There are several key factors in alcoholic rehabilitation that can help insure that the alcoholic stays sober over the long run. So many drunks who attempt to sober up will fail in their efforts and drink again, usually within the first year of getting sober. This is a hard truth that many have run up against, and there seems to be no way around it, no secret path to sobriety. When we look at those who have found success in recovery, what can we learn about what it really takes to stay sober? What is the key to alcohol rehabilitation?
The biggest factor in terms of relapse prevention is healthy self esteem. Most treatment centers get this way wrong and try to instruct the alcoholic about how to use various tools in order to prevent relapse. “If you have an urge to drink, pick up the phone and call your sponsor or a friend in recovery.” They might also suggest that “meeting makers make it,” and so on. Tips and tricks to help the alcoholic in time of need.
The fact is that every alcoholic will have a time of need. There is no use in trying to prevent this time of need, or in trying to create emergency back up plans in order to overcome this time of need. Every single alcoholic will face the drink at some point, entirely alone, and they could easily drink some alcohol and no one would ever know about it. They must overcome this with only themselves and their higher power. This will happen at some point, for every single alcoholic. It is certain. So, how to prevent it?
The key is not to prevent it (it is inevitable) or to use emergency procedures (relapse prevention tactics) but instead to build up a strong enough recovery in order to resist the first drink. This is a function of healthy self esteem. This needs to be actively created in recovery. My suggestion for building healthy self esteem, enough so that you can resist this relapse temptation:
1) Improve yourself every day. Grow consciously. Seek personal growth. Improve your life. Learn. Grow.
2) Seek holistic health. Quit smoking. Exercise. Be a healthier person. This will build healthy self esteem as well.
3) Help others in recovery, or even help others outside of recovery. If you are valuable to other people, this will generate more self worth as well.
Combine these 3 strategies and you will not need relapse prevention tactics. You will become strong enough and you will value your sobriety enough that you will not relapse.