Not all alcoholism rehab stories are success stories. For most people, it means having to deal with a lot of emotional turmoil within the family, having a stranger pull out a loved one you can no longer control, and having your hopes up once that loved one is released back into your care, only to get disappointed again because of relapses. Many blame the methodology of some alcohol rehab and detox centers. While this may be true to some degree, there are other factors too that determine how successful a program can be; for example, if the treatment program is gender specific, i.e., women’s or men’s addiction treatment.
Willingness to receive help
Alcohol is an addictive substance. To some degree, the alcohol content in a person’s body will make him/her crave more. However, it is not the only factor that comes into play. Many addicted individuals are also triggered by alcohol abuse because of psychological problems. If s/he still sees alcohol as a way to escape from these problems, no type of treatment would work.
Since alcoholism is also a psychological condition, rehab for alcoholism is only successful if the patient recognizes that she or she needs help. The strongest enemy of any rehab program is the resistance of the addicted patient. This wall of resistance needs to be broken down first before the patient’s recovery can progress.
Support from the family
Patients who have just completed their inpatient rehab for alcoholism will be released back to their old environment. They may receive outpatient support (in the form of group counseling sessions), but the ones who will be affecting recovering patients the most once they are back in the real world are their families. Some rehabilitation programs forget to factor in the role of the family in this entire process. Because of this, recovering alcoholics suffer from relapses.
This roots in the misconception that patients who have been released from rehabilitation centers are already strong enough to resist addiction on their own. This is not true. The environment inside the rehabilitation is controlled and ideal for recovery. Once the patients are released to their old environments, they are exposed to the old addiction triggers. Unless the family understands and supports the recovering patient’s needs for recovery, there is always the danger that the patient will regress.
How can families support recovering alcoholics? During the first few days of the release, patients should not be exposed to alcoholic beverages. This means that the house needs to be free from any alcoholic drinks, which may tempt the patient back into addiction. The family should also protect the recovering patient from possible peer pressure. If any stressors in the home or at work are triggering the addiction, family members should help patients cope with them better.
The family should heal too
Effective alcoholism rehab programs also consider how addiction has affected other family members. They offer to counsel those who may need help after a harrowing experience. Before the patient is released back into the family’s care, it is important that all the family members know his/her needs. They cannot be wholly supportive if they are wounded from experiencing themselves.
If they hold any grudges against the recovering patient for failing to live a normal life, this has to be dealt with before the patient goes out of the rehabilitation center. During the outpatient treatments, sober family members will have to be emotionally strong because the recovering patient will be drawing from this collective strength to get better.