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Rehab For Alcohol Abuse: What Does It Mean For You?

What is rehab anyway?

Rehabilitation for alcohol abuse and addiction, or “rehab” as it is commonly known, in part thanks to popular songs and media, assists an alcoholic in ending their alcohol dependency. Rehab includes three distinct stages of treatment that all lead an alcoholic away from their physical and psychological addiction to alcohol, and towards a healthier lifestyle. The stages are listed below:

Detoxing from Alcohol

A clock tells an alcoholic it’s time to consider a detox from alcoholThis is the first stage in the recovery process, and can be dangerous if not conducted under the careful supervision of medical professionals and addiction specialists. The body needs to be “cleansed” so to speak of the harmful chemicals and toxins found in alcohol, therefore during this phase of rehab or treatment, the individual is completely cut off from alcohol and may experience withdrawal symptoms which need to be monitored by trained specialists. There are common symptoms often observed during this process, such as depression and delirium tremens (DTs or “tremors”), but no two cases are exactly the same. Alcohol use, or abuse in the case of detox, varies from person to person, and the severity of the withdrawal symptoms will also fluctuate depending on the individual’s circumstances. Because of this, the detox procedure could take as little as a few days, or in more severe cases, two weeks.

Counselling & Therapy

A group of people in rehab sit in a circle discussing what it means to abuse alcohol during a group counselling sessionThis stage is often referred to as the “heart of rehab” or the centerpiece of any alcohol addiction treatment plan. The main goals of this phase are to:

  • Prepare the client for life after rehab
  • Teach them relapse prevention skills
  • Inform them of the dangers of prolonged alcohol abuse
  • Identify any triggers that may lead to a return to alcohol consumption
  • Through individual counselling, explore the root causes that may have lead to or exacerbated an addiction to alcohol in one-on-one therapy sessions
  • Using group counselling sessions to share stories between alcoholics and create or boost empathy, while preventing or reducing a feeling of isolation which is common among those who abuse alcohol and can even be a trigger to drink more or start drinking heavily after rehab is concluded

What happens when I’ve been through rehab?

A man rejoices in a field after he has completed his rehab program for alcohol abuseI feel great! A Weight off my shoulders, so what now?

Making it through the detox procedure and addiction counselling is no easy feat, and we’re both grateful and proud to have played our part in guiding an individual towards a healthier, alcohol-free, life. After all, it’s the point of all this, but aftercare is not to be overlooked. When someone successfully completes their treatment program, they are thrusted quite suddenly back into the real world, and the real world likes to drink. Bars, restaurants, barbeques with friends and family, church events, concerts, hockey games and lazy Sunday afternoons by the pool are just a few examples of the temptations a recent rehab graduate will be faced with upon leaving a treatment program. Not to mention stress, social pressure and old stomping grounds coming back into the mix!

In order to help clients who are ready to re-enter the daily grind, aftercare focuses on carrying on with group support, continued psychotherapy and tailored solutions to prevent relapse. Aftercare is a very broad stage of treatment, as it pertains to the rest of an alcoholic’s life, therefore it is both very important and extremely specific to the individual involved. Finding tricks to deal with stress, triggers and temptation is a part of aftercare, but also continuing with building empathy and preventing isolation are crucial to the success of a recovering alcohol abuser.