Alcohol Rehab Programs

Alcohol Rehab Programs: What To Expect And How To Choose

Alcohol Rehab Programs: What To Expect And How To Choose

Admitting that you need help with your alcohol addiction is a huge step. You can now begin the path to recovery. You will start to see things more clearly so that you can get your life back on track.

One of the first decisions you will have to make is which alcohol rehab program to choose. However, you cannot make an informed choice until you know what to expect. To assist you, what follows is a short guide explaining what you can expect when entering an alcohol rehab program.

Do You Need Detox?

Alcoholism has two primary aspects. Physical and emotional dependence. If you are physically dependent on alcohol, you are almost certainly emotionally dependent. But the opposite is not necessarily true. One can rely on alcohol on a more circumstantial basis, without becoming physically addicted.

This is not to say that one is easier to treat than the other. However, whether you are physically dependent on alcohol or not will determine whether you need to detox. Dependence happens when your body starts relying on alcohol to perform chemical functions that would otherwise happen organically. When you stop drinking, your body needs to adjust. The adjustment period can be painful and dangerous. This is what is referred to as detox.

Alcohol rehab programs will facilitate your alcohol detox at the start of your stay, if you need it. They will help you overcome your dependence with as little pain or discomfort as possible, making sure you are always safe.

The Recovery Program

Once you have safely detoxed, or if you did not need to detox, you will begin the rehab program. This is usually done on an inpatient basis. In other words, you stay in residence at the rehab center while you progress through recovery. This helps keep you away from your usual triggers, and ensures you have constant support. You are not, however, “locked in.” Recovery centers are unable to hold you against your will, and your recovery therefore has to be voluntary.

It is possible to do most programs on an outpatient basis, but it is more difficult and your chances of success are lower.

Most rehab centers around the world make use of the 12 Step recovery program. This is the program designed by the 12 Step Fellowship, and popularized by Alcoholics Anonymous. Your recovery begins with admitting you are powerless over alcohol, and progresses through the steps that help you regain control of your life.

Not all rehab centers follow the 12 Step program. Some use other evidence-based frameworks that provide a system for recovery. These programs are often attractive to individuals who find themselves unable to commit to certain 12 Step principles.

Dual Diagnosis

Most alcohol rehab centers adhere to principles of dual diagnosis. This means that they do not view alcoholism in isolation. They identify that there are reasons you became addicted to alcohol. Often, there is a separate mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, that you used alcohol to deal with. Without treating the cause of the problem, your recovery is unlikely to last once you have left the center.

Counseling And Group Therapy

The 12 Step or alternative program will be explained and taught to you in courses, but that is not all the support that the center provides. You will also be expected to attend individual and group counseling. You will be assigned a therapist who you will see regularly, and who will help you deal with the issues at the heart of your alcohol addiction. If you are suffering from a mental illness, your therapist will help you learn to manage and maintain your mental health.

You will also be expected to attend group counseling, where you will share your experiences with others in the program. You will learn from others while they in turn learn from you, and you will find their support in your recovery incredibly helpful.

Family Therapy

Alcoholism does not occur in isolation. Family dysfunction is often the cause or result of alcoholism. In most cases, it is, to some extent, both. Problems in the family system can lead to mental illness and alcohol use, and your alcohol use can lead to family members taking on certain unhealthy roles.

It is therefore crucial that the family is part of the treatment program. Family therapy can be very helpful for you and your family to learn how to relate to each other independent of the way you were living before you entered treatment.


Recovery does not end in the treatment center. Rather, it continues after you have gone back into the outside world. You continue to need support and will find that regular counseling sessions, both as an individual and in groups, can provide it. Your recovery center will offer an aftercare program that you are urged to attend for a certain period of time. You may be expected to attend external AA meetings in addition to what the recovery center offers.

How To Choose A Rehab Program

There are a number of factors that will help you decide which rehab program is right for you. The best decision will depend mainly on what you need as an individual. If you are suffering from a mental illness or suspect that you might be, a dual diagnosis program is crucial. If you have a separate or related medical problem, you’ll need a recovery center that can provide treatment for it.

Other factors in choosing a rehab program include:

  • Support: Do you already have a support network? If not, you will probably need inpatient treatment. Even if you do have a support network, inpatient treatment is recommended as it gives you the chance to get away from the context within which your alcoholism began.
  • The Program: The 12 Step program has helped millions of people over the last few decades. But it is not for everyone. Although many secular centers make use of the 12 Step program, there are those who feel that it is too religious for them. Choose a program that you feel you can commit to without constantly doubting.
  • Cost: You will find a range of treatment centers, from those that offer inexpensive care, to luxury centers that make sure you are extremely comfortable. Your choice will depend to some extent on what you can afford.
  • Insurance: This will also tie in with what your health insurance is willing to pay. Some insurance plans will cover the bare minimum, while others are willing to cover luxury care.
  • Aftercare: The period after you leave rehab can be make or break for you. Therefore, it is necessary that the rehab program you choose has a good aftercare program.

Choosing to enter an alcohol rehab program is a huge step. Congratulations! You are on your way to living life on your own terms once again. Use the above information to help find and decide on which rehab program is right for you.

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