Alcoholism is a chronic relapsing disorder that, in many cases, demands professional treatment.
Choosing to quit alcohol is a life-changing decision. The road to sobriety is a challenging and unpleasant one, as both your body and mind struggle to adjust to life without alcohol.
To maximize your chances of maintaining lifelong sobriety, it is critical that you choose the right course of treatment. You also need to have the peace of mind to be able to focus on the healing and recovery process, and not spend time worrying about your treatment breaking the bank.
Gather the information you need to make the most prudent choice, find out what to expect during the treatment period, and how to design your life after you leave rehab—alcohol treatment only works if you do.
Do You Need Help?
If you are reading this page instead of looking up rehab facilities directories, there is probably some part of you that believes that your drinking habits are not that problematic. You aren’t convinced, and instead are asking yourself, “Do I need rehab?”
How do I know if I need rehab?
The following signs indicate that you may need rehab:
- Drinking to de-stress
- Indulging in risky drinking behavior
- Developed alcohol tolerance
- Frequent binge drinking
- Exhibit alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Choosing alcohol over relationship
- Decreased performance at work
If you have problem drinking behaviors, then the warning signs will have already manifested in almost every area of your life.
If you haven’t noticed them, that’s simply because you are in denial, or you are a high-functioning alcoholic whose consequences have yet to catch up with you.
Alcohol abuse, however, soon will catch up with you.
Keep an open mind. Be brutally honest with yourself. Look out for the following warning signs of problem drinking behaviors, which are flags for the necessity of rehab:
- You drink to de-stress. You cannot cope with emotional stress without a drink or two. Alcohol alters the way the brain functions. If you have been drinking for long, your brain has been rewired, and it cannot calm down or relax without having alcohol in the system.
- You indulge in risky drinking behavior. You drink and drive. Your drunken behavior has landed you in trouble with the law. You continue to drink despite knowing that alcohol will ruin your health or aggravate an existing medical condition.
- You are gradually developing an increased tolerance to alcohol. This is a classic sign of alcohol abuse. The more you drink, the more your body gets used to having alcohol in the system, and the more you need to drink to feel the effects.
- You binge-drink frequently. You have no control over how much you drink. You frequently binge drink, and you drink so much that you often black out.
- You exhibit withdrawal symptoms. If you exhibit withdrawal symptoms when several hours have elapsed after having the last drink, it is your body’s signal that it has become used to alcohol and cannot thrive without it in the system. You have been drinking so much that your physiological functionalities have been altered.
- You have chosen alcohol over relationships. Hurting loved ones who express concern about your drinking habits, withdrawing from friends and family because you resent their criticisms, neglecting responsibilities towards your loved ones, and choosing to forego social events where drinks are not served are signs that you prioritize alcohol over relationships.
- You are losing it at work. Decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, feeling unmotivated to strive for career goals, and shirking professional responsibilities are tell-tale signs that you are letting alcohol take over your priorities.
Если вы киваете ни одному из них, не смотрите на какое-либо подтверждение: у вас расстройство употребления алкоголя (AUD), и вам нужна реабилитация.
Inpatient Or Outpatient Treatment?
For most people who enter rehab, the choice between inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatments boils down to cost and convenience.
As is evident from the name “inpatient,” inpatient treatment entails staying in a facility during the rehabilitation process. You will have to miss work and probably be without a source of income that can fund the treatment. However, you will have your job security while you are away for treatment; according to the Federal Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are allowed to take extended time off from work to take part in an alcohol treatment program without compromising your job security.
What factors should I consider for inpatient rehab treatment?
For inpatient rehab treatment, you should consider factors like:
- Heavy drinking for a long time
- History of exhibiting severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Existing physical and mental disorder
- Having high risk of triggers after coming back from outpatient treatment
- No companion to monitor and manage withdrawal symptoms
Inpatient treatment lasts longer than outpatient programs. The former is more intensive than the latter and usually delivers more treatment modules. A typical inpatient program that includes detoxification, counseling (individual and/or group), behavioral therapy, and coping skills training usually runs for 30 days. After discharge, you can enroll in a sober living or aftercare program to get your emotional bearings sorted out before you re-enter the world of stressors and drinking triggers.
How long alcoholism treatment takes depends on the:
- Severity and duration of your addiction
- Nature of your treatment
- Presence of co-occurring physical and/or mental disorders
- Presence of poly-substance abuse
Depending on these factors, some inpatient alcohol treatment programs can run up to 90 days.
Naturally, inpatient treatment programs cost more than outpatient modules.
But don’t let your choice be dictated only by cost and convenience. Inpatient alcoholism treatment is the best way to ensure complete recovery and optimize the chances of long-term sobriety in the following circumstances:
- If you have been drinking heavily for a long time
- If you have a history of exhibiting severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- If you have a history of relapses
- If you have an underlying physical and/or mental disorder
- If being treated at an outpatient facility means going back to a world of drinking triggers and emotional stresses at the end of the day
- If there is no one at home to monitor your withdrawal symptoms
But don’t let expenses deter you or cause you to re-think your decision to seek professional rehab.
If you are wondering “How can I afford rehab?” explore the following options to fund your treatment:
- Private health insurance plans
- Medicare and Medicaid plans for certain demographics.
- Scholarships, discounts, and lending packages offered by some rehab facilities
- Government grants
- Free or low-cost treatment offered by non-profits
- Veterans Administration benefits
- Personal financing options like applying for a bank loan, taking out money from your savings account, IRA, or 401(k) plan, or raising money on virtual fundraising platforms
Not going in for treatment now will prove to be more costly in the long-run—in terms of losing your job, ruining your health, foreclosing your home, going bankrupt, and destroying your relationships—than carrying on with drinking.
Taking Part in Your Treatment
The success of alcoholism treatment depends on your faith in the program and your willingness and enthusiasm to take part in the various modules. It helps if you know what to expect during the duration of the rehab and what you are supposed to do.
A typical day at a rehab is filled with group meetings, both formal and informal. You will take part in structured therapy and counseling sessions where you will learn how to identify drinking triggers and how to cope with these healthily. You will be made to confront those self-sabotaging beliefs and negative thoughts that kept you stuck in addictive patterns of behavior. The objective is to help you break these recurring themes in your life.
Rebuilding Your Life After Rehab To Prevent Relapse
During your rehab stint, you will receive all the emotional support you need to live an independent, alcohol-free, and functional life when you step out into the real world. But it’s only you after you emerge from the rehab and prepare to take on the roles and responsibilities of the external world.
You are both hopeful and apprehensive, excited to see what the future holds but also wondering, “What if I relapse?”
To maintain your long-term sobriety, create a foolproof relapse prevention plan, which can include:
- Identifying the drinking triggers in your environment.
- Being mindful as you go about your daily life, so you can keep away from the triggers. Find out how to avoid triggers, if you don’t know already.
- Not associating yourself with your ex-drinking buddies or frequent dens and joints where you once used to get drunk.
- Surrounding yourself with positive role models who will support and inspire you on your sobriety journey.
- Changing your social life to create a nurturing environment where there are no undue emotional stresses and the people around you emit positive vibes and support you in your journey.
- Learning and practicing relaxation techniques that will help you tide over emotional stress without resorting to drinking.
- Taking up a hobby.
- Attending alcohol support group (12-step or non-12-step) meetings regularly.
- Watching out for the warning signs of a relapse, such as romanticizing your drinking days or believing that “just one drink” won’t harm you.
There are countless true stories of people—alcohol-ravaged, with ruined lives—who have reclaimed their lives, loves, relationships, and work after going through alcohol rehab.