The key to succeeding when getting help from alcohol abuse treatment centers is to keep an open mind and be willing to take massive amounts of action. Those who do well in early recovery are those who are most willing to make drastic and major changes in their lives. It is not enough to merely go to rehab out of obligation, listen politely, and then strive to make a bunch of minor changes. Instead, you have to sort of drastically wipe your entire slate clean, completely surrender your will and your life (to something, anything) and then start over from scratch while building yourself an entirely new life in recovery. This only seems to work when the person commits to this path fully. If they are reserved in any way, holding on to an old piece of their old life, or hesitant to make drastic changes, then they are simply not ready for recovery.
No, perhaps the best alcohol treatment centers are those that filter out those who are bound to fail anyway. By keeping the intake streamlined to only those who are truly willing to take massive action, they can increase their overall effectiveness and “graduate” more successful groups of alcoholics into recovery. Most rehabs have a dismal failure rate, and this is largely because they try to help everyone. What if you screened your admissions such that you only took certain individuals? People who were truly at rock bottom, devoid of all manipulative energy, and basically ready to be sculpted into a sober, responsible person? Setting up such an experiment might prove scary results, ones that could potentially change the course of treatment and recovery in general.
Most rehabs have a group of about 30 people inpatient at a given time, maybe one or two of which will still be clean and sober a full year later. The rest will have slipped, relapsed, or just plain given up. These statistics are no exaggeration! So what if you screened out the 28 people who were going to fail anyway, and populated your treatment center with potential “winners” in recovery. Couldn’t this lead to great things? Couldn’t this lead us deeper into the true nature of recovery? The secrets of staying clean and sober, and also of teaching people how to accomplish this? We could potentially redefine recovery and start screening addicts, teaching them in the process what it really takes to stay clean and sober. It is a radical idea and there are obvious ethics involved (because you are potentially denying many people of treatment), but how else are we going to zero in on what truly works in addiction recovery? What we are doing now is anything but impressive, especially when you look at the hard numbers.
The treatment industry could use a revamp.