What does alcohol addiction treatment consist of? There are basically 2 parts to traditional alcohol treatment: short term and long term recovery. Let’s take a look at each part of the treatment process.
Short term recovery
This is where the alcoholic is just getting started in recovery. Many alcoholics will start this journey by attending an alcohol addiction treatment center of some sort, and going through a detox process there. Then they will be moved to a residential treatment program and attend classes, group therapy, and meetings. Usually a rehab center like this will expose people to 12 step programs such as AA or NA as well.
The idea here is to get people detoxed, get them stable, and keep them from relapsing in the short term. Drug rehab accomplishes this very nicely by keeping the alcoholic in a sheltered environment. It is pretty easy to stay sober while in rehab. The challenge comes when the alcoholic leaves.
Long term recovery
In order to have success in long term recovery, the alcoholic must continue to abstain from alcohol while still growing and learning more in recovery. Most people do not really enter this stage of recovery because they are still stuck in the immediate concerns of short term recovery and not picking up a drink. The transition into long term recovery can be rather tricky and many people do not make it.
What has to happen is that the alcoholic must create a new life for themselves in recovery. This goes beyond 12 step programs or short term recovery strategies and must include meaning and purpose in the life of the alcoholic. What is important to them and what drives them to take action? The individual is on a quest to find themselves, and to find what moves them.
The number one killer of recovering alcoholics in long term sobriety is complacency. It is not that they slip up, it is that they have this long, slow downward spiral of inactivity and lack of growth. If they are not pushing themselves to keep growing and changing in recovery then they are risking the possibility that they will become too complacent and end up drinking again. The key, therefore, is to keep pushing ourselves to achieve new things in recovery and keep growing as a person. If this involves helping others in recovery then that will make the recovery plan just that much stronger in the end.