Alcohol Rehab - Does it Work?

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Alcohol rehab - does it work?

Yes. alcohol rehab works, but, it will only work for people who are committed to giving up alcohol. It is important to stress how necessary commitment to rehab is. Alcohol addiction cannot be treated unless the recovering addict is 100% ready to beat the habit. 

No addiction treatment, regardless of its quality of care, will be effective for long-term substance abuse, for anyone who is not willing and ready for the change. You must be willing to receive the help they offer. 

 How Do Alcohol Rehab Centres Work? 

Alcohol rehab involves helping the addicted individual through their recovery and into sobriety. 

This involves a variety of services such as professional treatment advice for drug addiction, understanding the underlying mental health issues, mental health services administration, drug abuse, family therapy, group therapy, alcohol withdrawal, etc. 

They usually include an intense programme that is all inclusive and deals with individual treatment processes including any drug abuse.

One of the main areas to concentrate on, when it comes to a rehab programme or inpatient programme is mental health. 

Treatment centres are aware of the impact alcohol abuse has on the mental health of the addicted individual. 

They will mostly offer a certified addiction professional at the treatment centre, which is part of the process of treating addiction.

The professional medical advice will also be included in the drug and alcohol treatment facility. 

The treatment centres will seek to make it easy for an individual to concentrate on treatment and help them cope with their alcohol or drug dependence.  

Detox is almost always the first step in the treatment process, and the medical professionals will take their time to analyse your issues with addiction and whether you have other underlying mental health issues such as blood pressure issues, gambling addiction, alcohol and drug addiction, emotional healing, and mental health conditions. 

Rehab has specified physical health and recovery programmes to help with long term sobriety. You are also likely to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms, alcohol dependence and medical assessment. 

What is the Success Rate for Alcohol Rehab? 

As mentioned earlier, the success of any treatment programme and addiction treatment depends on the commitment of the patient.  

But, according to research done by the national institute in the 90s; 47% of addicts who received addiction treatment in a treatment facility managed to stay abstinent from drug and alcohol for at least five years, once they were done with their alcohol treatment.  

For those that received alcohol treatment that was community-based, 35% of them were also able to receive abstinence for five years. 

In the last 20 years, however, the results have greatly improved, which means that residential rehab and addiction treatment is much more successful, and the NHS said that as of 2012, every clinic in the UK was performing very well, and the success rates were between 60 and 80% in terms of substance abuse treatment. 

Again, the longer the private treatment, the longer the sobriety. Treatment centres have understood this and come up with longer treatment options for inpatient treatment, thus improving the success rate of alcohol rehab


What are The Stages of Rehab & Addiction Treatment? 

Alcohol addiction is a serious medical condition, and alcohol rehab is in most cases the best option for anyone that suffers from alcohol abuse.  

The alcohol rehab treatment centre seeks to provide medical advice and a specific treatment provider for anyone suffering from alcohol abuse. The following stages, however, will take place regardless of who the patient is. 

These stages were designed by the national institute for substance use disorder, and they work towards ensuring that the clients health remains intact and that they can achieve sobriety in a safe environment.

This post explains the core components of alcohol rehab for drinking misuse.

Treatment Initiation - Alcohol Addiction 

Once you have reached out for help from a specific treatment provider for substance abuse, the treatment provider will start with this first stage of the treatment at the rehab facility, and the treatment initiation seeks to identify the kind of recovery process you are about to go through. 

During the early days at the rehab centre, you are likely to have some ambivalent feels and almost want to give up on the process. This is because addiction affects you in very many ways.  

Be extra wary of this type of attitude as it is your worse enemy when you first visit the alcohol and drug rehab.  

The substance abuse specific treatment centre will work on looking at the damaging effects of alcohol over your life, explore your feelings towards recovery and identify behavioural therapies with a health professional who will make it easy for you to live a sober life and a normal life as well.  

The addiction specialist will also take you through the admissions process at the rehabilitation centre and let you know of the rehab work ahead.  

Early Abstinence 

Once you have made a commitment towards alcohol and rehab treatment, the alcohol rehab work will begin, and the first thing is to learn how to abstain from alcohol consumption.

This is part of your treatment, and the treatment providers will tailor-make a treatment plan that works for you. 

This is probably the toughest stage because abstinence after a prolonged dependency on alcohol is very hard. However, it offers a positive outcome very fast.  

Some of the main issues to experience in this stage include: 

  • Severe withdrawal symptoms 
  • Cravings 
  • Psychological dependence. 
  • Triggers that would tempt you to relapse. 

There are many other challenges during this state of treatment, and the treatment providers will teach you on how to cope with all of these challenges, most especially how you can achieve and lead a sober lifestyle. 

The treatment program must teach you how to identify triggers and how you can handle cravings without necessarily drinking. 

Maintaining Abstinence 

After around 90 days at the drug rehab centre, you now move on to the next stage of recovery, which is maintaining your abstinence.

If your treatment program was at a residential treatment centre, then, the medical provider will release you from the centre, but provide a continued follow-up process of substance abuse treatment.  

