What is the best way to learn how to give up alcohol and start a new life in addiction recovery? There are a couple of different routes you might take to achieve this goal, so let’s take a closer look. Many people believe that there is only one path to recovery, but this is not true. There are several paths:
1) 12 step programs such as AA and NA – If you simply start attending AA meetings and start taking some suggestions from them, your life will undoubtedly get better and you will grow in your recovery. AA is sort of the default recovery solution in a lot of cases but it does not work for everyone. In fact, from a statistics standpoint the program actually works for very few people. However, this is not to say that the program is worthless. Far from it. For being basically self run and unstructured, the twelve step program has been a Godsend to many people, and in some cases, it is the only recovery solution they have ever known.
As such, I think 12 step programs make an excellent starting point for anyone who is looking to get clean and sober. They may not turn out to be the ultimate recovery solution, but they are certainly better than nothing. The support that you can get from the fellowship of people in AA or NA is tremendous. The people there simply want to help you. Take advantage of this and give it a try.
2) Religion – It is true that many alcoholics and addicts find recovery through religion, rather than through a 12 step program. This is obvious if you hang around with other people in recovery long enough because eventually, some of the recovering alcoholics will drift toward religion as their recovery solution. It works for them, but again, it does not work for everyone.
Many people in recovery are biased toward the solution that got them clean and sober. They then go around and preach to others that this is the only solution that could possibly work for anyone. Do not listen to such people. There are many paths.
3) Counseling and therapy – Many people eventually give up booze and do so with the help of a therapist who counsels them through the decision. Again, guess what? This does not work for everyone. In fact, this may work for only a very slim selection of people, probably those who do not have a serious and full blown addiction yet, but may be headed that direction. In other words, hard core alcoholics may require more than just counseling in order to overcome their addiction. Still, therapy can be the solution for many people.
4) Exercise – Most people would initially discount the idea that exercise is a recovery solution. But there are programs out there such as “Racing for Recovery” that are based on the idea that you can stay clean and sober through exercise alone. It is a much more powerful strategy than most people give it credit for. Why is this? Because people are lazy. They would prefer to sit around in meetings and slurp coffee and chain smoke rather than put in serious effort into getting into shape. The best solution for recovery is an holistic one, and those who focus on exercise know this to be true, because the benefits they get are overwhelming.
No one solution is right for everyone in recovery. The key is that you experiment, find what works for you, and then commit to it fully. Once you find a solution that really works for you, never let go of it, and use it to grow as a person in your recovery.