Getting Sober / Staying Sober

Rehab

What is an Alcohol Rehab ?

Rehabs and treatment centers have long been associated with helping people who have drink problems. The name given to someone who has a drink problem is normally that of an alcoholic, but there are a number of other names floating around as well.

The most common is something like alcohol addiction, a dipsomaniac or someone who abuses alcohol. To be honest, the name is fairly irrelevant, but can be an important issue in helping the person accept and understand that they have a drink problem.

Assessment

It is often recommended that someone who thinks they have a drink problem should get a formal assessment, either through a primary care giver, or someone who specialises in alcoholism/alcohol addiction.

Whilst this is generally good advice, the problem is that if someone is an alcoholic, they are likely to be in denial of it.

Admission and acceptance of a problem with alcohol normally takes quite a long time, and is normally precipitated by some disaster in the life of a problem drinker.

There is also an awful lot of medical information available as to what constitutes an alcoholic, or alcohol addiction. Again this can be valuable, but more likely for those who are trying to support or help the person with a drink problem, rather than the alcoholic themselves.

There is a saying in Alcoholics Anonymous that if drink this costing you more than money, then you have a problem.

This in many ways is often good enough to get someone to accept they may have a problem, and through seeking help are able to begin to address both the drinking, and any underlying emotional issues that may need to be dealt with.

Detox

Not everyone who comes of alcohol will need a detox, but it is probably true to say everyone coming of alcohol should really be assessed as to whether they need one or not.

This assessment can be done when someone enters a rehab, or by a primary physician beforehand.

Any alcohol rehab should have the necessary facilities to undertake a full and thorough medical assessment of whether the individual needs to be detoxed and not, and if they do, then rehab should have the facilities or access to the facilities in order to to be able do this.

Some rehabs will be able to do this on site, others may have arrangements with a local hospital or other clinical facility where it can be done.

This is especially important, as anyone who does need a detox from alcohol addiction needs to have withdrawal symptoms monitored and dealt with appropriately, which can sometimes involve medication.

Addiction treatment programs

These programs are at the heart of what happens in a rehab or treatment center.

When someone is admitted, and after an initial assessment, an individualised program needs to be put in place that covers all or some of the addiction treatment programs that the rehab facility has to offer.

These programs are primarily aimed at helping to begin the process of understanding the underlying emotional and behavioural issues that are part of someone’s alcoholism.

For someone who is an alcoholic, they normally see drinking as being the solution to their problems, not the problem itself.

This means that long-term recovery involves looking at and processing a number of emotionally turbulent issues that have normally fuelled their drinking

For many, this is a lifetime process, but begins in earnest in a rehab or treatment center.

The addiction treatment programs that a rehab offers, are a key element of this, and should be looked at carefully when deciding which to apply to for admission.

Aftercare

The vast majority of rehab and treatment centers utilise the experience of 12 step programs, primarily that of Alcoholics Anonymous. They will do this as part of a person’s treatment program, but also as an introduction to the main source of after-care available.

All 12-step programs have no affiliation with any rehab or treatment center, but local AA groups will normally work closely with any facility.

This can include hosting meetings at the facility itself, local AA members going into the facility to give talks, and local AA members helping to look out for people once they are released from rehab.

In addition, an alcohol rehab is likely to have its own after-care programme.

This is normally intended to bridge the gap between leaving rehab and re-entry to normal life.

Rehab is widely acknowledged as being a bit of a bubble, and this is often seen as being one of its primary benefits.

This bubble allows people to get away from their normal life, it can essentially buy them some time to begin to address the issues that they need to in relation to their drink problem.

It is also recognised that the need to re-enter life after this bubble needs to be addressed early on in treatment as well, and as such the after-care process becomes an important element early on in the treatment.

The after-care arrangements that the rehab makes itself can vary. It normally includes a regular meeting, quite often monthly, which ex-residents can attend and talk about their experiences.

These meetings can also be done online, and there’s quite often an annual social event, such as a barbecue, to which all ex-residents are normally invited.

Some rehabs will also offer to residents the opportunity to contact staff at the center once they have left, if they feel the need to talk to someone about any specific issues that may arise.

 

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How Do You Choose A Rehab or Treatment Center?

With quite literally thousands of rehabs to choose from, deciding which one to choose can be quite a daunting process.

The majority of rehabs in the US will offer quite similar addiction treatment programs, the majority of which will be rooted in the 12 Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Some people will want to go into a rehab close to where they live, others will want to go to a rehab as far away as possible, either in another state or in another country completely.

Some people believe that a complete change of scenery and location can help someone in their early days of recovery, others believe they should confront their issues in a more known and local environment.

This means that the choice of rehab can literally be a worldwide one for everyone.

Very few rehabs will advertise any type of success rate, although some will talk of a percentage rate of completion. These are two very different things.

A rate of completion is simply the number of people who complete their course of treatment, which is normally 28/30 days, although in some cases this can be longer.

The reality of recovery from alcoholism and addiction is that it is a tricky road for most people, and no one really knows how many people make it in the long run.

Some rehabs will keep in touch with as many of their ‘alumni’ as possible, but very few if any will talk of a success rate. Recovery is a long-term process, often taking many years to embed in the individual.

A stay in rehab is relatively short, and is seen by most people as initially breaking the cycle of alcoholism and addiction, and laying the foundations for long-term recovery.

There are however a number of factors can that be used to determine how effective a rehab treatment center is likely to be, and all the information required should be available via the rehab’s website.

State Regulation

Wherever you are looking in terms of location, there are likely to be a number of legal requirements for any type of clinical facility that is offering addiction treatment programs.

It is well worth checking what these are, and making sure that the rehab adheres to them. If in doubt ask the rehab itself.

If they are at all reluctant to help, it may be an indication to move on and find somewhere else.

Location

As already stated, for many people location is an important issue. Within the geographical area make sure that the facility itself is an attractive and comfortable place for a short-term stay.

Some rehabs will offer single accommodation, others will insist on sharing a room and facilities as part of the recovery process.

