The truth about drug and alcohol rehab centers is that they do not really get anyone clean and sober, though of course they can still be helpful. The main thing to keep in mind is that they are not a magic cure; they cannot actually motivate anyone to get clean and sober. We might have a picture in our minds that we can just ship a struggling addict off to some mystical rehab center where some sort of transformation can be somehow magically brought about. This does not happen; nor have we found a way to make it happen. The truth is that the only way that any addict or alcoholic ever gets clean and sober is through hard work and applied effort. There is no magic pill to give recovering addicts and alcoholics and the joke is that if they ever came out with such a magic cure, addicts would get addicted to it. Sad but true. There is no easy way out.
So what do we have instead? We have a system of recovery that sort of works, some of the time. Traditional rehab centers largely depend on the 12 step model in order to help struggling addicts. This does work for a small percentage of people but not for most. Some will debate this fact, claiming that it is not true, and that anyone who “really tries” can get clean and sober using the 12 step program. This is a common argument, and there may be some truth in it. But the fact remains that–statistically–less than half of those who try with a 12 step program will relapse within a year or less. And depending on who you believe, it is far, far more than just 50 percent who relapse quickly using traditional recovery techniques. The numbers are quite grim in this industry.
Yet there is still hope. Anyone who goes to a drug and alcohol rehab center has a chance to turn their life around, and many people do exactly that. In most cases, it takes a trip or two at the minimum for an addict or alcoholic to really “get it.” This is becoming more and more accepted as part of the process of early recovery. Almost everyone underestimates the disease of addiction when it comes to their first few tries at sobering up. Only after several failed attempts do most addicts start to see the true scope of the challenge that lay before them. It is only then that most people get serious enough to take real action in recovery and make the major changes necessary to stay clean.