Does Rehab Work?

The question, “Does rehab work?” is hard to answer—not because of the results it brings, but with how the question is asked. It is like asking if doors work. Sure, they open, but to get to the other side, you have to put one foot in front of the other until you cross the threshold.

Our Orange County drug rehab believes that, like anything in life, you get as much out of the process as you are willing to put in. If you put in a half-hearted or non-committal attitude, then of course it won’t work—not if you are a true addict or alcoholic. As the Big Book of AA says, “Half measures availed us nothing.” Not half, not three-quarters, not even a tenth—nothing.

That same book also points out that if you are a real alcoholic and/or addict, there will come a day when there will be no defense from the next drink (or drug). That part is important. It means that no matter what you do, no matter how much time you have, no matter how many people you work with, no matter the number of meetings you go to—there will come a day when the alcoholic will drink again.

So, does rehab work? Yes, it does. But does that guarantee long-term sobriety until the day we die? No. Unfortunately, it does not. What it does, though, is provide the alcoholic with the tools needed to live from moment-to-moment, day-by-day without picking up a drink or a fix.

So it works, but it doesn’t? How does that work? I mean, if you keep doing the same things day after day without getting loaded, you won’t go back, right? In theory, this is correct, but the actions are not what keep us clean and sober. It is the relationship we develop with a Higher Power of our choosing and our understanding that provides the Grace that gives each addict or alcoholic relief for that day. Remember that only one of the 12-Steps actually mentions alcohol. The rest relate to our spiritual lives and conduct.

Does rehab work? Yes. It works, but rehab is like a Christmas gift for a child. Too often addicts and alcoholics get fixated on the box itself rather than what the box contains. That is the true gift that lies in recovery. It isn’t all the added benefits that come with getting clean and sober. It is finding something that is, at its most basic and primal level, infinitely greater than the sum of any of those parts ever could be.

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