The real key to alcohol drug treatment is basically a 3 part process:
1) Detox. You have to get the drugs and the alcohol out of your system if you are going to have a fighting chance at staying clean and sober. This is important because without a baseline of sobriety you cannot even get started in recovery. It is nice to sit around and be drunk and wish that you were sober, but this does not produce meaningful results. Recovery starts with detox.
2) Residential treatment. This is where you stay for the traditional 28 days and learn all sorts of things about addiction and recovery. You generally attend groups, lectures, 12 step meetings, and talk with a therapist, and so on. This period of time is sort of a shock to your system because you are suddenly living without self medicating with drugs and alcohol. Getting through this period of recovery is actually not that difficult at all because you are in the protected environment of rehab.
3) Transitional period. When you leave rehab, there is going to be a period of time when you are not yet living in long term recovery, but yet you are out of the initial stage of recovery and you are trying to find your footing. This is where nearly everyone slides back into relapse instead of finding a way to make recovery work for them.
What is the secret to the transition? Action. You have to take massive action at this point in your recovery if you want to make it in sobriety. Action is the whole key to this stage of the game. Most people just left rehab and they believe that they are done taking action. In fact, they have not yet started. If they don’t get busy then they will revert back to drugs and alcohol.
It is natural for an alcoholic to drink. It is natural for a drug addict to use drugs. This is what we are used to. It is our normal mode of living. It is perfectly normal for us to relapse. It is even expected. To go beyond this pattern, we have to apply a great deal of energy. And that requires action.
4) Long term sobriety. This is the point where you have made it out of rehab and gone through that tricky transitional period and you have found your footing. If you are doing things right, then it is likely that you help others in recovery on a regular basis, and you push yourself to keep growing.