Finding Non-Religious Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs Near Me

Non-Religious Rehab Centers: Drug and Alcohol Treatment for Atheists

Some of the best practices in addiction treatment place significant emphasis on personally tailored recovery plans. This means that each person’s recovery should be approached in a way that is best suited for their needs, life conditions, and belief systems.1

Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2018 and 2019 show that 26% of US citizens aren’t religious as opposed to 17% in 2009.1 Since the number of non-religious (atheist or agnostic) people in the U.S. keeps rising, it’s necessary to offer quality treatment options without faith-based components. This way, programs can help this part of the population feel comfortable during addiction treatment and have the best possible chances of achieving a successful recovery.2

Although the number of secular addiction treatment centers that openly proclaim their belief system appears to be smaller than that of faith-based ones, there’s still a lot of available options. Non-religious addiction recovery programs emphasize traditional, strictly evidence-based and science-based treatments.1, 3

The percentage of rehab facilities that use scientifically based approaches is quite large. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used in 93.7% of facilities, dialectical behavior therapy in 59.1%, motivational interviewing in 93.3%, and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT) in 43.1%.of US rehabs.3

Non-Religious Drug and Alcohol Addiction Rehab Near Me

What Do Non-Faith-Based Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs Entail?

The level of care provided in non-religious treatment centers isn’t that different from the faith-based ones when it comes to the duration and intensity of treatment. There are also non-religious inpatient and outpatient drug rehab treatments, short-term and long-term ones, those offering safe and controlled medical detoxification, and the ones offering alternative or holistic approaches.1

The main difference is the absence of faith-related elements or the idea that there’s a higher power than oneself that can lead you to recovery. Since addiction is considered to be a treatable medical and psychological illness, non-religious treatment consists of scientific, evidence-based approaches to behavior change. The most widely used ones are:4


Medications are an important element of any SUD treatment since addiction issues often co-occur with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The use of medications is usually necessary to address all existing concerns. Psychoactive medications used for this purpose are antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications. Also, a lot of people with severe addiction abuse multiple drugs and need to be treated for all of them.4

Medication is also used to mitigate and manage physical symptoms of withdrawal. In most cases, detox alone isn’t enough to maintain abstinence, so patients might be encouraged to continue with drug treatment.4

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an established behavioral treatment that uses strategies based on the theory that learning processes play a critical role in the development of maladaptive behavioral patterns like substance abuse. Individuals learn to identify and correct problematic behaviors by practicing and using a range of skills. These skills are aimed to stop alcohol or drug use and address the problems that often co-occur with SUDs.4

Patients learn to anticipate potential problems and develop self-control and coping strategies. By exploring the positive and negative consequences of active addiction, they should be able to identify situations that might lead to relapse and develop strategies to avoid them.4

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a variation of CBT, originally developed to treat chronically suicidal people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This approach is also effective in treating other disorders, including SUDs.4

The term “dialectical” refers to the integration of opposite strategies of acceptance and change. DBT includes two acceptance-oriented skills (mindfulness and distress tolerance) and two change-oriented skills (emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness):5

  • Mindfulness: learning to be fully aware and present in the moment
  • Distress tolerance: learning to tolerate pain in difficult situations, not change it
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: asking for what you want and be able to say no while maintaining self-respect and relationships with others
  • Emotional regulation: decreasing vulnerability to painful emotions and changing emotions that you want to change

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Motivational Interviewing (MI) is a counseling method that enhances motivation through the resolution of ambivalence. In this case, it encourages engaging in treatment and stopping alcohol or drug use. It aims to induce internally motivated change, not guide the patient through the addiction recovery process step by step.4

Motivational interviewing principles are used to create a plan for change. The therapist monitors change, reviews strategies, and encourages commitment to change or to maintain achieved sobriety.4

How Do Non-Religious Inpatient Rehab Programs Treat Alcohol and Drug Addiction?

The main principles of treatment in non-faith-based programs are based on scientifically proven, evidence-based approaches. This includes a variety of different recovery plans since there’s no single method proven to work for everyone.6

Non-religious rehab includes counseling, psychotherapy, the above-mentioned types of behavioral therapy, medication, and other complementary elements such as exercise, nutrition, contingency management. The treatment approach is, as always, tailored to each patient’s needs.6

Instead of relying on the help of a higher authority to guide patients toward recovery, non-faith-based approaches encourage and help patients take more responsibility for it themselves. Even though addiction isn’t their fault, achieving results and making meaningful steps toward recovery requires them to actively work on it and continue to do so. Sometimes, recovering individuals need to do this for the rest of their lives since addiction is a chronic illness, and as such, in a lot of cases requires life-long treatment.7

