The key to successful substance abuse rehabilitation is in the following principles:
1) Massive initial action on the part of the individual in order to affect great change in their life.
2) Complete surrender to their disease, which leads to the willingness to take this massive action and actually make a significant change.
3) Transition into a life of recovery, that is characterized by healthy self esteem, personal growth, holistic health, and helping others.
Some of this is seemingly borrowed from 12 step programs, but if you notice that the long term strategy for continued sobriety has very little to do with sitting in meetings all day, and a lot more to do with balance in your life. Seeking personal growth and holistic health should be the ultimate goals of recovery. Continuous self improvement and challenging yourself to grow further are critical concepts of long term recovery. Many in traditional programs, such as the 12 step fellowship, end up relapsing at some point due to the fact that they get complacent and are too quick to practice self acceptance. Substance abuse rehab needs to challenge this model of thinking and get people to become more growth oriented in recovery.
An example of this can be found in traditional 12 step meetings. Many times people are complacent. They may focus on spiritual growth and manage to stay sober, but they are not doing themselves any favors when it comes to their holistic health. They may smoke cigarettes and not work out at all or engage in regular exercise. They may also have poor nutrition and poor relationships in their life. Maybe they have a lot of stress and manage it poorly. But in spite of any of these types of problems, the person will justify all of it, claiming that they are “at least sober and making spiritual progress.”
This is where holistic health and personal growth need to become a priority. The person is established in their recovery and they are not about to pick up a drink–not anytime soon anyway. Instead of clinging to a model of recovery that only has them maintaining the status quo, they need to push themselves to start making growth in new areas. For example, fixing all of those problems I mentioned above. Most in the 12 step programs eventually figure this out: you see long time members start to quit smoking, start meditating more, start managing stress better, and so on.
Long term sobriety is not the goal….it is just the baseline. Go beyond that and seek new avenues of growth.