Anyone who is struggling to stop drinking might benefit from treatment alcoholism. Ultimately anyone can stop drinking for a brief period of time, and even the most hard core alcoholics do from time to time. But the key is in staying stopped, and that is where the idea of treatment comes in. We need a method for staying off the alcohol.
You can break alcoholism treatment into 2 parts, in my experience: short and long term recovery. Short term recovery is pretty much the first few months or even the first year of treatment for the alcoholic. It is what I would refer to as being “early recovery” as opposed to “long term sobriety.”
What characterizes short term alcohol treatment?
1) Focus on learning – there is a tremendous amount of learning that needs to take place in early recovery. This is why many people go to meetings every single day in early recovery, and they suggest “90 meetings in 90 days.” There is so much to learn. If you are not soaking in new knowledge during this time, then you are probably headed for relapse. Success in early recovery requires much learning.
2) Focus on action – this is huge. If you sit at home on your couch you will end up drunk. The only way to stay sober in early recovery is to get into action. You have to do stuff in order to stay sober. Lots of stuff. For some people, this might mean attending meetings all day, every day. For other people, this might mean lots of counseling and therapy. For others, this might mean working with other alcoholics and attending lots of 12 step functions outside of just meetings. And for some, this might be an emphasis on personal growth, one that is driven beyond the boundaries of traditional recovery.
Massive action is the key to staying sober in early recovery.
Now what about long term sobriety? What characterizes this as opposed to early recovery? Let’s take a look:
1) Long term recovery is about balance. If you have 5 years sober and you still “take massive action” by sitting in 12 step meetings all day long, then you are doing something wrong. Recovery is about living life. Seek balance.
2) Fighting complacency – those who relapse in long term recovery are those who grow complacent and stop pushing themselves to grow. Therefore, you should continue to take action and continue to seek holistic growth in your life. This is the key to staying sharp and preventing relapse.
So in order to be successful in recovery you have to do two things really: One, make it through early recovery without relapsing, and two, you have to figure out how to push yourself to keep making growth in long term recovery. This is a tricky balance indeed because you don’t want to make the shift too soon. Early recovery demands focus. Long term sobriety demands growth. They are not necessarily compatible with each other.