This will now become an outpatient process by the treatment providers to help you maintain your abstinence and avoid relapsing. You will be able to identify the steps and signs that are likely to lead to a relapse. 

You will also learn how to effectively put the tools you learned in rehab into use and continue living a life of sobriety.  

The main coping skills you learn include the following: 

  • How to avoid substituting addictions. 
  • How to develop a drug-free life. 
  • How to restore and build healthy relationships. 
  • How to manage anger. 
  • And how to make use of nutrition and exercise.

Advanced Recovery 

Now, after five years of abstaining from alcohol abuse, you will have reached the fourth stage, which is also the final stage of rehab. The Advanced recovery.  

This is the point where all the skills and tools you learned in rehab are put into use, so as to achieve a fulfilling and satisfying life. 

There are some strategies that can help one at this point, which includes: 

  • Creating goals. 
  • Coming up with daily schedules that do not include alcohol. 
  • Finding friends who do not consume alcohol. 

These strategies will help you in achieving a sober lifestyle and abstaining from alcohol consumption. You will also find yourself becoming a better friend, parent, employee, and citizen. 

What Happens After you get Out of Rehab? 

The transition from rehab to home is not easy, and it is one of the most complex stages of the recovery.

After admitting that you need help and have gone through the entire rehab program, your focus then moves on to trying to stay sober. 

Going home will of course present you with new challenges of dealing with addiction.

When you were at the rehab clinic, there was isolation, which meant that you did not interact with people who were probably your triggers and enablers. 

The good news is that most of the best rehab clinics take time to teach you on how you can move on when you go home, and how you will be able to control yourself from relapse. Getting back to the real world must be handled with care. 

The main challenge of being at home however is that most people tend to have a sense of invincibility, where they assume that they have finally managed to kick the habit, and they are sober.

This happens because they haven't touched alcohol for months. 

But, when you are home, you do not have the same support as you had in rehab, which means that you are extremely vulnerable to relapse. You focus should be on how to concur the daily temptations. 

It is of course hard to stay away from alcohol, especially when there are triggers all over, and it will take a lot of will power to maintain your sobriety.

You should try to stay away from all tempting situations such as staying away from your former friends, not going to bars, and ensuring that you do not keep alcohol in the house. 

Try as much as possible to prevent relapse.  

Support Groups 

There are plenty of local support groups to help one stay sober. When one leaves a rehab clinic, they must use these groups.

Usually, they are filled with recovering addicts, and they provide a great way for individual interactions with people who are going through recovery same as you. 

Support from family is also essential to the addict when they come back home, and if you live with them, then, it is ideal that they ensure to remove all traces of alcohol in the home so as to avoid temptations. 

Here's what you should watch out for: 

For any recovering addict, the most important thing to watch out for are associations, especially with your former friends who still use alcohol.

These are the kind of people who will sabotage your sobriety efforts and all the work done at the rehab. 

Another issue is stress. Ensuring that you do not get yourself into stressful situations will help you maintain your sobriety, because one of the triggers for alcohol abuse is stress.

Going back home means that you will once again put yourself in the stressful situations that caused you to start drinking. 

As an addict, you must learn how to cope with these daily pressures in a way that does not cause you to take alcohol. 

Never think that you are not in danger of relapse, because the minute you do, you may end up relapsing after all. Always keep practicing what you learned at rehab in order to overcome all sorts of triggers.  

Sober Living House 

If you find yourself having trouble maintaining your sobriety after leaving rehab, you should consider a sober living house.

This is a house that takes care of recovering alcoholics and they do not allow anyone to take alcohol while residing in the house, and in this way, you are less likely to relapse. 

Any visitor coming to visit you is also not allowed to take alcohol or bring any alcohol in the house.

This kind of living situation is excellent for anyone struggling and most of such houses offer overt treatment, which means that as a tenant you have to work and keep yourself busy the whole time you are there. 

Being busy means that you do not have time to think about your desire for alcohol or drugs. 


If you find that you over rely on alcohol, you need treatment. Do not ignore this, as it will only get worse and worse over time.

There are plenty of treatment providers listed online, and on other websites, where they provide the website's main phone number, where you can call and have a chat online. 

Additionally, you are likely to find paid advertisers online chat who can also offer some great advice for you if you have not made the decision to go to rehab yet. 

Rehab is of course not an easy process, and most people tend to give up and relapse, but no matter how many times you try it.

You should never give up. We have of course heard of people who have had more than five stints at rehab and eventually, they are usually able to kick the habit. 

Finding a good rehab with an excellent team of doctors is the first step towards achieving sobriety. For this reason, you need to find a specific treatment centre listing that will cater for all your needs.  

Sobering up will make your life better, improve your relationships both at home and at work, and give some purpose for your life.

Do not allow addiction to control your life. You can take your life back and start living a normal life that is not affected by alcohol. 

Please also remember to consider your mental health, because one of the side effects of addiction is depression. When you are depressed, then your alcohol consumption is likely to increase as well. 

Both conditions co-occur and need treatment. Most rehab centres understand this, and they offer both treatments in-house. 

All the best as you seek treatment and kick overdependence on alcohol. 

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

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