1. Strong motivation - If the drinker is not aware or can't see that drinking has become problematic, the logic becomes why fix something that isn't broken?. This is a huge problem because the denial of a problem is one of the defining characteristics of alcohol addiction. Now, even if the drinker does believe that they have a problem, there's a question of whether they're willing to do something about it, and what are they willing to do? Often they may concede that there's a problem with their drinking, but are not motivated to "do what ever it takes" to become completely abstinent. They will spin around in circles in futile efforts to maintain 'control' over their drinking.
2. The timing must be right. - When a drinker realizes problems are occurring in their life because of drinking, that is a start, but not enough. Many alcohol users are perfectly aware that the drinking is a problem but are not ready to tackle it. Timing and motivation are frequently brought about by personal crisis that is close to home and personal. Getting whooped in the head with a figurative 2 x 4, such as narrowly escaping death, or losing a job, or losing somebody close to them. Motivation and timing generally do not come together as a result of nagging, finger-pointing or educating the alcoholic on the evils of addiction. I knew I had a problem with drinking for 20 years, and said I could quit any time I wanted to, but the time was never quite right. If an alcohol abuser has admitted they have a problem with drinking, and says they are thinking of or ready to quit the next question is simply... now? If the timing is right we move onto the next piece of the puzzle.
3. Persistence - If the motivation and timing are in place and a drinker has actually stopped drinking and achieved abstinence, the question now is how they stay stopped drinking for the long run? The only solution is to keep abstinence and growing in sobriety the primary alcohol addiction recovery goal. That occurs because of persistence. It's crucial to keep a high level of daily awareness that no matter what twists of fate life has in store for us, returning to alcohol use is not a solution. The vast majority of people who have relapsed back into alcohol use have stated that sobriety lost its priority. They did not incorporate daily awareness of their alcoholism; proctively engage in life and relapse prevention skills. Many people returned to drink because their life is going so well they forget they have a problem with alcohol and believe they can once again return to its use and control it.
There are many ways to look at alcoholism and recovery. There is no one definite view or methodology that has been proven to be more successful than another, so there are many theories and opinions out there. It's just that my experience as an addictions counselor working with people in alcohol addiction recovery, that motivation, timing and persistence are necessary pieces of the puzzle for long-term sobriety.