Alcohol Abuse Recovery

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Have you finally decided to cut down to healthier levels by quitting drinking? This article is going to be the blueprint for your recovery journey and alcohol treatment.  

Learn about the procedure necessary in the alcohol recovery process and how there are several options for you or a dear one to avail in order to stop drinking alcohol and maintain an alcohol-free and sober life.  

People who start drinking recreationally or socially may observe themselves drinking huge amounts more often.

While alcohol is allowed and legally accessible, alcohol consumption can be as addictive and harmful as illicit substances.  

Alcohol abuse recovery assists people to get over it. If you want help for alcohol addiction, you have a whole lot of options to join alcohol rehab as an initial treatment. 

Alcohol dependence vs. Alcohol abuse 

Oftentimes people abuse alcohol without developing a psychological or physical dependence on it, still, they too can get benefit from the addiction treatment to cope with alcoholism.  

For example, binge drinkers may be fine without drinking alcohol for days, weeks, or months, but when they do drink, they have extreme trouble quitting drinking.

This form of abuse can have severe outcomes, including social, health, and legal issues.  

Alcoholism is somehow different.  

People who are alcoholics have intense cravings that can cloud their thinking in daily life situations. They may be unable to concentrate on their relationship, at their job, or other important matters.

They might also suffer from severe psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking alcohol. 

The withdrawal symptoms can involve cold sweats, anxiety, and shakiness. The blend of withdrawal and cravings often leads heavy drinkers to drink at unsuitable places and times like before work or as the first thing in the breakfast. 

People who have alcohol addiction need large amounts of it to get the drunk feeling, as their inability to quit alcohol increases because of the continuous use.

They typically have problems controlling their consumption too. Just one sip often leads to many more. Alcoholics with limited funds may select liquor or beer rather than rent, food, or electricity.  

Still, those with high incomes may yet go through financial challenges from forgetting to pay bills, missing work, driving incurring fines for being drunk, and spending a huge proportion of money on social or alcohol gatherings.  

If you or somebody you know need help with alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse, there’s a list of treatment options for alcohol addiction recovery.  

Effective therapies to control alcohol addiction 

Addiction recovery is linked to physical abstinence and making positive behavioural and mental changes.

The way we think affects the way we behave, so naturally, counselling and therapy are crucial aspects of recovery and addiction treatment in rehab. 

What is therapy for drug or alcohol addiction is important? 

Therapies are used for alcohol and drug addiction and studies have proven certain forms of therapies play a big role in helping people to overcome their drug addiction.

Here are some reasons: 

  • Therapy motivates people in substance abuse treatment 
  • Therapy offers incentives for people to live a substance-free life. 
  • The therapy improves people’s behaviours and attitudes towards drug abuse. 
  • Therapy helps in developing skills and teaches people how to cope with triggers, manage anxiety and high-risk situations in recovery. 

Even if a participant is not voluntarily opting for treatment, therapy can be useful to break down a person’s resistance to the treatment and choose the opportunity for recovery.  

There is no one particular cure for the addiction, but, the National Institute on Drug Abuse endorses the belief that counselling and behavioural therapy are an important part of the recovery, while there are many other treatment modes that can be used at a time to accomplish positive and persistent results.  

Types of Alcoholism Treatment 

There are various forms of addiction recovery programs for people who are coping with drug addiction or alcohol use disorder (AUD).

These are some of the most effective forms of therapies for treating alcohol addiction: 

Medical Detox

This treatment is particularly designed to remove all drugs from the body of the alcoholic. Clinical and medical professionals make the process more easy-going by treating severe withdrawal symptoms either emotional or physical. 

Individual therapy during detox also aids prepare the client for continuing treatment in alcohol rehab. 

Inpatient treatment

It presents a high level of accountability and structure for patients recovering from alcohol addiction. 

Clients stay at the rehab centre for the period of treatment and they sustain a daily structured schedule that involves group therapy, individual therapy, participation in recovery group meetings, meals, physical activity time, meals, and a small proportion of the personal time.  

Outpatient treatment

It allows patients to live at home or achieve sobriety at home on the completion of treatment. This also permits more ease if patients need to continue caring and working for kids during the treatment. 

Clients attend several outpatient meetings which are organised by the treatment provider and any support group each week and are hosted by licensed medical health professionals at a decent, clinical location. 

Online rehab

This treatment allows participants to attend remote video treatment counselling sessions at the convenience of their own homes or during travel.

