Spiritual or Scientific?
The truth of the matter is that with more options to treat alcohol abuse, there would be higher chances of recovery and fewer occasions of one person feeling like a failure just because one method doesn’t work.
Being back to square one can be depressing and frustrating. The journey to sobriety starts with a strong resolve to steer clear of alcohol but admittedly, humans as we are, we can only do so much. Sometimes one small drink is all it takes to keep ourselves in one piece but caving into the temptation means breaking the pact of abstinence.
According to the AA doctrine: Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. Does this mean that you’re a failure?
The Traditional Approach
For the longest time, abstinence and faith-based 12-step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) have been considered the only solution to sobriety. And many people suffering from substance abuse disorder have sworn by its effectiveness.
Science Direct describes Alcoholics Anonymous “as a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism”.
However, 12-step programs can be polarizing and alienating. Many people who have tried it can attest to its effectiveness and how the program has helped them turn their backs on alcohol through abstinence. The social setting also fosters an environment of resilience, hope, and moral support among its members. However, the heavy inclination towards ” spiritual awakening” has been met by half-hearted enthusiasm from those who are not religious or spiritual. The strict regimented set of guidelines is also a big turn-off for some people, particularly its single approach to recovery through lifelong abstinence from alcohol.
There’s no denying that doing total abstinence or going cold turkey works for some people. However, the dilemma lies in the fact that 12 steps are not for everyone. The one-size-fits-all model just doesn’t exist especially in the wake of newer and more effective science-based alternatives which offer long-term sobriety. The truth of the matter is that with more options to treat alcohol abuse, there would be higher chances of recovery and fewer occasions of one person feeling like a failure just because one method doesn’t work.
The New Approach
With the evolution of science and a deeper understanding of the human brain, alcohol treatment has gone from spiritual to scientific.
One such approach is The Sinclair Method. This method exposes a fundamental flaw in abstinence-based treatment: that alcohol deprivation only intensifies cravings and can result in higher chances of relapse. Thus, Sinclair prescribed the drug naltrexone to control cravings and lessen alcohol consumption.
Another alternative is Heal@Home which is an app-based treatment program that combines alcohol therapy, counseling, and anti-craving medication to come up with a sustainable recovery plan. Heal@Home allows healing in the comfort and privacy of home with the supervision of certified counselors. Treatments are also personalized according to each person’s unique needs so you can be assured of a treatment program that really works for you.
Abstinence is not the only remedy. You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of alcohol. Moderation and mindful drinking work wonder too in cutting back on alcohol intake. The emphasis is to explore different options and see which works best.