Also make sure there is plenty of outdoor space, ideally near water, as this can be very therapeutic for a number of people who need time to have a break from the intensity of the rehab itself.

Staff

All rehabs will employ a wide variety of staff, both clinical and administrative.

Clinical/ therapeutic staff can/should include a medical doctor, nurses, psychiatrists / psychologists, therapists, yoga teachers, tai chi teachers, reflexology practitioners, acupuncture practitioners, art therapy practitioners, meditation practitioners, politicians, nutritionists, social workers, transitional living workers, and priests/rabbis.

Obviously this is a wide range of differing staff, but should give a fairly good indication of the facilities that the rehab offers as well. In addition to the numbers and types of staff, it is worth checking the qualifications and experience of the most senior staff available and their experience of addiction and alcoholism.

Detox

All rehabs should have their own clinical facilities and staff that allow them to assess at the outset of treatment whether a medical detox is needed or not for any individual entering the treatment center.

If they do not have such facilities, then they should have access to a local clinical facility such as a hospital, who can make this assessment for them.

This is a crucial element of any rehab or treatment center, because of the necessity to assess the need for a detox for anyone coming off alcoholism/drug addiction.

Cost

Most rehabs do not advertise how much they charge, but it is probably fair to estimate a charge of between US$ 28,000 / $35000 for a 28 day stay in most treatment centres in the USA.

It should be noted that there are a number that describe themselves as luxury rehabs that can easily charge three or four times this amount.

Most of this cost is normally covered by insurance, but there are one or two things to be aware of.

Many insurance companies will agree to cover the cost of rehab, but will sometimes review this on a weekly basis while the individual is in treatment.

This means that they could withdraw cover at any point during the individuals stay in rehab if they deem it not necessary any longer.

Also be aware that some rehabs offer loans to help pay for the cost of their treatment, especially if the individual does not have insurance, or their insurance plan does not cover rehab treatment.

This can end up being very expensive indeed, and is an option that should probably be avoided if at all possible.

Addiction Treatment Programs

Most treatment programs should begin with an assessment of need for a medical detox as referred to above.

Most rehabs will base their addiction treatment programs around the first five steps of the Alcoholics Anonymous program.

Some will be slightly more specialised, and based around certain steps such as step one, or steps three and 11.

There is also likely to be a significant amount of personal therapy/counselling done, either on a one-to-one basis  or in group. Some rehabs also offer specialised therapy such as CBT/EMDRA

Most treatment centers will also encourage, sometimes insist, that individuals attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous whilst in treatment.

These may sometimes be held on site, by local groups or in the locality where the treatment center is based.

A number of rehabs will also offer so-called alternative therapies, which are recognised by the therapists listed above.

They may also include things such as adventure programs which can be things such as white water rafting, hill or rock climbing or equine therapy.

Aftercare

A rehab’s approach to what happens when someone leaves rehab is almost as important as what happens to them when they are in treatment.

It is generally recognised that a rehab is something of a bubble, almost intentionally, that takes the individual out of their normal environment to provide a safe place allowing them to lay the foundations for their recovery.

Like all bubbles, a return to normality has to be thought through and carefully planned.

Thus a rehab should from day one lay the foundations for being able to integrate what happens in rehab back into the individuals normal life once they have returned to their home and family.

Most rehabs will encourage continued attendance at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and in addition could have their own regular meetings, normally monthly, that are open to any residents or former residents to attend if they so wish.

Former residents are normally referred to as alumni and are encouraged to return to the treatment center, both for their own good and as examples to current residents.

Sober Living / Transitional Living

Some rehabs will have links  to what are referred to as sober living or transitional living houses.

These are normally long-term shared houses, normally under some type of supervision, where people in early recovery can live together, and stabilise their own lives once sober.

This is an option foro some people who need an additional degree of stability around where to live and what do for work once they have finished treatment.


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What is an Alcohol and Drug Rehab ?

Many people have heard the phrase ” going into rehab”  or simply the phrase ‘rehab’ itself, but are unclear about what it means or what is really involved with it.

A rehab is essentially a clinical institution, in the same way that a hospital is a clinical institution, but one that deals purely with different types of addiction.

There are other significant differences between hospitals and rehabs  which are explained further on.

Traditionally, a rehab would deal with people who were alcoholics, or who had a serious drink problem, even if they were unaware of what alcoholism was or whether or not they were alcoholics.

As time went on, rehabs realised that they could treat people who had other addictions as well, namely addictions relation to drug abuse, gambling, food, sex etc.

Rehabs and treatment centers realised that their approach to recovery meant they focused mainly on the individual and their internal triggers, and as such could apply the process to anyone who had any type of addiction at all.

With this overall approach to addiction, some people and some rehabs felt their message was a bit blurred, and started describing themselves as alcohol rehabs or drug rehabs or alcohol and drug rehabs.

Other treatment centers found this approach unnecessary, but it has meant that sometimes there has to be a distinction as to what an alcohol and drug rehab is.

The reality is that the majority of rehabs will focus on alcohol and drug addiction, and the majority of people entering a rehab will be doing so for the same reasons.

There is one proviso relating to rehabs offer treatment programs for drug addiction specifically. They will often enlist the specific types of drug addiction they have expertise in, and this may be of some value to people.

Not necessarily in terms of the addiction treatment programs that they offer, but much more in that knowledge of and treatment facilities they have for any detox or withdrawal program that may be necessary at the start of their recovery.

Rehabs and Hospitals

Describing a rehab as a clinical environment is an important element of its institutional nature, but it is also important  to clarify what that means.

It simply means that the rehab will have clinical staff as part of its overall recovery team.

They will have specific clinical functions within the team. It normally applies to doctors, nurses, psychologists, therapists etc.

These clinical staff will have very specific roles in a professional capacity, relating either to any detox program in place at the beginning of the treatment program, or a role in the addiction treatment program itself.

In most other respects, a rehab is very unlike a hospital. Most rehabs are more like country clubs, and make a serious effort to provide a gentle and soothing environment within which an individual can begin the process of recovery.

