Rehab is for Winners
The most common reason for why people fail to achieve long-term sobriety following treatment for addiction is they have the wrong attitude. It isn’t that these individuals are weaker, or somehow less capable, than those who succeed – it is more about their less effective approach to recovery. In order for you to have the best possible chance of overcoming addiction, you need to develop certain characteristics and the five most important of these would include:
1. The Determination to Succeed
“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a lasting sobriety? If the answer to this is ‘yes’, you are almost certain to succeed once you have the right resources. The one thing that can detract from this determination is any ambivalence you have towards sobriety – if you still hold onto the hope of being able to drink or take drugs like a ‘lady’ or a ‘gentleman’, it is going to weaken your resolve. Once you understand that recovery is your only option, it is going to be much easier for you to create realistic goals and succeed-one day at a time.
2. No Longer Focusing on Excuses for Failure
Those who are able to succeed with alcohol/drug addiction treatment have the same excuses to fail than everyone else – the difference is they are not focused on these excuses and give them too much power, they discuss and challenge these excuses. If you enter a drug and alcohol rehab with a list of reasons for why it is not going to work, it is going to make it harder for you stay motivated and receive the help on offer. There is also the risk of you creating a self-fulfilling prophecy where your negative expectations cause the negative outcome to occur.
3. Distorted Thinking
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”
Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)
If you are unwilling to have your beliefs and ideas challenged, you may not be able to get much out of an addiction treatment programme. The process of addiction leads to distorted thinking, and you need to be able to dislodge these unhelpful ways of looking at the world in order to make progress.
4. Loss of Appetite for the Fight against Addiction
In Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, newcomers are often advised to ‘surrender to win’. If you still believe you can win the fight against addiction, you are not going to be fully committed to sobriety. It means you at some point in the future, you are likely to once again experiment to see if you can now take control of your drinking or drug use. This is like repeatedly getting back into the ring with a heavyweight champion who has already demolished you and you have no chance of beating him.
5. A Willingness to Take Responsibility for their Own Future
Addiction recovery is not a passive process, and there is nobody else who can fix you. Even the best alcohol and drug rehab programme in the world can only give you the resources you need to succeed – it is up to you to put these tools to use. Winning at rehab happens when you take responsibility for your own feelings and your future.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process