People frequently call us and wondering if our alcohol treatment program will work; some have been through other programs and not found success.
In our experience, people often fall into a few categories of attitudes regarding their approach to treatment:
1) “I only sort of want help, and I want you to do all of the work. So I’ll say I want help, but don’t expect me to do much of anything.”
2) “I really don’t want help—I just want you to get someone (spouse, kids, parents, judge, employer, etc.) off my case. So I am going to sabotage whatever you try to do while I continue to insist that I really do want help. Good luck.”
3) “I really do want help, so what is it you need from me so I can work with you to get me moving forward and leaving alcohol abuse behind?”
We don’t think there is any mystery as to who is most apt to make progress, regardless which program they try. One obvious clue is in the question itself: “Will your program work?” We’re sorry, but we don’t have a magic wand, silver bullet, or miracle cure, nor does anyone else.
Mostly it will come down to you and how much you are willing to invest in yourself, how motivated you are, and how well the type of treatment you select matches your needs and preferences.
“Why go to treatment at all?” you ask. If you are in either of the first two categories, changing your attitude will greatly improve your chances of success. You will get your money’s worth if you can get yourself into a place of truly wanting to change, for your own sake, and of your own volition.
If you do want to improve your life, the right treatment program will save you a lot of wasted time and effort while introducing you to options you probably didn’t realize you had. Good treatment is also about giving you permission to live your life, not someone else’s.
If you want to leave alcohol behind, as a life focus, or moderate your drinking, or prefer to be in charge of your own life, then you’ll want to select one of the few possibilities that that will work with you as a person, not as an “alcoholic.” These programs will help you refocus your life, expand your interests, coping skills, and perspectives. The best ones will be individually tailored to you.
“Will this program work?” It will if you want it to. If you select one that matches your needs and perspective, and if you are willing to participate in your own recovery, it can work. If you aren’t will to participate in y our recovery, no program, no matter how much you pay, or how much they pamper you, will change anything for more than the duration of your stay. No one can root alcohol abuse out of your life for you any more than the best personal trainer can lose weight for you.
If you are serious about overcoming your alcohol problems, hire the best help you can get, just like you do with your physician, trainer, or coach. Listen, learn, question, and take charge of the changes you are making. Your life really can become your own personal renovation project, and the end product can be even more rewarding than any television “reality” transformation.
© Copyright 2010 by Edward Wilson, Ph.D., MAC, therapist in Rolling Hills Estates, California. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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