Depending upon the rehab, the country club type approach will vary considerably in terms of its rules and regulations.

Some rehabs make a big point of incredibly rigid regulations about every aspect of the individual’s life whilst there, largely as a way of providing structure, which they believe helps aid recovery.

Other rehabs take a very different approach, believing that giving an individual freedom to be themselves as part of their recovery process is an integral part of them being able to find recovery in the first place.

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What Is A Christian Rehab ?

Most rehabs will offer some part of their treatment program or focus on the spiritual aspects of recovery.

Some will be more forthcoming than others, emphasising that the spiritual element of a 12 step program is an important one in any recovery.

Others will play the spiritual element down a bit, realising that the overall God question is perhaps the biggest bloc for many people in the recovery.

The above descriptions applies to what could be referred to as mainstream rehabs.

These are very different to what is commonly referred to as a Christian rehab, although there are some who would dispute this term.

One has to be very careful when using the term Christian, as there are many people who will use the term very differently, and have very different meanings for it.

Christian Rehab

With relation to a Christian rehab, there are many of these treatment centers who advertise themselves as Christian rehabs with a particular emphasis on certain areas of recovery.

Generally speaking they promote themselves as being long-term recovery projects, where the emphasis is mainly on a purely religious understanding of alcoholism and subsequent recovery.

Most of these rehabs will avoid totally the 12 step process, and focus instead on an extensive program of prayer sessions, Bible readings, so-called faith initiations etc.

A lot of these rehabs will offer long-term programs, sometimes in the region of 6 to 9 months.

They will also offer low-cost accommodation, and promote the so-called Christian activities as free, meaning that someone can enter this program with relatively little money for a long period of time.

Needless to say these so-called Christian rehabs attract a lot of criticism, in two distinct areas.

Mainstream Christianity often takes the view that this type of religious activity is an extreme form of religious doctrine and indoctrination.

It takes people who are extremely vulnerable and in need of help, and uses that vulnerability as a way of recruiting them into a much more fringe view of religious activity.

The other criticism that these rehabs attract is not quite so generous in terms of its interpretation of religion.

These rehabs are seen as recruiting grounds for a number of the major churches in America, a number of which are regarded as very cult like or having a very cultic dynamic.

Cults

It is certainly true that a number of these so-called Christian rehabs are attached to or part of much larger Congregational churches, many of which are regarded as evangelical, but also regarded as quite cult-ish.

Given the nature of these types of churches, who unashamedly believe in recruiting members as part of their evangelical approach to ministry, it is quite natural that most people who understand the nature of alcoholism and recovery are fairly wary of that approach.

This is a quite different issue to the perfectly valid one of whether this type of religious indoctrination is essentially abusive, but raises an equally valid issue of abuse in its own right.

Whilst much of the work itself, or the motives of people who work there may have some genuine love and compassion in it, the reality is that these types of rehab do offer the potential  for a significant amount of abuse.

This is because the people they are offering help to are extremely vulnerable and in need of low cost effective treatment.

A regimen is offered that not only has no clinical basis for its program, but also potentially acts as a recruiting ground for many much larger organisations.

People who work in the mental health field have serious reservations and concerns about this tupe of rehab and its treatment programs.

Anyone who would describe themselves as a Christian, or is looking for some element of religious or spiritual input into their recovery, and is looking to enter a rehab, would do well to firstly avoid these so-called Christian rehabs.

It is a perfectly valid question to ask more normal mainstream rehabs, as to what their approach to religious and spiritual activities is, and what extent these are built into their addiction treatment programs.

Rehabs will vary widely, and it should become fairly apparent which ones are more suited to the needs of someone with a particular religious inclination than others.


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How Good Are Non 12 Step Rehabs ?

Very few treatment centers will actually declare themselves as non-12-step based, but many will offer alternative programs that are designed to help people deal with alcoholism and addiction, but which use no part of a 12 step program in their recovery.

Sometimes this is because these rehabs believe the 12 step model is in some way flawed, and other times because they know there is a market for people who are apprehensive about what is perceived as a religious/spiritual approach to recovery.

The majority of treatment centers and rehabs base their addiction treatment programs around some elements of the AA 12 step model of recovery.

Historically, what most of them have done is to take the principles of the first five steps, and modify or change them to their own requirements, yet still present them as being part of the AA recovery approach.

This approach does inevitably lead to some confusion, especially for the individuals undergoing treatment, who believe they have gone through the AA approach to recovery, when in fact they have gone through a different version of it.

Traditional 12 Step Rehabs

A number of people believe that the real value of most treatment centers and rehabs is twofold.

Firstly they provide a physically safe environment for people to begin to deal with their alcoholism and addiction, that is out of their normal life, and as such away from pressures that they associate with their drinking.

In this environment, it is believed that it is easier for people to begin to comprehend the enormity of what they are dealing with, and lay the foundations for their recovery.

The second value that people associate with treatment centers is that most of them will introduce people to the actual reality of Alcoholics Anonymous, both in terms of the treatment centers approach to 12 step recovery, and an introduction to actual meetings of AA, either on site or in the local community.

It is believed that if individuals in recovery are exposed to AA early on, then it is more likely they will make AA a part of their recovery process, both whilst in treatment and once they have left.

The above is a slightly simplistic approach to the effect that rehabs and  treatment centers can have on people, but is probably a fairly good basic guide to the 12 step model that is often used in this type of recovery.

12 Step Programs

12 step programs inevitably apply to the principles used in Alcoholics Anonymous, and a wide range of other fellowships/organisations that have borrowed this approach, and applied it to their own recovery needs around different addictions.

Whilst there is a significant amount of experience, both current and historical, that this 12 step approach can be hugely beneficial for a lot of people, there are also a significant number of critics of this approach, for different reasons.

Without going into the debate itself, it is fair to say that a number of people on both sides tend to get quite fundamentalist about it, and inevitably distort many of the actual issues themselves.

When someone is looking for help to deal with an alcohol or drug problem, it is probably not that helpful to get involved in this debate itself.

