Are There Secular Drug And Alcohol Rehab Options?

Secularism is a popular term for people who don’t conform to any particular religious practice. Interestingly, secularism was inspired by a text called Kural text (“Tirukkural”), fashioned by an Indian philosopher living in the 4th and 1st century BCE. Inherent to secularism is the belief that religion and schools, as well as religion and government, should be separate. Another key idea is the desire for non-religious individuals to receive equal treatment to individuals who are religious. This belief also extends to drug and alcohol rehab, and secular individuals often struggle in traditional, faith-based programs. While there are not as many openly secular drug and alcohol rehab programs as faith-based, there are options available.

What Constitutes Secularism?

Individuals who practice atheism, agnosticism, freethought, and humanism are examples of those with secular identities. Secularism can include secular humanism, which differs from secularism in some ways. Secular humanism gathers inspiration from human morality, including themes like freedom to change one’s faith or maintain a religious neutrality.

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Principles Of Secularism

Many of secularism’s principles are based on ethics and philosophy. Despite its religious freedom, individuals still practice empathy, respect, and logic for beings of the world. Moral intuition enables the community to know right from wrong, practicing the science of morality. Secularism has unique ethics; some examples are below.

  • Human beings, through their ability to empathize, are capable of determining ethical grounds.
  • Human beings, through logic and reason, are capable of deriving normative principles of behavior.
  • Human beings have the moral responsibility to ensure that societies and individuals act based on these ethical principles.
  • Societies should if at all possible, advance from a less ethical, less empathetic, and unjust form to a more ethical, more empathetic, and more just form.

Secularism And Addiction Treatment

There may be different attitudes surrounding addiction for secular individuals. Individuals who are more religious may see secular substance abuse as a result of not having God in one’s life; however, this is a matter of perspective. Secular treatment therapies would involve evidence-based treatments. This ensures the treatment options are trusted and include the best treatments for each patient. Typically, treatments are strictly science based. For example, a patient struggling with anxiety may receive medication and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies. Secular individuals struggling with substance abuse can still attend 12-Step programs offered in facilities. Lastly, patients can utilize the SMART recovery program, which focuses on personal management skills rather than faith.

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Secular-Influenced 12 Steps

The secular, alternative 12 Steps call for individuals to transform their lives through mindfulness. They serve the same purpose of traditional 12-Step programs, without the presence of a higher power. The secular 12 Steps are:

Step 1

There is a big difference between who I want to be and what I do. I am stuck in what I do.

Step 2

I have hope that living mindfully will help me get out of my own way.

Step 3

Throughout the day, I give myself a chance to be mindful by taking short pauses.

Step 4

I look at my life systematically, to see patterns in how I have been relating to people and situations.

Step 5

I dig deeper into those patterns. I seek to understand the emotional logic that is behind them.

Step 6

I see how these patterns have been ways of coping with what feels overwhelming.

Step 7

I learn to accept the sense of vulnerability that comes from facing what feels overwhelming.

Step 8

I explore alternative behaviors and rehearse them in safe settings.

Step 9

I practice these new mindful behaviors in real life.

Step 10

I keep paying attention to the causes and effects of my actions, and act accordingly.

Step 11

I stay in touch with an inner compass, a sense of who I am and what I want, moment by moment.

Step 12

My life reflects a growing sense of respect for myself and others.

All of the secular 12 Steps place a stronger emphasis on one’s personal actions in conjunction with mindfulness to achieve change.

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Find Secular Drug And Alcohol Rehab Today

Many treatment facilities offer secular drug and alcohol rehab options. If you or a loved one seeks freedom from harmful chemicals, the best thing that can be done is committing to wellness. Contact a treatment provider today to discover which facilities and treatments are available for secular individuals.

Last Edited:


Krystina Murray

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  • Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.

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Reviewed by Certified Addiction Professional:

Theresa Parisi

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  • Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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