One of the best options for a struggling alcoholic is inpatient alcohol treatment. There are several advantages to inpatient treatment over other forms of treating alcoholism. For example, an alcoholic might try outpatient treatment, or counseling, or simply start attending 12 step groups, or try a religious based program. None of these options carry all of the advantages of inpatient care, however, which can include:
1) Protected environment – this is huge. If you are stuck on the “outside” while trying to get sober, then you are subject to all sorts of temptation in terms of wanting to drink again. There is alcohol everywhere. It is readily available. This is dangerous for the recovering alcoholic, especially in the very early days of sobriety. In rehab, the temptation to drink right now has been removed, because it is simply not available. In fact, it is such a controlled environment that the thought usually leaves entirely, as people just accept that they are not going to be drinking while they are there, period. Out of sight, out of mind.
2) Peer support – you can’t stop drinking on your own (if you can, you are not an alcoholic, but merely have a drinking problem). Therefore, you need help in order to recovery from alcoholism, and you can get this help from being in rehab. The connections you make with people in inpatient treatment are deeper and more intimate than the connections you might make with peers on the outside. This is because you are actually living with these peers in rehab. This situation creates deeper bonds than you would get from peers in outpatient groups or meetings.
3) Professional help – some solutions for alcoholism do not include any professional help at all. For example, someone who simply goes to 12 step meetings and never attends treatment might be able to stay sober without any professional services whatsoever. If this works for them, this is fine. But there are many alcoholics for which professional help is a necessity. For example, there might be additional issues or mental illnesses that need to be addressed along with the addiction in order for the person to recover. Going to inpatient rehab is one way to get the proper care that might be needed to address all of a person’s issues.
Unfortunately, inpatient treatment is rather expensive, but it clearly offers advantages over other forms of treatment when it comes to getting good results in recovery. For some people, inpatient is the only option that can even produce short term sobriety.