There are however a significant number of people who have already decided that they don’t want anything to do with a 12 step program, and such seek some type of recovery that does not include it.

Non 12 Step Recovery

Any type of recovery that begins with the premise that it is not something else is perhaps slightly suspect, but is perfectly valid  in the sense of trying to help people who are heading in a particular direction.

There are a number of treatment centers whose programs tend to be focused around a more holistic approach, the word holistic implying a rounded approach to recovery.

This approach will often include a number of different areas of help, including diet, yoga, meditation, therapy, exercise etc.

All these areas of recovery  can be extremely helpful, if practiced professionally and correctly, and which in theory can benefit anyone, whether they are in recovery or not.

Whilst this type of recovery can be beneficial to anyone, it is more debatable whether it can genuinely help shift the nature of someone’s  alcoholism and addiction.

Effective Treatment

Often in all types of medicine and approaches to illness and recovery, the phrase clinical evidence or evidence-based research is used to verify a particular type of treatment or not.

The intent is to make sure that any treatment for any illness is based on actual evidence and proof that the treatment works, and that such proof can be validated in clinical terms.

With regard to alcoholism and addiction this is very difficult, if not impossible to do.

AA itself keeps no records of membership, or any type of records about so-called success rate in terms of sobriety.

As such we can simply do not know how effective it is, in terms of short-term and long-term success rates

The same applies to virtually all treatment centres and non-step approaches to recovery.

Some rehabs will talk about a success rate in terms of percentages, but they are normally meaning how many people have actually physically stayed and completed their recovery program.

As such, assessing the most suitable approach to treatment can be quite a difficult thing.

Many people will simply go with the accepted wisdom of our age that Alcoholics Anonymous, and rehabs and treatment centers based program around it, offer the best hope of recovery.

There are others who are for whatever reason are ideologically opposed to the  whole idea of 12-step recovery, and will look for any type of alternative recovery available.

Spirit of Recovery

The spirit of the early members of AA was very open in that they believed they did not have a monopoly on recovery, and genuinly encouraged people to try alternatives if they were not able to adhere to the principles of the AA program itself for any reason.

This was an authentic approach to recovery. These people knew that they had something that worked, but were also humble enough to know that there may well be other ways for people to heal their alcoholism and addiction as well.

The spirit of openness and looking for help whenever it may be has probably become much more marginalised in the recovery world today, where the different approaches to recovery have become more driven by ideology, rather than simply being driven by  need.

Buddhism and the Smart Recovery Program are two good examples of this.


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What Are Treatment Options For Alcoholism?

Anyone looking for help to get sober or stop drinking has a number of options, which can make the process both a bit more confusing and a bit more difficult knowing which way to go.

Some people will get sober on their own without any intervention or help to all, but the majority will need some assistance, short-term and long-term.

Alcoholics Anonymous is the oldest and perhaps best known source for helping people to get sober, and there are a number of other 12 step fellowships that relate to different addictions, such as Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous etc.

A number of people will go into residential treatment centers, or rehabs, and some will seek a variety of outpatient type sources of help, commonly referred to as partial hospital treatment.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Historically, Alcoholics Anonymous has been thought of as the go to place for anyone who has a drink problem, or wants to get help getting sober. For many this is still the case. People sometimes debate the effectiveness of AA, but for many people this is an academic exercise when trying to get sober.

If someone has a serious drink problem, then going to AA is inevitably a good first place to start. It is certainly fair to say that people have problems with some aspects of the AA program, normally centring around the God question, and these are not always easy to address.

On the other side, once someone gets sober and stays sober, they have a much greater freedom in their life to address any of the issues they feel uncomfortable with, either in AA or in other areas of their life.

One of the real aspects of AA at its best, is the freedom people have to simply turn up at a meeting, to stay or to leave at their own will –  there should normally be no pressure within any meeting on any individual to disclose information about themselves or their situation.

The anonymity aspect of AA is a crucial part of giving someone who is newly sober a degree of protection, both within AA and outside it. This level of protection gives people some time and space to come to terms with what it means to be sober for themselves.

It is also fair to say that the reality of AA in terms of this level of freedom does not always add up or match the theoretical sense of how it should be.

People in Alcoholics Anonymous may often seem over keen or sometimes a bit overbearing in terms of trying to convince people that AA is the right solution. There are also groups in AA  that very definitely have what could be called a cult dynamic, and anyone experiencing any group of this type would do well to run a proverbial mile.

Being aware of the failings of AA is not a criticism of such, simply an acknowledgement of its reality. Anyone newly sober or getting sober may not be immediately aware of these issues, but will probably come to acknowledge and understand some of them in due course.

Rehabs / Treatment Centers

The enormous growth of treatment centers over the last few years has led to a belief that anyone needing help for a drink or drug problem needs to go to a rehab in order to get sober.

Whilst this is not the case, as anyone can go directly to a meeting of AA or NA, many people find the idea of a rehab attractive in so far as it provides something of a bubble out of their normal life, away from family, friends and work.

In many ways a rehab or treatment center is intended to be something of a bubble,  providing a safe space where people can address issues away from day-to-day distractions.

There are obviously benefits to this, as well as potential problems.

The main benefits are that it gives people time and space away from day-to-day life to begin to look at and address problems that may have been long seated and serious for their entire life.

People also have problems with the fact that  a number of rehabs can seem quite institutional, and many have fairly strict rules and guidelines that cover every aspect of an individual’s life, from what clothes they can wear, to what music they can listen to, to what perfume they can use etc.

Many rehabs make a virtue of these types of rules and conditions, insisting they provide a structured framework that allow people to address more fundamental issues uncluttered.

On the other hand, many people find the rigidity of these rules and regulations incredibly oppressive, and as such it can have the opposite effect to that intended.

Having said all that, there are numerous different types of treatment centers around, although different from each other in many ways, and if time permits is normally possible to find one that seems to be in keeping with what the individual who is seeking treatment is looking for.

