What are some different treatments for alcoholism? Are there alternatives out there to the traditional 12 step program? Can these various treatments be combined? Let’s take a look.
Traditional alcoholism treatment, the most traditional method of treating alcoholism, is a 2 part procedure. First, you have to get the alcoholic sobered up. Second, you have to teach the alcoholic how to live a sober life without resorting to drinking. These are obviously two separate actions.
The traditional method for sobering someone up is to put them in a treatment center with a medical detox unit. This is pretty important and will not likely change much, because detoxing from alcohol is pretty dangerous and in fact it can be fatal. So there will probably always be a need for medically supervised alcohol detox. The only way to sober up a drunk is very carefully. Proper medical staff and monitoring is always going to be important.
So that is the detox portion of alcoholism treatment. What about the other part: “Teaching them how to live a sober life?”
Well there is plenty of room for improvement there, and obviously there are some alternatives out there. The traditional route has always been the 12 step program of AA, which is the most popular program of recovery for alcoholism by far. AA works for some but there are a few problems with it:
1) AA works for some people, but about 80 percent of everyone who attends their first AA meeting will leave the program within a year and never return. So even if the program could work miracles for everyone, AA’s internal census data shows that they are losing 80 percent of potential members right off the top, year after year.
2) People with social anxiety might never gain exposure to AA because of their anxiety.
3) Some alcoholics respond better to other methods of treatment (individual counseling over group therapy, etc.).
There are other ideas for treatment out there, including, but not limited to:
1) Medical treatments, such as medications like Campral that can help fight alcohol cravings.
2) Individual counseling, working one on one with a therapist.
3) Group therapy outside of 12 step programs.
4) Religious based solutions.
5) Holistic approaches that focus on overall health and long term growth.
And so on. There is also the potential to combine other treatments for alcoholics into one overall strategy. The best idea is to try different things in your recovery and keep the stuff that works for you. There is more than one path to sobriety and the truth is that some alcoholics will have a different path than others.
So many people will actually mislead you in recovery by trying to project onto you what ultimately worked for them. This is annoying because most people believe that everyone who gets sober must have gone through the exact same process that they did. Of course this is not true and there are actually many paths to recovery. Do not limit yourself to other people’s ideas and input. Seek out your own path and your own solutions in attempting to overcome your alcoholism.