Seeking help from an alcohol treatment center is a brave step and an important part of recovering from alcohol addiction. Merely starting treatment, however, will not be enough to control the problems caused by alcoholism. Multiple obstacles can hinder treatment and recovery in alcohol treatment centers, but alcoholics in treatment for their addictions do not have to give into these problems.
One obstacle to recovering from alcoholism is having conflicting emotions about stopping drinking. While an addict receiving treatment may have a genuine desire to dry out, he or she may also cling to the addiction as a coping mechanism for the complications of life. This is a normal response to fighting any addiction; otherwise, a person could just quit without any professional help, because the solution to the problem would seem so easy and obvious. Normal or not, the addict must overcome these conflicting emotions in order to go forward in alcohol treatment.
Sometimes in therapy and recovery, an alcoholic may reach a point at which he or she feels going further is impossible. Conflicting emotions can cause this plateau, but the emotional barrier can also be a lack of satisfaction with life outside of alcoholism, turning to negative coping mechanisms to adapt to the lack of alcohol, or slipping back into old behavioral patterns even though there is no more alcohol. Most people experience plateauing at some point in their lives; the general cure is to press forward in order eventually to break through the emotional barrier.
Sometimes alcoholics also have another mental or addiction issue that makes completing treatment twice as difficult. Depression and bipolar disorder are two common mental illnesses that often accompany alcoholism; cocaine and prescription painkillers are drugs to which alcoholics may also be addicted. In order to successfully treat alcoholism, medical professionals must also treat the other illness or addiction, adding to the challenge of recovery.
People turn to alcohol for a variety of reasons, some of them stemming from personality traits that are particularly susceptible to addiction. Impulsive attention-seekers, for example, may be prone to addiction, as may insecure people with low self-esteem. Those who have a hard time fitting in and who prefer to do things their own way may also be prone to addiction. While these common traits are not guarantees of alcohol addiction, they can still cause problems in treatment as they can cause people to stubbornly cling to damaging beliefs.
Failing to Participate
One or all of these obstacles can cause a veritable death knell to a treatment plan — an outright refusal to participate in treatment activities. Rehabilitation is not some miracle that just happens to a person; the alcoholic must work hard towards the goal of being alcohol-free. Participation is a necessary part of rehabilitation, and not taking treatment seriously will likely result in the treatment plan being unsuccessful.
Sometimes alcoholics may go to the opposite extreme of not participating: choosing another, more socially acceptable addiction as a substitute for their alcoholism. Not all treatment centers will allow recovering alcoholics to have all of the same freedoms, but alcoholics may turn to exercise, food, sex, work, or other addictions to replace the alcoholic addiction they have lost. This can complicate treatment as the problems behind the alcohol addiction have not been addressed and have merely been channeled into another area of life.
Alcohol-treatment plans may be hard, but they are worth pursuing because living an alcohol-free life has so many benefits. Those with alcoholism should not let possible obstacles to recovery stop them from pursuing alcohol-free lives.