The best drug programs for recovering addicts and alcoholics need to accomplish two major goals. Those are:
1) Inspiring the addict to take immediate and drastic action in early recovery, and
2) Teaching the addict the importance of balance and fighting complacency over the long haul in order to avoid relapse.
The first point is very easy to grasp but rather difficult to execute on. You simple have to put your nose to the grindstone and take massive action. If you are in a 12 step based recovery program, then this means going to AA or NA meetings every single day, getting a sponsor and actually using them, getting involved with the fellowship, getting involved with helping others in the program, and so on. All of this must be done consistently and as a top priority in your life. If you put this stuff on the back burner because it doesn’t fit into your schedule then you will end up relapsing. You have to attack the program of recovery with the tenacity of a pit bull. Massive action yields massive results. Simple as that.
Part of the corollary to this idea is that if you take a modest amount of action, if you put in, say, a 90 percent effort into early recovery, then guess what? You fail. You relapse. Trying “pretty hard” at early recovery is only good enough to get you into big trouble. You will end up right back where you started. The only way to succeed is to dedicate your entire life to staying clean (at least initially). This is the amount of inertia and momentum that you need to summon in order to make it through early recovery without relapsing. Overwhelming force wins the day. Make a half hearted attempt, and you are bound to fail.
Now the second part up there is about living in long term sobriety. Does it still require massive action? Not exactly. Here you must transition into a lifetime of holistic and personal growth. The biggest enemy in long term recovery is becoming complacent and relapsing. The way to fight this off is to keep pushing yourself to grow and learn new things. Another big key to this is to continue to work with other recovering alcoholics and addicts. People who stop helping others in recovery are much more susceptible to relapse.
The best drug programs can teach newly recovering addicts about both of these transitional periods in recovery. One is about explosive action and getting immediate results. The other is about slowing down, finding peace and balance in your life, and yet still pushing past self-acceptance at times in order to push yourself to grow. It is a delicate balance that no drug rehab program has really been successful at mastering.