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Alcohol Addiction, Rehab & Recovery

Updated on January 14, 2014

The First Step

Alcoholism is a disease that is difficult to understand for many people, especially those who don't suffer from it. Many alcoholics live in a world of fear and shame when it comes to admitting that they have a drinking problem. They learn how to "cover-up" the reasons for cancelling plans or laying out of work, many times because they have been drinking, or just want to stay home and drink. Others may get a good buzz going before they leave, then only drink one or two drinks in front of family and friends, only to return home to sneak in a few more drinks before falling asleep, or passing out.

Alcoholics can be very convincing liars, sometimes hiding their addiction for years from anyone living outside the home. Admitting to having a drinking problem is a difficult decision for an alcoholic to make, almost as hard as walking into that first morning session at a drug or alcohol treatment program or facilty...

The Road to Recovery

Most treatment centers have comprehensive and specific guidelines and treatments used to approach the recovery process for each specific individual. One type of intensive rehab therapy is outpatient, and usually includes addicts and people with other behavioral problems, such as suicide attempts and overdose

The majority of people that participate in alcohol or drug rehab programs don't do so of their own freewill. Some deciding factors for enrolling in an addiction treatment program include: fear of losing a job, to try and save a relationship, or as part of a repeated DUI offender's court ordered punishment.

Some alcoholics will succeed and go on to live sober lives, others may fail and repeat the same destructive process until the alcohol consumes their life. The choice to stay clean and sober is one each recovering addict must decide every single day for the rest of their lives. This is a disease that does not go away, yet it can be controlled.

The First Day of Rehab

Everyone has their own version of what rehab does for them, good or bad. Those forced to rehab for fear of losing a job or because of a court order are the most common clients at a behavioral health or substance abuse facility.

The first  day may be immediately following a visit to the emergency room for alcohol poisoning, or because you could not show up for work in the stupor you were in, and could not call in one more time without losing your job. Needless to say, you probably feel pretty lousy, hungover, and absolutely dread walking in to your first morning session.

Give it a chance, you will probably be more of a spectator with some participation, along with customary introductions. People at various stages will be in the program, those entering or exiting, yet everyone seems to be comfortable around each other. Give the program a chance and you may actually find yourself enjoying it, and hopefully finding out who you are and where you want to be in life.

Did You Know?

There are 25,000 alcohol induced deaths each year in the U.S.

You're Not Alone

You will find that most of the people that filter through your 3-4 week tour in the program have similar stories of how they started using their chosen substance and why, as well as how they came to the program. It's nice to openly talk and make jokes around others who truly understand what you are going through. A good rehab experience is something that you can't really understand unless you have been there.

Alcohol and drug addiction programs also have qualified staff of therapists, nurses, doctors, and recovering addicts (they are good group leaders at many open discussion groups). If you are in the program, you owe it to yourself to give it your best effort. Rehab can, and does, work!

Did You Know?

There is no known common cause of alcoholism. It tends to have a genetic link, yet it is not known which genes contribute to alcoholism, or how they work.


The majority of people who enter the program still have pretty high levels of drugs or alcohol in their systems. Doctors will evaluate lab work and a history of your substance abuse. It is important to give these doctors the true information in order to prescribe your needed medications correctly.

One popular medication used for alcoholics is Phenobarbital, a barbiturate, is used to help prevent seizures as your body rids itself of all of the invading toxins. It is important to take these exactly as ordered, especially if you plan to detox at home by yourself.

One good way to remind yourself of just how hard detox was is to keep a journal of your days of detoxification, including the mental and physical pain and discomfort that accompanies it. You probably will never forget it, yet you will always have a handy reminder. Severity of symptoms vary with each individual and also depends on how long and how much of a substance has been used.

Did You Know?

In the United States, 5-10% of male and 3-5% of female drinkers could be diagnosed as alcohol dependent. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population could be considered problem drinkers.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical and psychological alcohol detox symptoms usually occur during the first three days after the last consumption of alcohol. The following is a list of the most common withdrawal symptoms typically experienced by alcoholics going through mild to moderate detoxification.

  • Hand tremors
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nightmares
  • Depression & mood Swings
  • Pounding, pulsating headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Night sweats
  • Sweaty palms and face
  • Abnormal body movements
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Insomnia

Staying Sober

Detox is tough, staying sober is a life-long commitment. Each alcoholic has their own personal strengths and weaknesses, which should be incorporated into their daily routines when trying to maintain sobriety. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

Some recovering alcoholics can be around alcohol, and even have it in the house, without ever taking that first sip. Being able to be openly honest about your disease, and forgiving yourself is an important step in the recovery process. Trusting and being honest to yourself is important, remember it will take a long time, if ever, for those around you to trust in your sobriety.

Others know their limitations and feel they must avoid alcohol at all costs, while others may feel the need to only change their prefence in vacation suites to only hotels without a bar & lounge.

Alcoholism, recovery, and maintaining sobriety is a long hard road for most. Some will make it, others will not, including those who let alcohol consume their health, and those thousands who die annually from an alcohol induced cause.

Did You Know?

Contrary to popular belief, the consumption of alcohol does not destroy or damage brain cells. In fact, it has actually been found to improve mental functioning.

Many alcoholics will have to hit "rock bottom" before choosing to get help.
Many alcoholics will have to hit "rock bottom" before choosing to get help.


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