Futures Recovery Healthcare

Multiple Pathways of Recovery (Which is Best?)



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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Recovery occurs via many pathways.” It goes on to explain that because each individual is unique, having their own specific needs, strengths, goals, culture, and background, it’s important to personalize substance abuse recovery to address these dynamic factors. In other words—there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to recovery. But, rather, there are many!

Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that “Because addiction can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment should address the needs of the whole person to be successful. Counselors may select from a menu of services that meet the specific medical, mental, social, occupational, family, and legal needs of their patients to help in their recovery.”

At Futures Recovery Healthcare  we base our recovery program on the principle of “meeting people where they are.” And that means offering multiple pathways for recovery. And, in addition to treating substance abuse, we also address co-occurring disorders (such as anxiety, depression, and more). 

Our ultimate goal is to help provide gentle guidance toward the best possible path for long-term recovery.

What Are the Multiple Pathways of Recovery?

Perhaps you’ve heard of 12-Step recovery. Or, maybe you are familiar with behavior therapies for addressing alcohol abuse and drug addiction (cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, etc.). And, many people understand that medication can be a helpful treatment tool for certain substance abuse issues. 

Out of all these pathways (and others), which is the right one?

This is a question we receive quite often at Futures. And, what we have found is…they all are! If we go back to what evidence-based research says about effective recovery methods, many sources agree that making multiple pathways available, leads to a successful recovery. It comes down to what works best for the individual. 

Further exploring what each pathway of recovery looks like can help illustrate the importance of offering multiple pathways of recovery. Let’s take a look.

12-Step Recovery

The 12 Steps first surfaced in “Alcoholics Anonymous” in 1939. As a design for living, the steps encourage abstinence from whatever the source of addiction is, combined with sharing similar experiences, problems, and solutions with others dealing with the same problems.

Today, there are many different types of 12-Step groups ranging from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and Cocaine Anonymous (CA) to Co-Dependents Anonymous (CODA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), and many more. 

These groups offer meetings run by 12-Step “members,” consisting of varying formats. Some may be speaker meetings, where a person with different degrees of recovery-time shares his/her “experience, strength, and hope.” Others may be more of a “round-robin,” format where members take turns sharing their struggles and solutions related to their addiction. 

Many 12-Step programs also encourage sponsorship. Typically a sponsor or “trusted friend,” has worked all 12 Steps and has some length of continuous sobriety. They serve as a confidant and source of support, in addition to guiding people through the 12 Steps.

Behavioral Therapies

As you’ll see below, there are several different types of behavioral therapies designed to help people with substance abuse issues. What they all share is the intent to help individuals change their attitudes and behaviors as they relate to their “drug of choice.” A common denominator among alcoholics and addicts are” triggers.” And, while triggers vary from drug-to-drug and person-to-person, behavior therapies help reduce the impact of stressful situations that may lead to triggers, which eventually opens the door to relapse. 

Different types of behavioral therapies used to treat substance abuse include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
    Here, a therapist helps patients to recognize, cope, and stay away from situations that cause them to use alcohol or drugs. 
  • Contingency Management
    This form of therapy utilizes positive reinforcement in the form of rewards or privileges for those who choose to remain free of drugs or alcohol. Individuals may receive these incentives for attending counseling sessions or taking their medication (as prescribed). 
  • Motivational Interviewing
    Also referred to as motivational enhancement therapy, this approach utilizes strategies to help encourage readiness to change addictive behaviors. Sometimes, Motivational interviewing is used alongside other recovery methods (such as cognitive therapy and 12-Step Recovery). 
  • Family Therapy
    Family therapy can help people working on their recovery as well as close family members. Together, they address addictive patterns and influences. This method of therapy is also designed to help improve family relationships and interactions. 


The type of medication administered during treatment varies widely based on the type of addiction and the individual. Medication for opioids, for example, may be used as a “first line of treatment,” which is later followed by one or more of the behavioral therapies listed above and/or 12-Step recovery support. 

Medication is often used for various stages of treatment and is not encouraged as a long-term recovery solution. For example, certain medication helps with treating physical withdrawal. 

Other medications commonly administered after the detoxification process to help prevent relapse, can include:

  • Opioid Relapse Prevention Medication:
    Methadone (Dolophine®, Methadose®), buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®, Probuphine®, Sublocade™), and naltrexone (Vivitrol®) 
  • Alcohol Relapse Prevention Medication:
    Naltrexone, Acamprosate (Campral®), and Disulfiram (Antabuse®). 

A licensed psychiatrist or therapist may also administer medication to a person diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring disorder means that a person has both a mental health and substance use disorder. Co-occurring disorders are extremely common, with an estimated 9.2 million adults in the United States having one.


Psychiatry and psychotherapy often intermingle several of the elements listed above. This can include treatment of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders with several behavioral therapies, medically-assisted detoxification, and prescription and management of medications. It can also involve individual therapy sessions. 

Support Groups

While 12-Step recovery groups like AA, NA, and CA are considered recovery support groups, there are many other secular and denominational organizations that encourage maintaining and fostering continued sobriety. They are designed to reflect shared experiences and solutions, while also providing insight into how to enjoy recreation and entertainment activities without the use of substances. 

Holistic Healing

Some people find tremendous value in physical fitness, yoga, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, hypnotherapy, aquatic therapy, and other holistic options to enhance their recovery. In addition to helping restore the physical body, these different approaches can help ease anxiety, pain, and stress. Eating healthy foods and increasing hydration is also instrumental in helping repair the damage inflicted from drug and alcohol abuse. 

Pick Your Pathways

Again, no single pathway of recovery is the “right” one for everyone. It’s about which pathway is right for you. And, it’s often not one pathway, but several that help individuals in their substance abuse recovery. At Futures, we don’t force particular pathways. But, we do specialize in finding the right ones for each individual. We understand the complexity of addiction and mental health and how different they affect each person. That’s why we believe so strongly in choices. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, It’s important to know that you are not alone. Thousands of people get help every day and go on to live happy, vibrant lives. If you or someone you love needs help with substance abuse or a mental health disorder, Futures is here for you. 

We are ready to meet you, exactly where you are!

Contact us confidentially online or by phone at 866-804-2098.


Our team is here to guide you through your path to recovery.

call now CALL NOW
(866) 351-7588
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