The best way to treat alcoholism is with a two part approach. The first part is to get the alcoholic to take drastic action in short term recovery. This is the initial detox phase followed by short term recovery. We are talking about maybe the first few months to the first few years of sobriety. This length of time will vary for different alcoholics, depending on how motivated they are to progress further in their recovery.
This first stage of early recovery is all about massive action. If the alcoholic is not motivated to change much, then they are going to return to drinking very quickly. If they are not ready to commit to taking massive action every single day, then they are probably going to relapse very soon.
What do we mean by “massive action?” It is just what it sounds like. If the person is going to rehab, attending support groups, getting involved with recovery, and so on, then they have a better chance at staying clean. If instead, they simply sit at home on the couch all day and wish that their life was different, then they are going to get terrible results.
This drastic amount of change and action is especially important in early recovery. This will lay down the foundation for long term success. You have to put in this initial effort and footwork in order to achieve good long term results.
Now the other side of treating alcoholism is to notice that many people who take this initial action do, in fact, end up relapsing at some point. Many people who started out with a good solid effort in recovery end up falling by the wayside and experiencing a relapse. Why does this happen? What is needed after taking massive action?
The answer is that balance and holistic growth are needed. Many people get far to wrapped up in 12 step recovery to see that the real goal for their recovery is to live a good life. This requires balance and personal growth. Sustaining this balance and still pushing for personal growth over the long haul is an important part of recovery. In fact, it is even more important than all of those details that emerged during the “massive action” phase of recovery. But alcoholics tend to get clouded over by their efforts in early recovery and they think that their salvation lies in more meetings, or more stepwork, or whatever. But the real key is balance and holistic growth. These are the principles that will serve you well in long term recovery from alcoholism.