Treatment Cost and Programs

The other issue around rehabs and treatment centers is cost. Whilst most rehabs are fairly reluctant to give any idea of costs, Hazelden estimate that a 28 day stay in one of their treatment centres is likely to cost around US$30,000.

This is only a very rough estimate, and some of the high end luxury rehabs can charge three or four times this amount. It does however give some indication of cost, a cost that can often be covered by a health insurance plan

It should also be mentioned that most rehabs base their treatment programs on the 12 step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. Whilst they don’t actually use the AA program itself, they take some elements of it and adapt them to their own type of recovery ideas.

In addition, most treatment centers will actively encourage residents to attend meetings of AA/NA etc whilst they are in treatment, and once they have left as well as a form of after-care.

Some AA meetings will take place on site at the rehab itself, although the meeting will be independent and have no connection to the center.


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How to Manage Withdrawal from Alcohol

Anyone getting sober is likely to have to do with the issue of withdrawals from alcohol, whether or not a detox is necessary, and possibly the effects of withdrawal from  narcotics as well.

If someone has been drinking heavily for a while, or to a point where it has become a problem for them, then suddenly stopping is likely to have an impact on them.

Not only their physical body, but on the emotional issues it is likely to start bringing up as well.

The reality is, that withdrawal effects from alcohol can vary significantly from individual to individual, irrespective of the amount they have been drinking beforehand.

What is important is to be aware of the potential dangers of  withdrawal, how they can be managed and how best to prepare for the need for a proper detox.

Rehab

A lot of people will get sober through a rehab or treatment center, and one issue about which rehab to choose is its approach to how to detox someone.

Any rehab should have clinical facilities and staff, or access to such locally, who can assess whether there is a need for a detox, and if so overseas and manage it in a safe and effective manner.

Clinical facilities in terms of staff, location and appropriate medication are a key element of ensuring the safety of an individual once they get sober, and beginning the process of rebuilding their life.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol or alcoholism are the body experiencing the withdrawal of something it is used to, which it has become heavily addicted to.

It is almost worth thinking of these symptoms as the body fighting back in the way.

Symptoms can range from nausea, headaches, shakes, sweats etc through to full-blown hallucinations, DT’s etc.

Many medical websites offer a full range of the potential symptoms of withdrawal, as well as a timeline of how this can affect people.

While this can be helpful it is worth remembering that individuals do differ significantly as to how they withdraw from alcoholism, and what is important is to be aware of the potential dangers, and have strategies in place in order to cope with them.

Home Detox

When a person does not go into rehab, and sobers up on their own in any way, the process of managing withdrawal is normally referred to as a home detox.

This does not normally mean that they actually do do any type of formal detox, it normally refers to the process of simply getting through it, albeit in a fairly unpleasant manner.

What is crucially important that someone is getting sober, is at they have access to medical help, and a medical assessment of what they are doing.

This is best done through a primary care physician, but if this is not possible and maybe other help available.

There are a number of websites available that give practical advice about the possible effects of withdrawal from  alcoholism and how to manage it.

Dual Addiction

This is a phrase that is used to describe anyone who is addicted to alcohol and any other drug or narcotic.

A significant number of alcoholics also use drugs and pills, prescribed and non-prescribed, and this can also be a significant issue in stopping using them.

There are significant potential dangers when stopping using any type of narcotic, and these potential dangers can be multiplied significantly when the person has been using alcohol as well.

If someone is entering rehab, it is essential that completely honest about what drugs they have been using, how much and or how long.

This can be very tricky, as someone who is an active alcoholic will almost invariably  minimise the amount they have been drinking and using.

If someone is getting sober on their own, even if they are using some type of therapy or 12 step based program to help them, it is essential to get some type of medical help as well.

This medical help can be in terms of assessing the need for a detox, and how that can best be managed. It is really important that this process is looked at as soon as a decision is made to stop drinking or using.


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What are Rehab facilities?

People who ask or talk about rehab facilities often do so with a understandable but misguided idea that rehab is are a mix between an upmarket hotel and a country club, a sort of retreat with varying degrees of comfort or opportunities.

The reality is that rehabs differ widely in terms of the facilities that they offer to people, and that approach as to how the environment and addiction treatment programs should be offered to any individual who enters an inpatient rehab.

Traditionally, a rehab would treat someone who was an alcoholic or had a problem with alcohol, and their time spent in a rehab would consist of a medical detox if needed, followed by a period of different types of therapeutic treatment, often a mix of 12-step program ideas and meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There would be a need some type of clinical facility, along with a modicum of comfort and very basic facilities.

The rise of treatment centers and rehabs has meant the growth of this industry, and a white approach that can differ considerably.

The initiators of the treatment center industry tried to strike a balance between providing an environment where the alcoholic could feel safe and secure, along with facilities treated them as someone who was trying to get well, rather than as a  bad person.

Rehab facilities

At the same time, there was a belief that treatment centers and rehabs  needed to be a fairly structured environment, and should be designed to focus the individual fully on their recovery process.

Rehabs and treatment centers take a number of different approaches. Some believe that a rehab should be a fairly spartan place, with very basic facilities and an entirely structured timetable from morning till night.

Some rehabs believe in an incredibly tight grip on what the individual can bring into rehab, and what they can and cannot do whilst there.

This can seem incredibly regulated some people, inevitably attracting some and alienating others.

There has been a growth in recent years of what can be termed luxury rehabs, which take almost an extreme opposite view. They believe that a rehab should essentially be the most serious and pleasant environment that someone can spend their time in, and that this is conducive to aiding in their recovery.

Both these approaches are somewhat of the extreme, and inevitably there are a wide number of different approaches in between.

There is no right and wrong approach to recovery, and every individual should approach a rehab based on what they feel is most appropriate to them.

The rehab facilities that are available should be outlined on the rehabs website, and rehab should be open to discussing what these facilities are, and how they help a client in their 12 step recovery.

 

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What is a dual diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term that specifically refers to people who would consider themselves both alcoholics and drug addicts, or people who have had problems with both alcohol and drugs. The term arose mainly in rehabs and treatment centers, and it is important to understand this context.

