Are there really any sure fire cures for alcoholism out there? Are there strategies or techniques that can guarantee success?
Of course there aren’t. That is a bit like saying that there is now a cure for suicide. You can’t stop someone from self destructing. There is no magic formula for preventing this from happening. Sure, there are things you can try, things you can do, but none of them are a magic bullet. This is true for suicidal people, just as it is true for alcoholics. If someone is determined to self destruct, there is not much you can do about it.
Now let’s take this a step further and see what happens if the alcoholic in question genuinely wants to stop drinking. Let’s say they have actually decided to change their life, and that they really do want to stop. Are there any cures at that point?
Again, the answer is no. In fact, many people who make the decision to stop drinking end up relapsing eventually. In fact, the majority will not make it to a year sober. If there were a “cure” for alcoholism, then surely by now we would have much better success rates in treating alcoholics. But we do not, and the vast majority still fall short of achieving long term sobriety.
There are many different strategies that people might employ for getting help with their problem, but none of them constitute a real “cure”:
1) Alcoholics Anonymous – this is social recovery, 12 step groups that offer daily meetings and support to recovering alcoholics. But this is far from a cure. In fact, almost 80 percent of everyone who attends an AA meeting will leave the program within one year and never return. Of those who stay, many struggle with relapse for years and years. Some do find success, but it is definitely not a cure.
2) Medications to cure alcoholism – nope, not a cure. Not even close. There are current medications on the market that help reduce cravings for alcohol, and they do show some promise, but most who have tried these have relapsed. Definitely not a magic bullet.
3) Therapy or counseling – this is a supplemental strategy at best. You can definitely benefit from long term counseling as a means to more growth in recovery, but simply attending counseling is not going to sober anyone up.
There really are no cures for the alcoholic. At best there are strategies that can help them to achieve sobriety. But unfortunately there is no magic bullet (yet). Maybe some day.
Don’t count on it though.