The key to recovery at alcoholism treatment centers is the level of action that a person takes after they leave the safe environment of treatment. This is the measure of success and the best predictor of long term sobriety: the amount of action that a person takes.
Now this can be danced around in a million different ways and of course most people end up relapsing shortly after leaving an alcohol treatment center. The simple fact is that most people, no matter how good their intentions are, do not take a massive amount of action after leaving treatment. This lack of action is what leads to relapse. It is as simple as that.
“But what is the great secret?” the struggling alcoholic might exclaim. “What actions am I supposed to take?”
Nonsense. Anyone who gets dried out in detox for a few days knows the basics of staying sober already. What we need is a new way to live, one in which we do not run straight to the bottle in order to self medicate. We are feeling our feelings for the first time in a long time and it is rather scary. The natural tendency is to medicate with booze. It takes a bit of courage to get past this initial sensation of having to feel our emotions again. If you are miserable enough from drinking, then you will go through this fear and deal with it as best you can. If you have not had enough pain in your life yet, then you will probably end up drinking again.
There is no shortage of action steps for you to take in early recovery. Go to any rehab or AA meeting and you will get a whole slew of suggestions that can last you for a lifetime if you actually follow through with them. “Go to 90 meetings in 90 days.” “Get a sponsor and call them every day.” “Reach out and help others in recovery.” On and on the suggestions will go, and all you have to do is act on them.
Don’t drink no matter what and keep taking positive action. Really, is this such a great mystery? No it is not, at least after the drunk has broke through their denial and decided to change their life. After this moment of surrender, there is no way to screw it up. Before this moment of surrender, there is no way to force sobriety on anyone. Thus our path in recovery is defined by willingness and action.
Massive action leads to recovery.
Lazy = relapse.
Get to work.