Initially treatment centers and rehabs treated people who had a problem with alcohol, whether they were turned alcoholics or problem drinkers, or people who had alcohol abuse issues. As this industry grew, people entered rehab who not only had problems with alcohol but with other substances including many narcotic drugs, and various behaviours.

Treatment centers and rehabs quickly picked up on this, and in the specific case of people who have problems with both alcohol and drugs they refer to them as being dual diagnosed. In addition, the rehab industry widened their scope of potential clients or a client base by beginning to define people as an addictive personality.

This meant that  in effect, any individual who had any addiction to any substance or any type of addictive behaviour could be labelled as an addictive personality, and  their particular addiction,  whether substance or behaviour, could be labelled their drug of choice.

Dual diagnosis

There are many people who believe that the terminology employed in the idea of an addictive personality and a drug of choice is simply to enhance the pool of people who can be susceptible to needing to go into treatment.

There are other people who defend the term addictive personality as being  a reasonably good definition of some help an individual who has a number of differing emotional drives and issues which fuel that alcoholism or addiction.

Whatever someone’s take on the term dual diagnosis, in reality it simply means that it refers to someone who has a problem but with alcohol and drugs, or has had a problem with alcohol and drugs and is now clean and sober.

In terms of 12 step recovery, what it really means is that individual will have used both alcohol and drugs at different stages of the alcoholism and addiction, and probably recognises a need to keep clear of both in order to stay clean and sober.

 

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Where to get Drug Counselling

Anyone seeking to get drug counselling, either for themselves or someone they know, can often face a bewildering array of information and choices that can be difficult to navigate and fathom.  Drug Counselling is often linked to alcohol counselling, and it can sometimes be difficult to establish who best meets a specific set of needs.

Anyone who has a drug problem and is aware of the need to help can approach a number of different sources initially. This can include meetings of Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous or explore the possibility of going to an inpatient rehab.

There are also likely to be a number of outpatient type rehab facilities available, depending upon where the person lives.

If in addition, the individual is seeking specific drug counselling either as a way of helping them deal with the problem, or as an adjunct to some of the type of recovery and the choices become much wider.

There are a number of people who advertise themselves specifically as alcohol and drug counsellors, there will be a massive number of other counsellors and therapists who do not specifically describe themselves as such, but will have experience in the field of alcohol and drug abuse.

Drug counselling

It is worth the individual establishing initially what help and support they need.

There is a big difference between getting some initial support and advice about how best to deal with a drug problem, to a longer term need some type of therapy or counselling as a way of helping to deal with underlying emotional issues.

It is likely that anyone entering an inpatient rehab will be able to access some type of drug counselling, either on a one-to-one basis or as part of group therapy.

It is also likely that a number of therapists, both in rehab and in private practice themselves what they would refer to as recovering addicts, or recovered addicts.

Going to see a drug counsellor is themselves a recovered recovering addict is likely to either be very attractive to some people, or a big turnoff to other people. It is worth being aware of the issue and seeking clarification from the counsellor themselves what their own statuses regarding any type of previous drug or alcohol abuse

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What is a crack addict?

The term crack addict normally refers to someone who is or has been addicted to crack cocaine, but is also used as a slightly disparaging term for anyone who might be deemed to be a type of drug addict who not only uses crack cocaine, but is a continual addict.

Anyone who is or has been a crack addict is likely to have been addicted to one or more drugs that will have had a serious impact on their health, mental, physical, spiritual, sexual etc.

If the individual recognises that our problem they may well seek help, either by entering an inpatient rehab,  seeking some type of therapy or counselling, going to meetings of Narcotics Anonymous or some similar 12-step organisation.

One of the important thing is to understand is the very stages that are involved in the recovery process, wherever it may take place.

First and foremost and most critically is a need for an assessment as to whether or not a medical detox is needed, and the subsequent overseeing of any medical detox that may be needed by experienced and competent clinical staff, in a safe and secure clinical environment.

Crack addict

This might well be done in an inpatient rehab, although there are other clinical facilities for any detox could be assessed and supervised.

Once any medical detox has been done if needed, the main work involved in helping someone stay off any type of addictive substance will largely be of a therapeutic nature. This is true whether it is done in rehab or  in a 12 step organisation, the term therapeutic being used in a very importance.

One of the key elements, perhaps the key element for anyone seeking any type of 12 step recovery is the issue around change.

There is often a perception and a much talked about process of the need to change, both externally and internally.

The need for change may be evident in certain areas of someone’s life, but it should also be remembered for many people change seen as a real threat, not as an opportunity. For anyone who has been an alcoholic or a drug addict, their drinking or using will in many ways have seemed to them a way of holding themselves together rather than as the cause or reason for their problems.

For this reason the issue of change needs to be approached often in a very gentle way, party been given to the creation and provision of a safe environment, in which the individual can develop a degree of safety and as such allow the process of change to begin and take place.

 

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Is teen drug abuse dangerous ?

The question of ‘is teen drug abuse dangerous’ should be answered with a pretty emphatic yes, but also needs to be slightly more fully explored this as there can sometimes be a broader question involving alcohol or possibly some other type of substance abuse.

Anyone charged with looking after a teenager or adolescent is likely to be aware of the possibility that they may be susceptible to either being involved with taking drugs or alcohol, or they may hang around with people who are.

One should always be very wary of generalising about the things, but it is also a good idea to highlight one or two things that may be helpful.

Anyone who has response policy for looking after any teenager or adolescent, who suspects that team drug abuse maybe present in their lives, first and foremost has a responsibility to seek help.

This means helpful themselves in terms of how they deal with it, and help for the teenager or adolescent to deal with what is a drug problem.

Teen drug abuse

The stigma of drugs normally does not differentiate between a type of drug, and often includes alcohol.

There are some people who would argue that teenagers  and adolescents will experiment with drugs, alcohol and sex, and the majority of them will grow out of it and lead fairly normal healthy lives.

That is a view that to an extent may be true, but not a view that anyone with responsibility for looking after a child of any sort can actually indulge in.

