The best treatment for addiction comes from a sustained effort on the part of the addict. There is not so much that they have to learn as much as they have to do things in order to recover. Yes, there is a huge learning component in early recovery, but many people who are not what you would call “skilled learners” do quite well in recovery, while many of those who pride themselves on being expert learners struggle to achieve recovery. It is not so much about the learning as it is about the doing.
And what must be done? Stuff. Recovery stuff. Positive stuff. Challenging stuff. Stuff that makes you grow as a person. Stuff that challenges you to push yourself a bit. Stuff that makes you take a long hard look at yourself and then try to get active in changing the parts that you don’t like. Stuff that is spiritual in nature, but not necessarily religious.
This is all just in early recovery, by the way! As you progress in your recovery and transition into long term recovery, you have to do all sorts of different stuff too. For example, you have to figure out how to stay clean and sober without depending on meetings to do it, and you have to figure out how to treat your addiction while maintaining some degree of balance. Most newcomers in early recovery cannot see the importance of balance, and that is quite understandable. They are coming fresh out of the jaws of addiction and their life is anything but balanced. Early recovery, when done properly, isn’t all that balanced either. In fact, using overwhelming force and a laser focus in early recovery is probably the best way to achieve success in early recovery. Balance should be the furthest thing from your mind at 30 days clean.
Addiction treatment, in the long run, is all about personal growth, holistic health, and achieving a balance when it comes to practicing recovery principles. Focus too tightly on one aspect of recovery, and you risk becoming complacent. For example, someone who simply attends meetings all the time and does not really push themselves to grow outside of the boundaries of traditional recovery principles can become stagnant in their growth. The same is true for anyone who is obsessed with spiritual growth and can no longer see the forest for the trees. There is a whole world of growth out there in the physical, emotional, social, and mental realm.