These days there are a number of different paths available to people who wish to quit their addiction. There is no one approach that is guaranteed to work for everyone, but there is almost certainly something suitable for every type of individual. Some people do well with rehab and therapy while others find that the support of a recovery fellowship is preferable. There is no right path in recovery there is only the one that is right for the individual. If people are unsure about which path is best for them they can seek guidance from an addiction therapist.
So far there has not been one approach to addiction recovery that has proved effective for everyone. People follow different paths into the sober life and what works for one person might not work for somebody else. When there is a push towards using one particularly type recovery path it is referred to as the one size fits all approach. This has not proved to be an effective way of dealing with addicts because:
* Some addicts will only have one attempt at getting sober because they might never have the same motivation again. If these people are pushed onto a recovery path that does not suit them it will be a wasted opportunity.
* Those people who are guided into the wrong recovery approach for them may come to the conclusion that giving up alcohol or drugs is not a worthwhile option.
* The wrong recovery path can actually be damaging to the individual. This is particularly true if the individual has some type of dual diagnosis.
* If people are directed towards inappropriate options it can be a waste of resources.
* The one size fits all approach puts people off seeking help for their addiction in the first place.
The general consensus in the recovery community these days is that there is no path to recovery that is going to suit everyone.
There are a number of different recovery paths including:
* In-patient rehab
* Out-patient rehab
* Cognitive behavioral or other types of therapy.
* Combination of rehab followed by therapy.
* Lifetime memberships of a 12 Step recovery fellowship such as Alcoholics Anonymous.
* Membership of a recovery fellowship that does not use the 12 Steps.
* Rehab followed by recovery fellowships.
* Some people manage to give up with hardly any support.
* Religious or spiritual groups
* Meditation as a recovery path.
Groups like Narcotics Anonymous have helped many people achieve lasting sobriety, but this is not an approach that works for everyone. Some people will manage to build a successful recovery without any contact with such groups. The 12 step programs are based on the idea that the member should attend for the rest of their life. This is because one of the principles of the program is that the alcoholic is never cured, and that their continued sobriety is dependent on practicing the 12 Steps. The concern is that if the member stops going to meetings they will stop practicing the steps.
It is fairly common for 12 Step members to stop going to meetings once they have been sober for a few years. Some of these people find that their life does become uncomfortable so they return to meetings. There are other individuals who claim to do fine without regular attendance at this group. Unfortunately there are also plenty of examples of people who stopped going to meetings and relapsed back to addiction afterwards. These can sometimes be individuals who have been sober for many years. Their example is used to emphasize the need for lifelong attendance at meetings.
Some people who have given up an addiction prefer to refer to themselves a recovering addict while others prefer to drop the addict label altogether. There are good justifications for why either of these approaches may be acceptable. Some people find that recovering addict is a fairer description of their situation, and the benefits of this include:
* It reminds the individual that they are not like other people when it comes to alcohol or drugs.
* Those people who belong to a recovery fellowship prefer this label because it is what holds the group together.
* By identifying themselves as a recovering addict the individual can act as an inspiration to those who still struggling with addiction.
* The label reminds the individual that they still have work to do in order to maintain their recovery.
Other people do not wish to be associated with the negative stigma of the addict label, and they want that part of their life to be over. It is perfectly acceptable for people to not use the recovering addict label so long as they:
* Do not start believing that recovered means that they are safe to drink or use drugs again.
* Do not believe that all they have to do is give up alcohol or drugs in order for their life to improve. In order to build a successful life away from addiction the individual will need to make many changes and develop new coping strategies.
* Do not forget how bad their life became as a result of their addiction. There is a wise saying, those who forget their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
* Do not become overconfident so that they take their new life for granted and stop doing the things that are keeping them sober.
It is important that people keep an open mind about their recovery and do not dismiss things out of hand. The benefits of maintaining this type of attitude are:
* It can sometimes by a recovery path that is not initially appealing that could prove to be the most effective. It can also be that the option that is most appealing might be the least effective.
* People need to avoid dismissing any recovery option out of hand. In order to build a successful recovery the individual should carefully consider every option.
* The individual needs to carefully consider their reasons for dismissing or choosing a specific path in recovery. Sometimes the individual can be sabotaging their own future by choosing an option that they believe is going to be easiest.
* Just because people find a recovery option that seems to work for them does not mean that they should discredit other options. Some people are so happy to have found an effective path that they want to prescribe it for everyone else – they forget that other approaches could be equally effective for other people.
* Every recovery option requires taking an initial leap of faith. The individual has to be open minded enough to believe that this option can really work for them.
* Cynicism and negativity are highly dangerous for people in recovery. If the individual has already made up their mind that a recovery path is not going to be effective it can become a self fulfilling prophecy.
* If people have attempted a treatment option previously but failed they might be best trying something else. Sometimes failure can be at least partially attributed to choosing the wrong path.
It can be confusing for people who are trying to give up their addiction and do not feel sure about which direction to turn. A good option is to seek advice from an addiction therapist. This professional can help the individual to weigh up the pros and cons of different approaches so that they can choose the one that is going to be most appropriate. Once the individual has selected a path they need to put all their effort into making it work. Swapping recovery paths in early recovery is not recommended because it can be too disruptive. It is also going to take at least a few months to give any recovery option a fair try. Ultimately each individual has to find their own unique path.