Since the 1930’s 12 step recovery programs have become the preferred method to treat alcoholism, drug abuse, co-dependence, or other addictive behaviors. 12 step recovery programs are deeply rooted within the belief that addicts are powerless over their addiction and the key to sobriety is avoiding the first drink or drug. These programs are based on abstinence because alcoholism and addiction are incurable diseases and there is no other alternative. Some would say that 12 step recovery programs are based in fear. Fear of taking the first drink, fear of self will run riot, fear of ego, fear of the true self actually being an addict before anything else. Fear that, without strict adherence and discipline, the addict will always be powerless; the addict will always be always be susceptible to relapse, no matter their years sober. In an essence, the addict will always be an addict. What if the old adage “once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” may not be true? Holistic non 12 step recovery programs are challenging this philosophy with ancient healing modalities and modern science.

People abuse drugs for a variety of reasons - to alleviate pain, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression; induce sleep. A recent study published from the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical and research center, reported that twenty percent of U.S. patients were found to be on five or more prescription medications.1 Drugs can produce waves of pleasure and for a person who is suffering; drugs become a preferred method of escape. The addict first relies upon the drug to feel normal and at one time may have been able to stop. However, through increased usage, the addict starts on a downward spiral of self-destruction.
Some people make the assumption that drug addicts and alcoholics lack morals, lack will power, and should just be able to stop using. Their brain won’t allow them to stop. Through increased drug usage, the neurotransmitters within their brain become distorted and their behavior altered. “Drugs of abuse cause changes in gene expression that, in the end, result in a behavioral state characterized by the urge to find and take more drugs!”2 “Receptors, such as D2 dopamine receptors and glutamate receptors, signaling proteins, proteins involved in energy metabolism, and proteins involved in cell structure were found to be changed by drug use.”2

If the brain can be altered through drug use, can the brain be influenced back to health? Holistic non 12 step recovery programs have proven that the answer is yes. Science is confirming that our perceptions, our beliefs, and even our environment can influence our genes. Groundbreaking new discoveries in a biological field called epigenetics has shown that “signals from the outside world can work through the epigenome to change a cell’s gene expression.”3
Through the use of ancient healing modalities and the latest scientific advancements in neuroscience, holistic non 12 step recovery programs are making major strides in sustainable addiction recovery. These specialized non 12 step recovery programs make it possible for people to be recovered from alcoholism, drug addiction, and other addictive behaviors by synergistically healing and integrating a person’s mind, body, soul and spirit.

Just as science has validated that the brain becomes distorted with drug use and the brain can be both positively and negatively influenced by our beliefs, perceptions and environment - science has also validated what ancient traditions have practiced for millennia. Every living thing has an Energy Body or an energy field that surrounds the physical body. True recovery from addiction can only occur when the person’s entire being, including their Energy Body, is treated for the addiction.

“Biologists now recognize that only 5% of n-DNA codes for proteins to build the human body. The other 95% is considered “junk DNA” because it is noncoding. But what if this other 95 percent represents the “library shelf” of genetic possibilities that we are not currently selecting from? Could we cure illness and maintain health by modifying our gene expression? And what if we could do this by healing our Light Body?”4

The Energy Body
The Light Body, also known as the Energy Body is an invisible energetic matrix that surrounds the physical body. Physical health can be directly attributed to the health of the Energy Body. The Energy Body is “imprinted” with all of a person’s life experiences; it comprises who they are and what has happened to them. No matter how well the physical body is healed, if their Energy Body is not cleared of negative imprints, their body will return to ill health. Their time and energy will therefore be focused on managing symptoms rather than focused on leading a healthy recovered life. To fully recover from addiction, an addict must move past managing the symptoms, actively influence their genes in a positive way, restore their brain’s health and heal the root cause of the imbalance in their life. If they do not work towards healing at all these levels, symptoms will persist. Therefore, sustainable recovery is not about will power. Sustainable recovery is about integrated healing through a holistic non 12 step recovery program.

At the forefront of non 12 step recovery programs, is The Sanctuary in Sedona, Arizona. The Sanctuary’s non 12 step recovery program, Radical Transformation™ utilizes a combination of traditional, holistic, and functional medicines; neuroscience, energy medicine and shamanic healing to harmoniously heal and reunite the person’s mind, body, soul, and spirit. Through this diverse non 12 step recovery program, clients learn how to consciously influence their genetic code, cleanse and rebalance their energetic field and then "re-inform" it with a more life affirming blueprint. Combining epigenetics and neuroscience with non-traditional healing methods make it possible for people (through consistent dedicated practice and applied consciousness over time) to re-inform their DNA and shape their own cellular biology.

Recovering from addiction through will power and therapy is not enough. Through specialized non 12 step recovery programs like The Sanctuary, addicts can now recover from the negative patterns that have ruled their lives. Leading edge neuroscience research offers evidence and explanations for why addicts follow self-destructive paths and “now confirms that we can grow new brain cells and change the actual networks in the brain.” 4 Finally, there is hope that an addict can move beyond the limitations of the 12 step recovery program and walk the path of the recovered.

Works Cited
1. Study: 70 Percent Of Americans On Prescription Drugs. (2013, June 19). Retrieved from CBS News:
2. Michael Kuhar, P. (2012). The Addicted Brain: Why we abuse drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. Upper Sadle River, New Jersey: FT Press. (pp 65, 69).
3. Gene Control. (2013). Retrieved August 04, 2013, from Learn. Genetics:
4. David Perlmutter, M.,D., F.A.C.N., Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., (2011). Power up your Brain. New York City: Hay House, Inc. (pp. 129).

Author's Bio: 

Dean Taraborelli, MA- Founder & Co-Director, The Sanctuary at Sedona – a holistic addiction recovery and trauma healing center. Mr. Taraborelli is also the Co-Creator of Radical Transformation®, a four-step holistic program for addiction recovery designed to work simultaneously on healing and integrating the mind, body, soul and spirit. For additional information, visit or call 928-639-1300.