What alcoholic treatments are most effective for helping the struggling alcoholic? What has proven to be the best method for treating alcoholism?
One would think that in this day and age, we would have much better information regarding these types of questions, but really we do not. Currently the best thing we have going is basically still 12 step programs. There has not been many new developments in the field of substance abuse therapy that have really done much to change things.
For example, some people might seek treatment for alcoholism by going to see a counselor or a therapist on a regular basis. Or another alcoholic might go see a doctor and try some medication that helps to control cravings. Or someone else might find a support group outside of AA. And so on.
So there are alternatives to traditional, 12 step recovery. But none of them offer outstanding results, or even the same success rate as simply attending AA alone.
Of course, anyone can combine any or all of these therapies in hopes of getting better overall treatment for their condition, but ultimately it is the same basic outcomes. Success rates remain pretty low across the board, though some people do recover. The type of treatment or the approach used does not seem to play a huge factor in getting positive results.
It is almost like the only thing that really matters for treating alcoholics is the level of surrender from the alcoholic themselves. No amount of therapy or counseling or group sessions or medication can really help a person overcome their addiction if they are not willing to put in the effort.
There is no alcoholic treatment that has a clear edge over other methods. There is no sure fire way to treat alcoholics that results in significantly better success rates. There is no magic bullet in treating alcoholism, because the critical factor is the person themselves, not the treatment method.
The treatment methods are all basically the same. There really is only one major difference: abstinence based programs versus moderation programs that seek to teach people how to control their drinking. Pretty much anything that seeks to teach moderation is just plain nuts. Everything else can really be lumped together as being the same old thing: abstinence based treatment to stop drinking. Again, there is no magic out there. The 12 steps are just path out of many. Even with an overwhelming amount of peer support, many alcoholics still relapse.
Pick a treatment and go with it. Experiment. Combine therapies. Use medications if your doctor thinks it might help. Try everything. You have nothing to lose.