You may have attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and found that it didn’t help you achieve sobriety. You’re not alone. In fact, the vast majority of people who attend AA find that it doesn’t help them either; only about one of every twenty finds success after one year.

You might be considering holistic treatment, which attempts to heal the whole person (mind, body and spirit) and promote overall well-being. It focuses on treating the person rather than the alcoholism, which is often seen as a symptom of underlying problems.

Holistic treatment attempts to individualize a range of therapies for the specific client. Although medications may be used in some programs, the emphasis is on natural healing. Often, but not always, holistic programs reject the disease theory of alcoholism and/or AA’s 12 steps or any version of them.

If you attend a holistic retreat, you are likely to find massage therapy, nutritional therapy, acupuncture, meditation and spirituality available. However, overall, holistic programs provide a wide variety of therapies or treatments. If you are interested in any of the following or others, you can easily find retreats offering some of them.

  • Acupuncture
  • Adventure Therapy
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Amino Acid Therapy
  • Aversion Therapy
  • Biochemical Therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Cranio Sacral Therapy
  • Dance Movement Therapy
  • Dialectic Behavior Therapy
  • Diet and Nutritional Therapy
  • Energy Therapy
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Equine Therapy
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization Programming
  • Guided Imagery
  • Hair Elements Analysis
  • Herbal Therapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnosis
  • Karate
  • Kudzu Therapy
  • Life Coaching
  • Light and Sound Neurotherapy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Meditation
  • Motivational Interviewing
  • Music therapy
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Neuro-Linguistic Therapy
  • Orthomolecular Treatment
  • Positive Approach Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Reiki
  • Spirituality
  • Transformational Therapy
  • Yoga

Holistic programs tend to operate in spa-like, luxury facilities, often located in beautiful resort areas. It appears that holistic spas offer those therapies that are most in demand rather than those that have evidence of effectiveness. Indeed, there is virtually no scientific or medical evidence that any of the techniques listed above, with the single exception of motivational interviewing, has any effectiveness in helping people achieve sobriety, compared to doing nothing or receiving a placebo. And motivational interviewing doesn’t require attending any residential facility.

Of course, although ineffective in helping people achieve sobriety, equine therapy (interacting with horses), massage, yoga, meditation, music and dance may be enjoyable in and of themselves. However, if you want help with a drinking problem, it’s important to select a program with a meaningful chance of success.

Disclaimer: This website is informational only. It makes no suggestions or recommendations about alcohol, drinking, rehabs, programs, or any other matter and none should be inferred. Neither this website nor your host receives any compensation, directly or indirectly, from listing or describing any program. Such listing or description does not imply endorsement. [+]

References

  • Agne, C., & Paolucci, K. A Holistic Health Approach to an Alcoholic Treatment Program. Journal of Drug Education, 1982, 12(2), 137-144.
  • Bartha, R., & Davis, T. Holism and high level wellness in the treatment of alcoholism. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education, 1982, 28(1), 28-31.
  • Dell, C.A, Dell, D.E., & Hopkins, C. Resiliency and holistic inhalant abuse treatment. Journal of Aboriginal Health, March 2005 (March), 1-12
  • Ellis, G.A., & Corum. P. Removing the Motivator: A Holistic Solution to Substance Abuse. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 1994, 11(3-4), 271-296.
  • McDonough, R. L.., & Russell, L. Alcoholism in women: A holistic, comprehensive care model. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 1994, 16(4), 459-474.
  • McGee, E.M. Alcoholics Anonymous and Nursing: Lessons in Holism and Spiritual Care. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 2000, 18(1), 11-26.
  • Myers, J.E., Sweeney, T.J., & Witmer, M. The Wheel of Wellness Counseling for Wellness: A Holistic Model for Treatment Planning. Journal of Counseling & Development, 2000, 78(3), 251-266.
  • Nebelkopf, E, Holistic Programs for the Drug Addict & Alcoholic. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 1081, 13(3), 345-351.
  • Priester, E., Scherer, J., Steinfeldt, J. A., Jana-Masri, A., Jashinsky, T., Jones, J.E., & Vang, C. The frequency of prayer, meditation and holistic interventions in addictions treatment: a national survey. Pastoral Psychology, 2009, 58(3), 315-322.
  • Rioux, D. Shamanic healing techniques: toward holistic addiction counseling. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 1996, 14(1), 59-69.
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