The key to successful drug rehabilitation programs is that they need to inspire people to take massive action. Without massive action, recovering addicts and alcoholics tend to relapse very quickly in their recovery journey. Nothing becomes permanent without follow through, and that means action.
The traditional method of recovery is the 12 step program. This is good in some ways and bad in other ways. Quite possibly, there may not really be a strong alternative to it, ever. But as it exists right now, the vast majority of people reject the 12 step program and drop out of it within the first year. This is based on Alcoholics Anonymous census data, where they show figures that they used from polling all of the registered AA groups for over 30 years straight.
Now many people will “stick and stay” in AA programs, and of those who do, many will find quality sobriety. There is no question about this. Some people do, in fact, make it in AA. But they are in the strict minority. It begs the question that perhaps we could be doing better, if only we could find a better point of leverage.
There probably does not exist a superior form of leverage, though, especially when it comes to motivating addicts and alcoholics. The bottom line is that the program is not failing these people, but these people are failing the program. They want the world handed to them on a platter, and the reality is that recovery is a lot of hard work. Devout AA followers get confused here, thinking that AA has a magic formula for success in recovery. In fact, the magic formula is the hard work, not the 12 steps or any of their other traditions and recovery strategies.
This is why the best drug rehab programs draw from 12 step philosophies but also inspire addicts to take consistent action. Anyone can analyze a mountain of data from people who leave rehab and show how those who stay involved in 12 step programs tend to do much better in the long run. It is a simple numbers game of action. Take an addict fresh out of rehab, and study what they are actually doing. If they participate heavily in recovery activities, they will tend to do well. If they basically do nothing different but attempt to eliminate drug use, they will tend to do poorly. There is no magic in recovery beyond hard work and consistent action. Taking positive steps in your life is actually pretty easy to do. It is summoning the motivation and the conviction to follow through with this that is the problem.
The mistake that many people make is in believing that rehab programs inspire motivation in people. They do not. The motivation must come from within, before you attend rehab.