Is an Alcohol Addiction Program Really Necessary?

Is an Alcohol Addiction Program Really Necessary?

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Any alcohol addiction program has to accomplish several things in order for it to be effective.  Ultimately, the goal is going to be complete abstinence from alcohol, and the best outcome is to sustain this over a long period of time or even indefinitely.  Those who relapse end up right back where they started, often being worse off than they were before.

Programs for alcohol addiction like Alcoholics Anonymous are useful up to a point, and they address the idea of abstinence while also forming a social support system through the meetings that they hold.  The program is also based on spiritual growth as a means of overcoming alcohol addiction.  This works out really well for some people–seemingly those who dedicate their entire life to the program and work very hard at following the principles it contains.  Most who try AA will not actually do this well, and almost half will drop out immediately.  Those who stick and stay have some hope for a new life.

just a typical afternoon...
Creative Commons License photo credit: tanjila

This is part of the key for any form of alcohol addiction help: it has to go beyond mere abstinence and actually form a plan for creating a new life.  This is actually as hard as it sounds.  The alcoholic must create an entirely new life and pretty much change everything.  So any program of recovery has to address this monumental task in some way.  A spiritual experience is not going to benefit someone if they do not use that momentum and energy to create massive changes in their daily living.  This has to do with both external factors, such as where they hang out after work and who they associate with, to internal factors, such as how they perceive reality and how they deal with stress.  That is why they say in 12 step fellowships that “the only thing you have to change is everything.”  The alcoholic is faced with the challenge of addressing both internal and external factors of their everyday living.

One way to do this is by using massive amounts of action in early recovery to change your routine.  Going to 12 step meetings every single day is one way to accomplish this, though that path is not for everyone.  There are other ways to change your life drastically and overcome alcoholism.  But the key is change, and in order to affect change on the scale necessary, the alcoholic must expend a lot of energy and put forth a ton of effort.  Nothing less will result in lasting sobriety.

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In order to affect massive change in your life, you might:

* Attend 90 meetings in 90 days as is suggested routinely in 12 step programs.

* Go live in a long term rehab center, where you will focus intensely on recovery every single day of your new life.

* Start exercising on a regular basis, which will benefit your recovery on several different levels while filling your time with something positive.

* Build a network of people in recovery who support each other in their effort to create a new life.

And so on.  You don’t need to follow a specific program necessarily, but you do need to take massive action.  The results are in the passion, not in the procedure.  Positive action will work, you just have to work it.  There are no mysteries in recovery, etc.

Do the work and reap the rewards.

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