Many people who end up in treatment for alcoholism make the mistake by thinking that if they just “roll up their sleeves” and attack their treatment the same way they have handled other challenges in their lives, they will be successful.
It’s not the same.
Alcohol recovery isn’t the same kind of obstacles and challenges you’ve faced in your life before. This isn’t about making a few changes to eat better or to start working out.
Your Mindset is Probably Wrong
If you are headed off to treatment and plan to handle it like this, you’re setting yourself up for failure. This is one of the reasons so many people have to seek treatment multiple times before they finally break through and are able to live a sober life.
Getting sober, and staying sober means you will have to literally change your life. Not part of your life, your whole, entire life. You have no frame of reference to call upon to prepare you for this kind of a challenge.
Unfortunately, the experiences in your past may even make your recovery even more difficult in the beginning. You may feel that your recovery will be easy because of the other challenges you have been able to overcome. Or maybe you think that since you’re smarter than most people, you can just go through the motions, say what you’re supposed to say, learn what you’re supposed to learn and you will be magically rewarded with a new life.
The fact is that most people who seek treatment for alcoholism arrive with a mindset like that and it is destined to not work.
The reality is that even if you try just as hard as everyone else, you’re still likely to relapse. Why? Because numbers show that only about 10% of the people who seek treatment stay sober for the rest of their life.
That makes recovery much more of a challenge than you’ve ever faced before. People that try really, really, really hard still don’t succeed.
You can’t go into it with the same mindset as your other life challenges because it’s just not the same and you have no frame of reference of what you will face until you’ve been there before.
Pass / Fail
Another thing that makes recovery so difficult is that it’s a pass/fail process. If you are trying to eat healthier and lose weight, if you only lose half of the weight you wanted to, you were still able to experience some success. There IS a middle level of success.
For alcoholics, you are either sober or you’re not. The middle ground is a failure. In many instances, you have to learn how to fail at treatment and sobriety and learn from it before you can ever succeed.
Different Recovery Methods
Another reason recovery from alcohol abuse is so difficult is because there is no “right” answer. Nearly 80% of the treatment facilities are based on the 12-step program. The problem is that the 12-step method doesn’t work for everyone.
The other problem is that there is no real way to determine what approach is best for you until you go through it. For other challenges in your life, you could do research to find the best approach to take. Although research is important in recovery, it won’t necessarily always lead you directly to the “right” answer.
You now have a much more clear understanding of why recovery from alcohol abuse is so difficult. It is unlike any challenge you have ever faced before and you have nothing to compare it to or help you prepare.
You simply have to make the decision that you’re ready to change your life and you have to do everything possible to get it done. It will not be easy. You may not find success the first time you try, but you should keep trying. In the end, regardless of how difficult the struggle is, it will be worth it.