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Rational Recovery

Rational Recovery (RR) is a self-help group for alcoholics designed as a secular alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous and 12 step programs.

The RR method is antithetical to AA in every regard:

  • RR does not regard alcoholism as a disease, seeing it as a voluntary behaviour.
  • RR discourages adoption of the forever "recovering" drunk persona.
  • Once members have internalized the RR method they are expected to leave the group and get on with their lives.
  • Great emphasis is placed on self-efficacy.
  • There are no steps and zero consideration to religious matters.

The RR program is based on cognitive behaviour therapy and dissociation[?] from addictive impulses.

RR is also involved in planning legal actions against the 12 steps programs, to which it is vigorously opposed. The RR-PLAN web page states its intent is "to put AA out of business". However, action of this kind would be met with strong resistance from grateful members of 12-step programmes such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

It is worth noting that while AA tends toward a spiritual viewpoint, there are agnostic and atheist AA members. The "Higher Power" need not be a deity: one common alternative is to use the 12-step model but identify the support group itself as a higher power. There is at least one "we agnostics" AA group in California.

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