The Advantages of Non-Religious Rehabilitation Centers

The main benefits of non-faith-based addiction treatment are:8

  • Identifying the underlying cause: Since non-faith-based treatment approaches use various types of evidence-based behavioral therapy, this provides an opportunity for the patient to uncover the root causes that led to their substance abuse issues. With the help and support of therapists, counselors, and/or medication, patients can work through those factors and find motivation and commitment to lasting abstinence and recovery.
  • Empowering you to make a change: Faith-based approaches that place a lot of emphasis on the healing power of God and ask patients to admit that they’re powerless against their addiction alone. A non-faith-based approach encourages patients to rely on themselves and empowers them to take the responsibility for their addiction as well as their success in defeating it.
  • Providing support for the entire family: Instead of relying on God or a religious community for support, non-religious drug rehab programs will often focus on the healing of the whole family or partners since the environment patients come from and return to after treatment can have a very significant role in both their addiction and recovery.
  • Approaches based on scientific methods of non-faith-based rehab are reliable, evidence-based, extensively studied, and tested. They measure the outcomes objectively and improve their practices over time.
  • Offering long-term recovery: As opposed to the “once an addict, always an addict” mantra, non-religious programs base their approach and methods on the premise that discovering and treating root causes of SUDs can lead patients to full and lasting recovery.

What Are Other Available Types of Non-Faith-Based Alcohol and Drug Rehab Programs?

Just like most high-quality integrated treatment programs, non-religious ones also use both traditional and alternative approaches and methods to treat drug and alcohol addiction. Some of those approaches are acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, and expressive therapy, which can all be beneficial to the healing process of some patients.9

Adventure and wilderness therapies provide both physical exercise and relaxation. They have a calming effect that helps patients feel more involved in the recovery treatment.9

The focus of these kinds of ‘holistic’ therapies is treating the “whole person”. The most widely used ones are:10

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Reiki

Stress management techniques and mindfulness are also known to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, produce a sense of well-being, and improve self-esteem.9

How Long Do Non-Faith-Based or Non-Religious Addiction Treatment Programs Last?

The duration of the different treatments provided by non-religious rehab doesn’t differ from other types of addiction treatment. Non-faith-based rehab centers offering addiction treatment also have both inpatient/residential and outpatient options, as well as short-term (3-6 weeks) and long-term addiction treatment programs (one month to a year).11

The length of treatment will certainly depend on many individual circumstances, the severity of addiction, the abused substance(s), previous treatment history or history of repeated relapses, co-occurring mental health issues, and other particular circumstances.11

AAC always takes all these factors into consideration when making a personalized treatment plan for each individual. Our experts will make the recommendations based on the case-by-case assessment and provide each patient with the care they need.

What Happens After Non-Faith Based Rehab?

Like other high-quality rehabilitation programs, non-religious rehab also includes creating an aftercare plan for its patients to help them stay the course and maintain sobriety. Similar to faith-based 12-step programs, there’s support available to those who want to avoid the spirituality focus of a classic 12-step program. There are alternative, non-faith-based support groups that view recovery from addiction as an entirely secular process:3

  • SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training) is a global community of mutual support groups. Its approach to behavioral change is built around a 4-Point Program that consists of building and maintaining the motivation to change; coping with urges to resume drug or alcohol use; managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; and living a balanced, positive, and healthy life.12
  • LifeRing Secular Recovery is an organization of people who share practical experiences and sobriety support. This organization encourages patients to focus primarily on their current lives, not the damages of the past. The “3-S” philosophy represents the fundamental principles of LifeRing: Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help. Simultaneous membership and participation in other programs are welcomed.13
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a nonprofit network of autonomous, non-professional local groups, dedicated to helping patients achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol and drug use.14
  • Women for Sobriety (WFS) is a female-centered program that uses 13 acceptance statements instead of the famous 12 steps. It’s an abstinence-based, self-help program for women, that helps them deal with the challenges of alcohol and drug use through personal growth and responsibility.15

How to Choose a Non-Faith-Based Drug Rehabilitation Program?

Choosing the right non-faith-based drug rehab center for yourself or a loved one may seem like a difficult task. Aside from different amenities, levels of care, costs, and locations, you should primarily consider these important characteristics:11

Are Non-Faith-Based or Non-Religious Rehab Centers Covered by Insurance?

Insurance coverage of non-faith-based rehabilitation centers shouldn’t be different from the coverage you would get for other types of treatment. The Affordable Care Act requires that all major insurance providers cover the costs of addiction and mental health treatment since they’re considered to be essential health benefits.16

AAC works with major providers of insurance coverage such as Aetna, Cigna, Anthem, and Amerigroup. Give us a call and we can check your coverage and available options via phone.

How Can I Find a Non-Religious Drug Rehab Near Me?

You can research your options by reaching out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline by phone. You can also visit, a website run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that collects information on state-licensed providers who specialize in treating alcohol and drug addiction, as well as mental illness.Another way to learn more about your options is to contact AAC admission navigators by phone, chat, or by filling out an online form to check your policy. AAC experts can assess your individual needs and make a personalized recommendation and a suitable treatment plan for each patient.


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