 Licensed treatment professionals host these live video sessions and cater counselling to populations who live in remote locations and can’t join face-to-face treatment programs.  

Court-ordered rehab

Addicts who are arrested and prisoned because of drug-related criminal activities usually go to drug court where they are sentenced with rehab time.

There are strict rules for these types of programs, they allow eligible participants to get treatment for the alcohol addiction rather than going to jail.

These programs assist in reducing recidivism rates among passively resistant drug offenders. 

Sober living programs

This programme provides support, alcohol and drug-free, and safe living environments for people in recovery.

These gender-specific homes offer support and peer accountability alongside house meetings, regular drug testing, and IOP.

Participants can have access to recovery support services and additional clinical therapy, involving personalised employment assistance, recovery programming, volunteer placement, educational planning, and certified peer recovery. 

1.       Teen drug rehab: some drug rehab programs are custom-made for teenagers who are coping with substance use disorders.

This program treats teen-specific programs that young people may experience in recovery while also offering social and educational services to make re-incorporating back into society after rehab much easy-going. 

2.      Aftercare: these substance abuse recovery programs address people who have already completed rehab, detox, and sober living but who want continuous support to sustain their sobriety.

After programs provide peer accountability with a professional support group and weekly meetings. 

3.       Holistic drug rehab: this program provides treatment services that are specifically made to increase clients’ wellness through body, mind, and spirit. Treatment services may include yoga, acupuncture, nutritional counselling, or meditation.  

While there are several multiple treatment options to pick from, the ideal type of addiction treatment for a person will depend on the severity of the treatment history, addiction, financial ability, and other personal circumstances.

A therapist, doctor, or licensed addiction treatment professional can assist you to find out a treatment plan that is best for you to live an alcohol-free life and maintain a sober lifestyle. 


Behavioural therapies for alcohol abuse 

Behavioural therapies assist participants to engage in their substance alcohol and substance abuse programs by changing their behaviours and attitudes regarding alcohol and substance abuse, offering incentives for them to achieve sobriety, and enhancing their life skills so they can cope with modifying triggers, situations, and cravings.  

Types of therapy used in addiction recovery and treatment 

There are different forms of therapies that are used in addiction recovery and treatment programs like IOP, residential rehab, and aftercare.

Each form of therapy is different and maybe more or less effective on the basis of a clients’ requirements.

If you or a dear one is preparing to join an addiction treatment program, you can encounter these forms of therapies. 

1.      Cognitive behavioural addiction or therapy 

Cognitive behavioural therapy is based on the core principle that helps in managing psychological issues like addictions are concerned with destructive thinking patterns, discouraging coping techniques, and negative learned behaviours.  

How is CBT used for alcoholism? 

CBT is focused on helping clients to move forward in their life, rather than focusing on what has been done in the past. 

CBT is designed to modify noxious thinking patterns by training individuals how to identify and reevaluate them in a realistic manner, develop self-efficacy and self-confidence, use problem-solving strategies to handle challenging situations.  

Alcoholics are plagued by harmful thinking patterns so badly that can make it extremely challenging to stop misusing alcohol or leave drinking habits.

Negative thinking patterns also strongly contribute to feelings of helplessness and mental health issues that frequently happen alongside addiction like depression or anxiety.  

Instead of feeling miserable over their alcohol addiction, cognitive behavioural therapy assists people to delve into patterns of negative thinking that lead to self-destructive behaviour like alcohol abuse and accept and adopt healthier ways of thinking that will contribute to a sober and alcohol-free life. 

Perks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy 
  • CBT is centred around goal orientation. 
  • It helps patients develop strategies to cope with triggers, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, stressful situations, and cravings that may happen outside of rehab. 
  • It can be used in individual or group therapy. 
  • It allows therapists and clients to work together to key out negative thinking patterns and grow healthy ones. 
  • The skills needed for CBT are the real ones that can be integrated into everyday life. 

Family Therapy for Addiction 

Couples or Family therapy is specifically designed to handle an individual’s alcohol abuse problems, co-occurring problems, mental health conditions, and issues linked to the interlinked relationships within a family unit. 

How is Couples Therapy or Family Therapy used to treat addiction? 

In this therapy every problem linked with complications between a couple or all family members is treated with the help of professional treatment centres or support groups. 

The concept behind family therapy is that the alcoholic’s behaviours and actions are impacted by their hereditary relationships and vice versa.

Couples therapy and family therapy includes all affected participants (extended and/or immediate family) and are usually necessary to enhance relationships, treat problems like enabling behaviours, stress, and communication problems to amend the home environment in a way that encourages continued abstinence.  

