What are the best resources that a person can tap into for alcoholism or drug addiction recovery?
The single best resource, by far, is that of inpatient treatment.
If there is one key point that you get from all this, let it be this:
Inpatient treatment, the kind where you would typically stay for 28 days in an inpatient rehab, can save your life.
Now I do realize that people have managed to recover by doing other things. For example, there was a time when there pretty much were no treatment centers at all–they simply did not exist yet, and a handful of people still managed to recover from addiction back then.
How did they do it?
They did it by using the same sort of principles and ideas and concepts that are now found at 28 day treatment programs. So in one case, an alcoholic may have been isolated in a hospital ward and kept “safe” from the threat of drinking for a certain period of time, after which they were taken to AA meetings. Or in some cases a struggling alcoholic was detoxed at home while people in AA watched over them as best they could. People did what they could, given the resources that they had, and sometimes it worked out well.
Today we have even better resources than this, and that is found in its most concentrated form at an inpatient rehab facility. There you can find nearly every resource that you might find on the outside–counseling, therapy, group therapy, AA and NA meetings, peer support, and so on. So all of those resources that might be helpful to someone’s recovery today can all pretty much be found at an inpatient treatment center.
This is why my best and most powerful suggestion to the struggling addict or alcoholic is to take themselves to a 28 day inpatient treatment program. There may be a few alternatives to this but I strongly recommend that they seek out inpatient treatment. There is no better way to get started in your new recovery journey, and there is no way to get more support and tap into more resources all at the same time, than by attending inpatient treatment.
Now you may be saying to yourself “sure, that might work for some people. But I can’t go to rehab because of (fill in the blank with an excuse).”
There are a million and one excuses as to why you can not, or should not, or will not attend an inpatient treatment center. I know this because at one time I attempted to use all of these possible excuses.
I tried to argue, for example, that my job needed me. I could not walk away from my job because it was just too darn important.
This is laughable. Even the president of the United States could step away and still have someone fill in for him. You are not that critical that you cannot go away for a month. The world will continue to turn.
Others argue that their family needs them, and that they could not possibly step away from their family.
Again, this is silly. What if you died in a drug overdose or a drunk driving accident? What if your addiction suddenly killed you? Would your family go on without you at that point?
Of course they would. And they will go on without you while you go to an inpatient treatment center.
The truth is, when you are stuck in addiction, you are not operating at 100 percent of your potential–whether you are a parent, a sibling, a peer, a friend, or an employee. It doesn’t matter what your various roles are in life, because whatever they may be, you could be doing them so much better if you were clean and sober. There is no question about this.
Just ask any person in addiction recovery how much more effective they are in life, and in their various roles, now that they are clean and sober. Ask them to compare their effectiveness today to when they were still stuck in active addiction. They will laugh out loud at this because it is no contest.
Furthermore, some addicts and alcoholics even try to argue that they are more effective when they are self medicating, that they are a better person when they are drunk or high all the time. Quite honestly, I tried to argue this myself, and it is a ridiculous argument. But when I was stuck in my addiction I truly believed that being drunk made me a better person, simply because it helped me to overcome being so shy. Never mind that I was falling down through glass coffee tables in a blackout! I still believed that alcohol fixed me and made me into a better person. Ridiculous.
So I want you (or your loved one) to take a good look at your excuses, and then I want you to go to an AA meeting and take a good look at the people there who have multiple years sober. Tell them you are thinking about recovery and you are wondering if your life will really be that much better in sobriety. I can assure you that the folks at an AA meeting will just about fall down laughing at this idea, and then they will do everything that they can to convince you to dive head first into recovery. They will try to convince you to come back to the AA meeting, but some will also suggest inpatient treatment. In short, they will urge you to use every resource that you possibly can in order to turn your life around and get into recovery.
Because the people at AA meetings who have a few years sober know what the payoff is. There is no sacrifice that is too great, there is no price that you could pay that would be too high in order to “afford” yourself sobriety and recovery. The benefits and the payoff are just too darn good.
Of course the day you quit drinking you don’t all of a sudden experience 100 percent of the benefits of recovery. Instead, it is a curve. Over the first 30 days or so you start to reel in more and more of the benefits. And after a full year or two of sobriety you will have experienced tons and tons of benefits to recovery. But even after five or ten years you will still be getting more and more benefits to recovery.
You just have to have enough faith and enough hope that you can get to the tipping point, where you can reach that magical moment in your recovery journey in which you realize that you are no longer obsessing over alcohol or drugs on a daily basis, and in fact you cannot even remember the last time that you thought about taking a drink or a drug. That moment will likely come during your first year of recovery, and it is a miracle. And then from there, you will continue to experience more and more benefits of recovery as time goes on. All of this is provided, of course, that you are doing the work in recovery and pushing yourself to become a better person.
Again, your single best resource to get started on this new life is inpatient treatment. If there were an easier or better way than staying in rehab for 28 days, I would tell you about it right now. But the truth is, 28 days is nothing compared to the massive benefit and joy that you will get from a new life in recovery. Don’t hesitate to make the most important decision of your life. Get to rehab as soon as you can!