Why a “One Size Fits All” Addiction Treatment Does Not Work

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) definition of recovery is, “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Of course, this change needs to be conditioned by a willingness and desire to make a life-altering change to stay abstinent. However, these two qualities are not all that it takes to defeat addiction and its negative impact on a person’s life.

On the other hand, The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines recovery as “an active process of continual growth that addresses the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual disturbances inherent in addiction.”

Since addiction is a multiple-dimensional animal, it’s easy to see why different treatments work for different people and why there’s isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. People who struggle with addiction come from different social and economic environments, family backgrounds, and more. Therefore, it’s imperative for those who seek help to call 24-hour addiction helpline (Addiction Resource) and receive the right information for them.

Addiction treatment has one main goal: a sustained state of remission absent of substance disorder, and people who struggle with addiction will choose the best method for them. There are many different recovery options to choose from, including treatment for problematic patterns of behavior and thinking, clinical involvement that focuses on skill development, and different medication treatments to help reduce cravings to combat relapse.

However, there are patients that do extremely well with natural recovering processes that may not require them to dial a drug hotline. Others, for example, find the help they need simply by joining designated chat rooms and other alternative recovery programs.

Moreover, getting help to combat addiction doesn’t necessarily imply clinical treatment; some people benefit immensely from a solid family support system, coaching services, or communities.


Understanding Where Someone’s Addiction Lies

Most of us have heard about the 12-step program that’s had immense success and has proven to be a great refuge for battling addiction. However, those who agree to take the 12 steps are usually people who have some understanding of their disease or at least realize that they have a substance abuse problem. On the other hand, those who are still in denial or underestimate the seriousness of their disease may not be seeking treatment, including the 12-steps program.

All is not lost. If you know someone who may be struggling with addiction, you can get more information by calling a drug question hotline, and they will help you get the right information. But, in the end, the best recovery choice should be taken by the addict.

It’s also important to state that ‘hitting rock bottom’ does not necessarily mean that an individual’s health is on the line. Some are ready to accept help when they find themselves in other dire circumstances, like hurting a loved one’s feelings or alienating them. If we can understand this fact, we may be more prepared to help them when they need us most.


The one-size-fits-all method does not work

Addicts or not, every individual has the right to choose the right recovery pathway for them. Fortunately, today there are countless productive tools and strategies to help people combat addiction and substance abuse. Usually, what works for one individual may not work for another, so it’s important to respect their choices when it comes to their sobriety.

Historically speaking, the 12-step program has been a favorite in the addiction treatment industry, but unfortunately, it may not seem like the right option for those who don’t suffer from severe addiction or individuals who suffer from mental illness or psychiatric disorders. So, for those who do not wish to follow the 12-step program, they should be offered the choice to go with other types of treatments. Needless to say, treatment programs and addiction helplines have an ethical duty to refer them to treatment programs that they are comfortable choosing.

Those who suffer from addiction should always have a choice and most likely will realize on their own that something has to change. This way, the road to recovery will not only be their personal choice, but they’ll do it their way. Having said this, they will also have a higher chance of succeeding than those who are still in denial or refuse to get help.


Legal Precedent for Choosing the Recovery Program of Choice 

Fortunately, with so many options today, things are not so black and white. The British Columbia (BC) Human Rights Tribunal distributed a recent legal ruling which talks about the importance of having access to different recovery programs to fit everyone’s needs. One such example is the case of nurse Byron Wood who finally reached a settlement with his former employer, Vancouver Coastal Health. After refusing to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, which was a condition of his employment, he was fired. Even though Mr. Wood agreed to participate in different recovery programs, his requests were ignored.

This was not an isolated case; there have been similar legal rulings in the United States courts. The 12-step programs are broad, spiritual, areligious, non-denominational ways of life that talk about connecting to a higher power.



All in all, there were individuals who expressed their feelings that the 12-step program being too explicitly religious, which can make others feel uncomfortable, especially if they’re not religious. Individuals may also feel skeptical about a religious program, especially if they have experienced religious trauma in the past or they’ve felt brainwashed in one sense or another.

No one should be forced to attend the 12-steps program or any other program for that matter because it will prove to be ineffective. So, it’s important to respect everyone’s choice for opting for the best treatment for them personally.

Also, if you find yourself needing help and would like to talk to someone about a possible drug or alcohol addiction, we recommend that you check out this drug rehab hotline here.

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