How Effective is Traditional Treatment for Alcoholism, Really?

How Effective is Traditional Treatment for Alcoholism, Really?

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I am still baffled by treatment for alcoholism now that I am sober, just as much as I was baffled by alcoholism itself when I was trapped in a cycle of drinking.  At least 1 thing has happened in my universe lately that have caused me to think this way: An AA die hard relapsed.

Now when I say that an “AA die hard relapsed,” what I am talking about is a person who has been clean and sober for multiple years in recovery, and this person was very, very dedicated to the 12 step program of AA.  They did not just pay lip service to the idea of 12 step recovery, nor did they just babble on in meetings without taking real action.  No, this person was active in the recovery community, was sponsoring and working with other alcoholics, and was also doing volunteer work in the program and carrying AA meetings into institutions that desperately need to hear a good message. No, this person was not just some flophouse of an AA member who stuck around for a while and did not put in any work.  This was someone who had seemingly dedicated their life to AA and to carrying the message to suffering alcoholics.

And this person relapsed.

Youch.  Sort of blows some holes in my theories about recovery, really.  Or, at least my tendency to believe that longevity in recovery builds up protection.  That is an illusion at best, I suppose.

Now many of you know that I do not necessarily subscribe to the AA program as being our ultimate salvation in recovery.  I do not think it is mandatory for recovery, nor do I see it as being even the best solution necessarily.  But this person was basically following my ideas about recovery, and adhering to my philosophy just fine, and simply using AA as the vehicle, or the framework, for the actions that they took in recovery.

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In other words, the person relapsed even though they were taking massive action in recovery on a regular basis.  This is scary. Alcoholism treatment should be more predictable and stable, in my opinion.  If you are being that dedicated, and taking constant positive action in recovery, then my thought was that you were pretty much immune to relapse.

And thus this helps bring to light a piece of the solution: balance. What this person lacked in recovery was balance.  Holistic growth.  Personal growth, in all areas of our lives.  You have to strive for the total package.  Just seeking spiritual growth and engaging in constant Big Book thumping is not enough.  You have to go beyond that and seek holistic growth.

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