Perks of couples therapy or family therapy for alcohol addiction? 

  • It assists keep dear ones engaged and motivated during treatment. 
  • It offers significant educational information about the recovery and the addiction process. 
  • It provides participants a safe place to talk about their concerns, show their feelings, and inquires about the addiction. 
  • It assists ease feelings of stress, anger, confusion, and fear among family members. 
  • It assists family members to grow skills and strategies to deal with the recovery process and addictive behaviours. 
  • It betters communication among family members. 
  • It offers opportunities to deal with any mental health condition in the family.  

12-Step Facilitation Therapy for Addiction 

12-step facilitation therapy is an organised approach for alcohol addiction recovery that is founded on the idea of addiction and chronic drinking being a medical and spiritual disease.

The first and foremost focus of a 12-step facilitation therapy is acceptance, submission, and active participation in the whole recovery procedure to attain and maintain sobriety at the end of this manual therapy.  

The main idea behind this therapy is that a person is more probable to stay sober if they are continuously involved in a 12-step self-help group just like support groups or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  

Groups when involved provide opportunities for people to grow healthy relationships with other decent people living a sober life, share their experiences, thoughts, and ideas with people having similar struggles and experiences, and have a judgment-free zone where they can freely talk about the challenges they went from while achieving sobriety. 

Advantages of 12-step facilitation therapy 

  • It offers clients healthy opportunities to develop sober and healthy relationships with a sponsor 
  • It discloses alcohol problems or psychological resistance to meet attendance and participation, propelling further discovery of those problems. 
  • It provides chances to get socially engaged with an alcohol addiction recovery community. 
  • It encourages deep introspection and helps customers get the most out of their 12-step meetings. 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) 

Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) was actually made in the late 1980s to help clients who drink alcohol suffering from PTSD.

Since substance use disorders and trauma are often twined, EMDR is an effective approach for treating people suffering from alcohol drinking problem, binge drink habits, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, mental illness and liver disease.  

EMDR is made to help clients and adjudicate traumatic experiences, memories and emotions while replacing negative memories linked with the trauma by positive thoughts.

If a client endured a terrible accident, he or she may be suffering from heavy drinking to cope with anxiety and manage stress linked with those memories.

Rather than that, EMDR can assist the person relate those memories with positive thoughts like “I’m a strong person and capable of having sober friends and live a strong life.” 

What Does Addiction Recovery Mean? 

Addiction recovery mean a phase when an addict gets professional medical advice and follows a particular treatment plan and implement strong lifestyle changes to overcome alcohol addiction and stop alcohol abuse. 

You might have heard people talking about addiction recovery in association with alcohol or drug addiction.

Recovery, specifically, from alcohol and drug is a process of change in which an individual enters a treatment centre where they provide medical advice about alcohol use and disease control.

And how to quit drinking, treat mental illness along with trustworthy health information.  

For an efficient recovery from alcohol, they educate the family about proper nutrition of the addict and offer emotional support, and guide the alcoholics about the harms of alcohol abuse.

Many families often have an individual family member who might be a kid “in recovery” and what that word can mean differs from situation to situation. 

Recovery from alcohol use and adoption of healthy habits are closely linked. After the completion of treatment, whether outpatient or inpatient, the only hope is that life will be normal and sober.

People who have been successful in getting rid of alcohol use and quit drinking usually refer to their new lifestyle as being “in recovery”.

Recovering from Alcoholism 

Recovery from alcoholism is a procedure of change by which people improve their wellness, live drug-free life and put efforts to reach their maximum potential by joining a treatment facility.

Recovery from Alcoholism is based on 4 principles: 

  • Health: overcoming health issues or alcohol abuse symptoms related to alcohol addiction and making healthy, informed choices that support emotional and physical well-being. 
  • Home: having safe and healthy relationships with your family members and have decent friends in your life. 
  • Purpose: meaningful meetings and daily healthy activities are conducted and attended. The person is motivated to have independence, resources and income to participate in the society. 
  • Community: having social networks and relationships that provide hope, love, friendship and support. 

Bottom Line 

If you are coping with alcohol or drug addiction and you need to achieve sobriety, working with a recovery therapist or a substance abuse therapist is a wise decision.

These experienced and licensed professionals are usually employed at drug rehab centres, medical detox centres or may get patient referrals from community programs.

If you want help to overcome your addiction, join a treatment facility, or talk to a therapist, counsellor, or doctor for treatment recommendations.  

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About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023