The best alcohol rehab facilities encourage a long term, holistic approach to recovery, while also demanding massive action up front from the newly recovering alcoholic. This is definitely a tricky balance to achieve because the two approaches are not necessarily fully compatible in early recovery.
Let’s take a deeper look at this. In early recovery from alcoholism, what is really crucial? Is it the 12 step program? Is it a spiritual approach to recovery? Is it going to meetings or finding just the right treatment center?
Actually, none of these things are very important in early recovery. The fact is, all you need is massive change. Intense action. Drastic action. That is the only secret to early recovery. Everything else is just details, just distraction.
So if a rehab facility for alcohol can convince you to take massive action, then they have definitely served their purpose well. This is the whole key to early recovery. It does not matter one bit what program you are focusing on, or if you are pursuing a religious program, or a spiritual one, or a behavioral model. None of that matters in the first few months of recovery. What matters is that you make serious, drastic changes in your life and take positive action every single day. The specifics are not real important here. The action and the dedication are what are crucial.
Now the other side of the equation has to do with long term sobriety. What happens after you get over the initial shock of not drinking alcohol? Can you sustain your new found sobriety over the long term? Many recovering alcoholics find that they cannot, in spite of their success in early recovery. Massive action can get anyone over the hump of early sobriety, but the real challenge is in living sober. How do we do this? How can a rehab facility teach this?
One of the keys, in my opinion, is the holistic approach to recovery. There are holistic treatment centers out there but they are probably not much more effective than traditional rehabs. Why? Because the timing is all wrong. We don’t need a holistic approach in our first month or even year of sobriety. We need the holistic approach when we are transitioning to a lifetime of sobriety. It is about finding balance while still pursuing positive growth in our lives. This is the challenge for long term recovery, and this is the drive and the motivation that is needed to keep you from becoming complacent. If you can achieve this balance between growth and acceptance over the long haul then you will have no problem in staying sober.