What would be the key qualities that treatment facilities inspire in drug addicts and alcoholics in order to produce the best rates of success? What are the key components of a sound treatment program that produces meaningful sobriety and recovery? Let’s take a look.
Most rehab facilities tend to do much the same thing: they take addicts and alcoholics, dry them out, then stick them in residential treatment. They educate them with lectures about addiction and recovery, and they also put them in group therapy and have them discuss issues with a counselor or therapist. The vast majority of addiction treatment facilities also incorporate 12 step programs into their daily programming, and make this the basis of their recovery philosophy. This is the general approach of most facilities. There are slight variations out there, and there are even some that do radically different things than this, but they are few and far between. Most follow this outline.
Does it really work? Most would say “no” if they studied the numbers. This might not be fixable. We are dealing with a difficult population. There may not be a better answer. But success rates with this type of treatment model are nothing to write home about. In fact it is pretty embarrassing. Without digging up specific numbers, let’s just say that far less than half of all treatment attendees are still clean and sober after being gone for a year.
It might not be possible to change the treatment model significantly and get better results. But if we could get better results, what would they look like? What would the outcomes be, and what type of path would it set people on? Let’s consider the idea that those who are successful in recovery would need the follow qualities:
1) Personal growth oriented – a good rehab facility should encourage the addict or alcoholic to pursue personal growth and development, even outside of sobriety and recovery. This is important as a function of healthy self esteem. Anyone in recovery who is not sufficiently increasing their sense of self worth and self esteem is in danger of saying “screw it” and relapsing. So personal growth is a hedge against relapse.
2) Holistic health – this is meant to encourage all around health in a person. For example, nutrition, quitting smoking, and fitness and exercise should all become priorities in someone who is living in long term recovery. Without good health, recovery is useless. Poor health leads to death and relapse, and many people do not see the connection before it is too late.
Treatment centers need to find ways to inspire these strategies on a long term basis if we want to see better success rates.