The best drug and alcohol treatment centers show addicts and alcoholics how to take massive action. But there will never be a rehab that has better than, say, a fifty percent success rate, simply because almost no one is willing to take the massive amount of action required to stay clean and sober.
Does this mean that no one ever gets sober, and that no one should go to rehab? Of course not. But it does point out that there is no real magic in a particular treatment program, and there is no secret sauce that will help someone to recover. You have to bring your own secret sauce to the mix. That is the whole point of recovery. Even if you find a specific program (such as the 12 step program of AA), you still have to interpret that program and internalize it and make it your own. There is a set of broad principles and you have to apply these to your life in a meaningful way.
It is pretty easy to find two people who have stayed sober for several years that have a very different approach to recovery. This is possible to do even within the confines of the AA program. You can still find two success stories and see how they work almost completely different programs.
So what does this mean to the treatment centers? It just points out that there are many paths, and there is no one path to success in recovery. Trying to find the single path to recovery may be the very thing that is holding us back from achieving better success rates in the first place.
What really makes sense for recovery? An individualized approach that addresses a person’s own strengths and weaknesses in recovery is a good start. But we can go further than that by using an holistic approach to personal growth in recovery. Consider the person who is focusing on spiritual growth and development, but does this at the exclusion of other areas of growth in their life. This is basically what traditional recovery preaches for us to do. When we do so, we are ignoring:
1) Physical health, exercise, nutrition.
2) Mental health and acuity, education, higher learning, creativity.
3) Losing bad habits, such as quitting smoking.
4) Emotional balance, seeking harmony in our relationships, eliminating toxic relationships, and so on.
There are other areas of growth as well. Does your drug and alcohol treatment center address all of these areas?
What do you think it takes to stay clean and sober in the long run? Holistic growth is a very strong path in recovery.
Traditional recovery tactics that only focus on spiritual growth are not as strong as they could be. It is tough in early recovery however because the timing is not good to push people toward holistic growth. Instead, the newcomer does better to focus on taking massive action, such as by attending meetings every day. It is only through long term personal growth, however, that real success in recovery can be achieved.