During the end stages of alcoholism, it can seem like people are robbed of any choice at all in their lives. End stage, severe alcoholism is never a pretty sight. The sufferer may have already lost marriages, friends, family relationships, jobs, and even shelter. The worst case scenarios for alcoholism are even grimmer than that. As health problems invade the victim’s life, they are seemingly powerless to stop drinking. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Treatment options for alcoholism are more plentiful today than they were even a few short decades ago. The world has come a long way since 12-step programs were the only effective method for treating alcoholism. Many alcohol detox resources are available to people.
Understanding treatment types
Which treatment type works best for an alcoholic often depends on how advanced the alcoholism is. Someone who has merely only noticed that they wish they could “cut down” will sometimes respond to outpatient therapy or group meetings. They haven’t yet suffered from a loss of financial security or interpersonal relationships, and they are thinking more clearly than the alcoholic who has developed liver problems due to their drinking. For these people, outpatient therapy and meetings may work.
For another section of the population, who feel like alcohol has robbed them of almost everything, there is a more intensive treatment: inpatient detox. Most people have at least a passing knowledge of these remarkable treatment centers. They invite alcoholics in to a 24-hour a day program that educated them about alcoholism, supervises their sometimes difficult detox, and then replaces alcohol with more healthy outlets for dealing with life’s everyday problems. Most would agree that alcoholism is rarely just a matter of drinking getting out of hand. It’s usually a case of life itself getting out of hand and people using drinking to deal with it.
Coping with life’s downside in a healthier manner
Yes, inpatient detox centers are wonderful in teaching alcoholics that the first step is not to take the first drink. It’s the first drink that leads to all the others, and in light of the damage caused by alcohol, one often wonders why anyone would turn to drinking as a solution, a deadly solution that has burned the user more times than they care to remember. And yet, it happens. An alcoholic reacts to life in the way that they know best: to drink. If a relationship crumbles, they drink (often not realizing that alcohol itself is the culprit behind the relationship’s deterioration). If they face a particularly painful situation, they might drink, not realizing that alcohol is going to compound the problem. It’s a deadly spiral.
Inpatient detoxes show alcoholics how to first, detox from alcohol, and then replace alcohol with healthier solutions to “life on life’s terms.” This means that when things go wrong, the next time the alcoholic will turn to something other than a bottle for help. Detoxes accomplish this in a number of ways.
Types of help in inpatient detoxes
Supervised detox is an important first step. While the alcoholic faces physical symptoms of withdrawal, they can always turn to a trusted staff member. After they’ve successfully detoxed, then the real help begins. They attend group meetings that show them they have an extended peer support group. Fellow sufferers are often the best support an alcoholic has because they are the only people who understand the complex emotions and physical sensations the alcoholic is experiencing. An individualized therapy plan is also drawn out. Professionals help the alcoholic learn how therapy can also help them when they are tempted to drink. Finally, relapse prevention is an important last step before release. Any resources that the alcoholic benefits from in the course of detox is a resource that is there on the outside as well. They just have to know where to find it once they’re on the outside again.
Thanks to the thousands of detoxes across the nation, alcoholics have more places to turn to for help than ever before in life. Despite alcohol making them powerless in the end, they in fact are not powerless in recovery. Recovery is about recovering not only one’s sanity, peace of mind, relationships, and financial standing, but about recovering the healthy coping mechanisms that will enable them to cope with life’s hardships without turning to alcohol again. It’s a long process, but it’s one that is enormously empowering for those who enter an alcohol rehab in California and elsewhere.