An alcohol rehab facility has the very difficult job of eliciting massive change from an individual who is probably in a mode of self destruction. This can be especially challenging when you consider how easy it is for a person who is already suffering from possibly low self esteem and depression to say “screw it” and go buy another bottle. The rehab facility really has 2 challenges when it comes to changing the alcoholic:
1) Getting them to take massive action in early recovery and commit to short term sobriety.
2) Teaching them about the principles of long term recovery and the concepts that can carry them beyond early recovery.
If you look at the statistics for recovering alcoholics, you can see that the majority do not stay sober, and even for those who do stay sober, many of them drop off at an alarming rate and relapse as time goes on. In other words, there is no magic barrier that is crossed after 3 months of sobriety, or after 2 years or sobriety, or whatever. Alcoholics continue to relapse at different lengths of clean time. So there is a real need to teach alcoholics about the key concepts of long term recovery, including:
1) Fighting complacency.
2) The importance of working with other alcoholics.
3) The importance of balance in their lives.
4) The importance of pushing themselves to keep growing holistically.
These are not concepts that work well in early recovery, and they are not concepts that work well for newcomers who are fresh out of detox. These are idea for long term recovering alcoholics to embrace. But if they do not eventually start moving in this direction, they will become complacent and end up relapsing (as so many do).
So really the best strategy for alcohol rehab facilities is for them to really push for massive action in early recovery and focus on the commitment to short term sobriety. This is the best they can really hope to do without confusing the issue. The newcomer really does not need to worry about complacency or attaining balance in their life. No, the newcomer who struggles to stay sober needs an intense crash course in action-based recovery. They need 3 meetings per day, an active sponsor, and an intense program where they jump right in and start working with other recovering alcoholics right from day one. This is an old school approach that might be frowned on by modern recovery, but hey: massive action gets good results. Go big or go home.
The best rehabs inspire massive action. This is the key to early sobriety.