What makes up the best alcohol treatment programs? What defines successful strategies for recovery from addiction and alcoholism? Are traditional programs such as AA really the best option for people? Are there other approaches that may work better?
Lots of questions, and people who are struggling to get sober or to see a family member sober up are eager to know more. The fact is that the recovery industry is pretty much dominated right now by the 12 step program of AA. There are some other programs out there but they are so few and far between that you will not really find support for them. AA is well established and is pretty much everywhere. This is both a good and a bad thing.
The reason it is a bad thing is that the program fails for a great many people. In fact, most people who attend an AA meeting end up leaving the program within the first year and never returning again, according to AA census data. But of those who do stay and stick it out, quality recovery can be the result. There is no denying that some people do find meaningful recovery in AA. However, it is far from a magic cure-all that people hope for it to be. A tremendous effort is still needed to produce good results.
Other programs of recovery, or even your own unique holistic approach to living sober, both require the same level of tremendous effort in order to be effective. There is no shortcut to recovery, no magic solution that I can offer up that is easier than other paths.
Anyone who is telling you that there is an easy path to sobriety is full of crap. It is hard work, no matter what approach you use. It is a tough thing to do, no matter how you go about doing it. But of course the journey is worth it (like all hard things to do), and the rewards are numerous. Recovery is an awesome thing, and if you put a ton of effort into it, you will get an awesome life out of it. This is the whole point of any treatment program for alcohol. You don’t just stop drinking and then return to a boring existence. Instead, the focus must be on holistic growth–changing and growing as a person from an emotional, social, mental, and spiritual perspective. This is true in 12 step AA as it is using other approaches to recovery.