What is the best treatment for alcoholics? What is the best way for them to get help when they are struggling with their drinking? Is it possible to help an alcoholic just by putting them in a program or a treatment center?
It is pretty amazing to me that we really have not made any progress in terms of helping alcoholics over the last hundred years. Really, we have not made any progress at all since the advent of AA and the realization that alcoholics could form a support system and help each other to stay sober. Since then, almost nothing has changed. The medical community is working on drugs and medications to help, but none of them have had a serious impact. There are some pills that help fight cravings, but they don’t do much better than a placebo, not by leaps and bounds anyway. The people that I know who have taken such medication have all relapsed, in fact.
The best treatment for an alcoholic is whatever works for them and actually helps them to stay sober. For some people, this will be AA. But for the vast majority, AA does not work, and they are left without much options.
When AA is done right it becomes a program of holistic growth and personal development. This goes a bit beyond what is discussed in the typical meetings but it is in line with what is promised in the Big Book. The idea is to create a new life for yourself in recovery. This is about living life, not about sitting in meetings all day. Most alcoholics intuitively know this. The ultimate treatment for alcoholism is creative living.
Of course the baseline for recovery is still the same, and it always will be. The key to early recovery is to take drastic action. This has to happen before the alcoholic can start to actively pursue a new life in recovery. If you do not take massive action in early sobriety, then there is no foundation with which to grow on. You have to change your whole life and set yourself up for sobriety early on, in a big way. For some people this might mean going to rehab. For others this might mean going to meetings every day. And for you it might mean something else entirely. But has to be big, drastic action, or it is not going to work.
The best treatment for alcoholics is drastic treatment. Massive action is the key.