It is worth having an understanding of the nature of drug abuse and alcohol abuse or alcoholism, and realising that whilst some people it may simply be a phase, for a lot it won’t be, and in fact will be an indication of a much more serious problem in terms of a susceptibility to alcoholism or drug abuse.

The reality is that if a teen drug abuse problem is taken seriously at the outset, and dealt with in a loving and compassionate way, then not only can the life of the teen be straightened out, but also potentially any long-term problems with drugs or alcohol can be addressed early on in their lives.

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What is an inpatient drug rehab?

An inpatient drug rehab is normally simply referred to as a rehab  or a treatment center.

The vast majority of rehab is deal with the question of drug addiction of all sorts, as well as alcohol addiction or alcoholism, and a wide range of other compulsive or addictive behaviours.

An inpatient drug rehab will be a clinical facility which will admit and look after someone who is suffering from some type of addiction to one or more drugs and/or alcohol.

It is important that an inpatient drug rehab has two main areas of focus.

Firstly should be the facilities and medical staff to assess and if necessary oversee any medical detox that may be needed.Iinpatient drug rehab

Inpatient drug rehab

This is crucially important. Anyone who has been addicted to any type of drug may well have been using different types of drugs as well as alcohol, and the coming off of these drugs can present significant, often life threatening medical challenges.

Such an inpatient drug rehab needs to either have its own facilities and medical staff, or arrangements with another local clinical facility such as a hospital who can assess and oversee any medical detox that may be needed.

Once a medical detox has been assessed and overseen if necessary, then the time spent in an inpatient drug rehab is likely to focus much more on a number of therapeutic approaches, often 12 step based, which are geared towards helping the individual begin the process of understanding a number of emotional and mental issues that have fuelled the addiction to drugs and alcohol.

This therapeutic work that is done in an inpatient drug rehab will vary depending upon the nature and type of rehab or treatment center, and will by its very nature be fairly short-term.

The majority of rehabs and treatment centers recommend that inpatient clients to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous’s, both during their stay in rehab and once they have left. This is to give them a sense of whether long-term recovery is most likely to be based, and how they can most effectively ensure their long-term sobriety

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Dating an Adult Child ………..

You will learn to control life, but then stop and let go.

Addicts have no control over their addiction. As a result, their kids will feel the urge to control their lives.

Dating such a control addict is not an easy task. They will take control over your life, while also trying to control their own.

This means drama if you think of canceling plans or acting spontaneous. This will cause you to make a habit of controlling your life. But one day, you will wake up and decide to let go.

If you really love your partner, you will work with him or her in order to teach him or her to let go as well. When this happens, you will thrive as a couple.

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What is a Rehab Dual Diagnosis

Anyone entering a rehab or a treatment center is likely to come across the term dual diagnosis, as well as a lot of other jargon or terms that are fairly unique or specific to the whole world of 12-step recovery.

Perhaps the term jargon is a bit unfair, but there are certainly a wide range of terms that have some meaning, but can also be used to making them sound more important or more severe as they are.

The term dual diagnosis is normally used to refer to someone who is both an alcoholic, or who has a problem with alcohol, and also has a problem with drugs, narcotics or prescription drugs.

This broadening of the definition of an addict, from alcohol to include drugs, has come about through the growth of treatment centres, and the addiction treatment programs that they offer as a way of helping residents.

A rehab will tend to look at the issue of addiction in a slightly different way than perhaps people who do not work in the field will do, and there are pluses and minuses in this approach.

REHAB DUAL DIAGNOSIS

The majority of rehabs and treatment centers initially dealt with people who had a problem with alcohol, and could safely be described as alcoholics or alcohol dependent.

As the industry grew, it became clear that people who were entering a rehab because of an alcohol problem also had other problems such as drugs, gambling etc.

Rehabs and treatment centres started to invert this process, whereby they began to see the problem as the individual, and the addiction as a symptom of their problem.

This in many ways allowed a rehab in much broader range of client base, but also slightly distorted the real nature of an individual’s alcoholism and other types of addiction.

The value of the term dual diagnosis is often hard to verify, except say that it can flag up an individual has a problem with the hottest drugs or prescription drugs as well as alcohol.

There is a practical issue to this which is hugely important, which is knowing I have individual has a dual diagnosis can seriously affect the assessment, or the need for a medical detox, and that should be carefully monitored and accurately assess both prior to admission and during a treatment undertaken that after.

 

 

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NEED FOR TREATMENT

‘A recovered alcoholic says drug addicts are falling through the cracks in Ballarat with a dire lack of rehabilitation facilities to treat their complex needs.

Russell Firth, 72, has been sober for 42 years after beginning a 12-step recovery program at the age of 30.

He is pushing for a detox unit so people seeking treatment for their addiction can access appropriate support.

“All alcoholics have a disease which is centred in our minds, the alcohol is the trigger for compulsion and you have to treat that wholly,” he said.’

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REHAB and 12 STEP WORK

Anyone who enters a rehab is unlikely to very quickly become familiar with the term 12-step work, and the idea of concept of a 12 step program as practice and experienced by members of Alcoholics Anonymous and other tall step organisations.

The phrase 12 step work has a slightly different meaning in organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

In that context it tends to refer to people who reach out and are available to help people who are new to the organisation, and who have asked for help in either attending meetings or talking to someone about the fact that they think they may have a drink problem and need some help with it.

In a rehab, the phrase 12 step work is more likely to refer to one or more of the therapeutic programs or addiction treatment programs that a rehab is likely to offer as part of its treatment methodology in relation to alcoholism and addiction.

In addition, the majority of rehabs tend to either endorse and embrace organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, and actively  promote the concept of a 12 step recovery program both inside and outside of the rehab.

A rehab is likely to have a number of different types of therapeutic help available, and it may have some type of self styled 12-step program as well.

REHAB and 12 STEP WORK

This may simply be a focus on step one of a program, the admission of being powerless over alcohol or some other substance.

