Some may say it's hard, others say it's easy; determining what makes up a good alcohol treatment program. In simple terms, a good treatment program is one that keeps someone sober.
Different Stages or Types of Sobriety
The term "stage of sobriety" is an interesting statement. Stage would suggest that someone is moving through something that is meant to be changing or controlled in some way. In my personal opinion, I think stage of sobriety should be reserved to those who are actually working some type of program to stay sober. chances are if they're not, they won't even consider themselves being in any stage of sobriety... heck the thought won't really cross their mind. To them, their either drinking or they're not. Sort of like how the alcoholic thinks about how many drinks he/she is going to have or thinking about their limit on the way to the restaurant or bar. The non-alcoholic just thinks about what they might eat and if the thought of a beer comes up during their meal, "hey, that sounds good." At least that's how I imagine it happens... At least it did for me. Oh, by the way, welcome to the mind of an alcoholic.
Alcoholism is a twofold disease according Alcoholics Anonymous; an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind. A good treatment program in my opinion is one that deals with both of these areas of the disease. And yes, some argue whether or not alcoholism is actually a disease, that's a debate for another time. Let me just say that those who have it and do not treat it, whether they realize it or not, will more than likely die directly from drinking or some complications created by their excessive use of alcohol. Again this is just my opinion, and yes I believe there are facts or statistics to back this up, but this is not a medical journal or scientific paper, just one alcoholics opinion so take it what it's worth.
Treatment of the Symptoms
Most people seem to think that if they or someone they know who is an alcoholic simply stops drinking, their life will get better. That's not usually the case. Think about it... why has the person began drinking all the time in the first place? Now, there are those who simply drink to have fun, then at some point they become alcoholic, which can certainly be the case. But what many don't realize is that the simple act of drinking a lot and feeling remorseful for it can make someone drink more. It's like a never ending cycle of feeling bad for yourself and then numbing those feelings with alcohol. Like the adage, "I'll stop tomorrow" yet tomorrow never comes.
The thing about an alcoholism treatment program is, it should treat the causes not just the symptoms. Drinking/drugs is the symptom of something else. Like the saying goes, sober up a horse thief and you've still got a horse thief. A good treatment program will look into why a person drinks in the first place. With that said, I must point out that not every alcoholic drinks because of some traumatic childhood incident or experience. I for one had a great childhood, loved it and wouldn't change anything. I grew up on a farm with loving parents and wasn't locked in the basement or abused.
I'm not sure when or how I became an alcoholic, but the fact is I did. It's like developing an allergy to oranges, you have no idea of knowing which orange made you allergic but once you have you have the allergy it's already to late. I started drinking in my early teens which I believe, set the stage for me to stop growing emotionally. As a result of my drinking I never really learned how to deal with emotions in a healthy manner which resulted in trouble later in life. The point here (one that I learned painfully) is that we cannot go back and "figure out" why we drank to begin with, fix it, and then start drinking like a normal person again. That is not what alcoholism treatment does. Once a pickle, never a cucumber. There's no going back to becoming a (non)alcoholic.
A Complete Holistic Treatment Program
The best treatment programs are ones that treat all areas of a person; mind, body, and spirit. For example, just attending support group meetings is usually not enough as the individual will start to make their sobriety contingent on the group itself. At some point (the person moves or gets sick) and is unable to use the group for support, and they are in a precarious place.
One of the greatest parts of a complete and successful recovery program is the development of happiness and gratitude. People take care of things they're grateful for; that definitely applies to their sobriety. It's important for people in recovery to learn how to have a fun time not drinking and that life is to be lived and enjoyed; and that they can surely do it sober.