these 12-step programs suggest, there are dozens of other non-12 step programs in the Portland area. You can access most of them at the Portland Recovery Community Center at 468 Forest Ave.

Some of the available groups are:

  • SMART Recovery
  • H.O.P.E.
  • Refuge Recovery
  • The Artist’s Way
  • Wellbriety
  • All Recovery
  • Dads in Recovery
  • Life Ring
  • Women for Sobriety

That’s a long list. Where do you start? Just go. Sit in a few of the program’s meetings and see what the vibe is like, what the program entails and what kind of lifestyle members have. You’ll quickly know if you feel comfortable. But don’t just go to one meeting and make your decision based on that. Visit at least three times to get a solid feel for it. Then try as many other programs as you can to see which is the best fit.

You may find that selecting two or three different programs works best for you. Many people find that a 12-step program like AA and

example, is the right foundation for their recovery, but they add other kinds of recovery meetings, too, to get the full support they need.

“…there are dozens of non-12 step programs in the Portland area.”