Alternatively the rehab may have a deeper road into the recovery process, and spend more time on other parts of the 12-step program such as an understanding of a spiritual path, the nature and practice of doing an inventory on oneself, and generally becoming more willing to open up and share with other people is going on in the individual’s life.

It is worth making the point that the majority of rehabs offer any type of 12-step program all work as part of their ailing addiction recovery programs will be using an interpretation of the 12 step program of Alcoholics Anonymous that is different to the actual 12-step program of AA itself.

This is an important distinction, but one that many people understandably find it bit confusing.

The significance is simply that upon leaving rehab, the majority of rehabs will advise people to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, where they can gain a fuller understanding and actual appreciation of what AA’s program of recovery action involves.

 

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ALCOHOL TREATMENT

Alcohol treatment will be a process designed for anyone who recognises or comes to recognise that they have a problem with alcohol, and are often referred to as alcoholics or people who have alcohol addiction problems.

The nature of alcoholism and alcohol addiction can sometimes be endlessly debated, but in reality the basis for acknowledging there is a problem and what treatment options may be available should be based on the experience and behaviour of the individual, not any academic interpretation of what alcoholism or alcohol addiction may be.

The notion of alcoholism as an illness, now widely accepted in medical circles, was born out of the experience of many doctors and early members of Alcoholics Anonymous, who recognised the abnormal craving and compulsion of people drinking, drinking which was essentially out of their mental control.

In the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous,  the point is made that alcohol will have a different effect on someone who is an alcoholic, to someone who is not an alcoholic.

The comparison to an individual having an allergy is used, a comparison that some people find helpful and others find slightly confusing.

ALCOHOL TREATMENT

The important thing to realise is that at some level and for some reason an alcoholic drink differently to someone who is not an alcoholic, even a heavy drinker who may externally show some of the same characteristics and behaviour is that of an alcoholic.

Alcohol can be a part of many people’s lives, and may even be a problem in some people’s lives at certain points of their life.

Trying to define an alcoholic, or someone who has an alcohol addiction can be a very difficult and time-consuming process.

There are many people especially in the youth who might exhibit problems associated with alcohol, but who will in effect grow out of them.

There are other people of exactly the same age who may drink the same and exhibit similar behaviours and experiences who are in reality alcoholics but have not yet come to realise it.

Alcohol treatment can come in many forms, ranging from residential rehab addiction programs, through to  12 step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, through to medical detox, through to an individual simply abstaining.

 

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REHAB ADDICTION

Anyone entering a rehab is likely to do so because there is a recognition at some level of a problem or addiction with alcohol or drugs or some other type of substance.

It is quite possible that this addiction or alcoholism has been recognised by someone other than the person who has got the problem themselves.

It is quite likely that the person entering a rehab is either still in denial of the fact that they have the problem of addiction or alcoholism, or has at some level recognised that they have a problem and are entering the rehab or treatment center of  their own volition.

It is important to understand that someone entering a rehab will have other major issues internally, aside from their external signs of addiction or alcoholism and the problems it is causing them in their lives.

Referring to internal major issues  is about an individual’s mindset concerning  their addiction or alcoholism, and how they see themselves and how they relate to the world around themselves.

This can be quite a complicated scenario, and the work of the rehab once any detox has been done, will be to  begin the process of helping an individual realise the reality of the world they are living in, rather than the reality which is inside their head, which is often different.

REHAB ADDICTION

What is really important to realise is that someone entering a rehab is likely to have a mindset around alcoholism when they see alcohol as being the solution to the problem rather than the problem itself.

Depending upon the nature and type of that alcoholism, it is highly likely that this mindset has been there for most of their drinking life.

It is a common feature of alcoholism that an individual will relate to alcohol more than the reality of the world that their drinking creates, and the truth is that the worse everything gets both internally and externally, the more they turn to alcohol has been the solution rather than the problem.

For this reason, entering a rehab or the idea of getting sober can seem a real threat to the individual, even if their life so out of control emotionally and literally, thta they have no choice.

The major part of a rehabs treatment program for any type of addiction should be to create a safe place where an individual can begin the process of understanding nature of the alcoholism or addiction, and seeing the context of alcohol as being a problem rather than a solution.

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REHAB ADDICT – ALCOHOLIC

Anyone who has a problem with alcohol or drugs and is entering a rehab to seek any type of treatment is likely to come up against the term rehab addict, or to be called an alcoholic as well.

A rehab addict understanding, normally refers to someone less had a problem with drugs or alcohol or any other type of addiction, and is seeking help probably without fully understanding the nature of addiction or alcoholism.

The term addict is quite often associated with someone who is a drug addict, and the term alcoholism is normally associated with someone who is an alcoholic or abuses alcohol.

In a rehab, the term addict tends to cover the individual themselves, with the substance or behaviour that they are addicted to normally been referred to as their drug of choice.

As an example, someone has a problem with gambling could be described as an addict, with gambling referred to as a drug of choice.

This can sometimes seem quite confusing to people, and it is important to understand where the rehab which has this approach, is coming from.

REHAB ADDICT – ALCOHOLIC

When people first started seeking treatment for alcoholism, they would normally be detoxed in a hospital, and then released into the community where they would either attend AA meetings, or seek some other form of spiritual or therapeutic help.

As Alcoholics Anonymous grew, and the number of sober alcoholics grew, the need for various treatment options grew and the number of rehabs and treatment centers grew exponentially.

As they grew, rehabs began to realise that they could treat people who had other addictions, mostly to be those with addictions to narcotics and other forms of drugs, gambling, food etc.

As such the notion of an addictive personality within the individual grew, with the drug or behaviour being labelled the drug of choice.

This allowed rehabs and treatment centers to effectively treat that anyone with any type of addiction.

The notion of an addictive personality being the major problem grew out of this we have focused approach to treatment, and has formed the major part of the approach to addiction recovery that has been embraced by many rehabs and treatment centers.

It is important to note that there are many people who do not go along with this approach, both within the world of rehabs and treatment centers, and within the world of alcoholism and addiction recovery generally. The idea of an addictive personality is often disputed, and is an area of clinical dispute that needs much further work and research.

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