The use of slogans in recovery has become an important part of the process for many people, albeit unwittingly at times.
This slogan, awareness, acceptance and action is often referred to as the 3 A’s, and essentially refers to a process that many people quite naturally go through when beginning the process of recovery from alcoholism, either in a rehab, or at an AA meeting.
The term acceptance is often used, especially in a rehab, to focus on the need to own the fact that an individual has a problem with alcohol or other drugs before they are able to move forward and do something about it.
Whilst this may be a fairly obvious position to take and to understand, the need for an alcoholic to accept that they have a problem with alcohol is actually much more complicated than might first seem the case.
The whole process of entering a rehab and doing any of the various programs that might be on offer as part of the recovery process, are geared towards developing both a sense of awareness and as such a sense of acceptance about the reality of a person’s life and their drinking or drug use.
The very fact of entering a rehab is of itself a form of action, but this may not be an action of free will by an individual. It may effectively have been done by an intervention or simply to appease family pressure or work/employment pressure.
Staff who work in a rehab will mostly be either trained medically, or be trained addiction counsellors as well. Many staff who work in a rehab will also be in recovery themselves from alcoholism, and will refer to themselves as recovering/recovered alcoholics.
This does have some advantages in that they will have been through the process of recovery, either in a rehab themselves or by virtue of having gone to AA meetings.
They will have a much better felt understanding of the need for awareness and acceptance than would otherwise have been the case.
A rehab is often seen as quite a stark and rigid environment, given the fairly strict set of rules and regulations they have regarding admission and residential treatment programs.
This rigidity in a rehab and quite often seem very oppressive from the outside, yet at the same time give a sense of security to an alcoholic who has entered a rehab for the purposes of recovery.
Awareness and acceptance of alcoholism/drug abuse can take a long time, for a number of quite complex reasons.
Perhaps the main reason or think I understand is one that hopefully will be raised and come to be processed whilst in a rehab.
This is the fact that an alcoholic will see alcohol, quiteoften subconsciously, as the only thing that is really holding them together, and will see the idea of trying to get them to stop drinking as much more of a threat that a solution.
This will have very little to do with the reality of where life has got to, both internally and externally.
The job that a rehab should be doing is helping the alcoholic to understand the nature of their denial, the reasons for it, the acceptance that it is natural for them to see alcohol as the solution not the problem, and a way forward that gives them hope that they can reconcile these seemingly irreconcilable positions.
If a rehab can do this, and give the alcoholic hope, then they will have done a good job. Often the most a rehab can do is to sow seeds as to what the problems are, and give the alcoholic a way out once they have left the rehab.
The journey forward in terms of recovery is a long one, for many people it starts in a rehab, others go direct to 12-step meetings such as AA/NA, either whilst on a rehab or directly.
What ever the beginning of the process, the need for people to accept themselves and the reality of what they are doing and why they are doing it is a key part of loving themselves, and understanding why their destructive behaviour is something they held onto and believe is of supreme value in their lives.