What is the best route when considering help for alcoholic people? There are many options out there, from counseling, to outpatient therapy, to 28 day programs, to simply dragging them to an AA meeting. What is the best choice for a struggling alcoholic?
It will depend on the situation a bit. In some cases, where the person is physically addicted to alcohol and they tend to shake when they have not had a drink for a while, you may consider getting the person some alcohol detox help first. Regardless of what treatment strategy they choose to use, be in counseling or meetings or inpatient rehab, they are going to have to go through detox if they are physically hooked on alcohol. This is of critical importance because it is a safety issue….alcohol withdrawal can be fatal in some cases, so it is nothing to play around with. Get them to a detox center or even an ER if they are shaking badly.
Following alcohol detox, then the person might do well to stay in residential treatment for a few weeks, which is a common option at many treatment centers that provide these services. If they can, I would always encourage people to stay for as much residential treatment as they possibly can. Many people make excuses about how they do not have time for rehab, or that they need to get back to work, or back to their family, and so on. This is all a bunch of crap if the person really needs the help. Encourage them to stay in rehab for as long as possible…just my opinion of course.
The reason I encourage a longer stay in an inpatient facility is for a few reasons. Here is what I see as being the major benefits of doing so, even though rehab is far from being a magic cure:
* Longer stays in rehab produce more sobriety, at least in the short term. It is like guaranteed clean time. You can’t really screw up and relapse while you are in rehab. The further you get them away from their last drink, the stronger their chances are of staying sober.
* More resources are available to someone in rehab. They will likely have a counselor who can set them up with counseling, group therapy, outpatient, and so on.
* A stay in rehab can be the wake up call that an alcoholic needs. It is like a big slap in the face because they are sober all of a sudden and can’t help but look at their life and their behavior.