The best form of drug and alcohol treatment is long term, holistic growth and personal development.
I know that sounds like a mouthful. But it is the truth. I know we are used to seeing more traditional forms of alcohol and drug treatment, such as 12 step programs and 28 day rehab visits. And there is nothing wrong with those treatment strategies, and they are fully compatible with the ideas here. However, holistic growth is almost never emphasized in 12 step programs, and–although it is typically mentioned in rehab centers, the timing for it is all wrong.
Let me explain.
Short term recovery and long term recovery. Basically, you need holistic growth in long term recovery in order to keep growing as an individual and avoid complacency. This is the key to long term sobriety. People relapse when they get complacent and stop growing. So the obvious answer is to KEEP growing. Continuous. That means holistic growth. Why? Because holistic growth is expansive enough to keep people busy. You can work on spiritual growth for a while. Then you can work on fitness goals. And emotional balance. And relationships. And so on.
The problem with 12 step programs is that they often focus exclusively on spiritual growth, at the expense of all other forms of growth. The emphasis is in the wrong place. They emphasize spiritual growth when they should be pushing for holistic growth. This is especially true because most people in 12 step programs are in long term recovery.
Now as for short term recovery, when people are just getting clean and sober, what do they really need? They don’t need holistic growth at that early stage, because they need to instead focus all of their energy on staying clean and sober and simply not picking up a drink or a drug. This is why short term recovery treatment centers that throw the idea of holistic growth out there are sort of jumping the gun. It is too early for fitness or nutrition to be helpful in recovery. It is useless at 2 weeks sober. At that stage, the alcoholic or addict just needs massive support and to not pick up a drug.
Later on, as they stabilize in recovery, personal and holistic growth becomes more and more important. Of course, this is when most people are firmly stuck in AA, using that as their primary solution for recovery, and are no longer really open to the idea of holistic growth.
It’s a timing problem. Not sure how to fix it (other than to suggest long term holistic rehab).