How Rehab Works

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The way programmes for alcohol treatment work in a private clinic is typically a 3 stage process, with the long-term aim of abstinence-based recovery.

Here’s how alcohol rehab works…

There are normally 3 stages within most full-service rehabilitation clinics:

  1. Detoxing 
  2. Therapy 
  3. Aftercare

1. Detoxing from alcohol

Detoxification is the process of the body breaking down the remaining alcohol or drugs in the system, under a custom prescription medication, to relieve withdrawal and cravings.

Detox normally begins quickly, sometimes just hours after admission and the service doctor’s assessment.

Depending on specifics, the detox normally lasts 5-10 days.

As soon as comfortably possible, you’ll be encouraged to participate in the therapeutic program of recovery in the clinic.

Whilst this typically includes activities like the sports and leisure programme, alternative therapies etc, the core therapeutic programme normally consists of 12 steps and/or CBT work.

2. Therapy for alcoholism

The therapeutic pillars of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and 12 step recovery work, and one-to-one keyworker sessions should form the basis of your psychological addiction recovery, and the motivator for change.   The goal here is to address:

(i) emotional and environmental triggers of the addictive patterns,

(ii) deeper drivers behind the addiction such as self-esteem beliefs,

(iii) the overall mindset shift into one of long-term, abstinence-based recovery.

We’re trying to help you integrate here, into an immersive environment, surrounded by others on the same journey, aiming for the same goal.

By taking part in a fully residential environment, we remove the triggers that normally initiate addictive patterns, and provide you with the “emotional breathing space” to make progress on the underlying issues, uninterrupted.

Working with addiction specialist therapists, and one-to-one supports sessions, helps you identify and resolve the reason the addiction is in your life – the purpose it serves.

Once we begin to understand the ‘why’ of the addictive pattern, we can identify triggers and their influence, and regain control of life.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, keyworker sessions, and mutual aid meetings usually continue throughout your stay, until discharge from the clinic.


3. Aftercare from alcohol rehab

Aftercare planning should be individualised planning for all the support you’ll need when reintegrating into life after discharge.

For some, this will be connecting with a personal sponsor, aftercare meetings, and mutual aid supports.

For others, there are usually additional options such as paid one-to-one CBT or counselling.

Importantly, the process should be led by your needs at that point – what have you gained from the program?

What areas still need support? The more vocal and honest you are, the more the aftercare supports can be personalised to your needs.

During Admission

You can normally be admitted very quickly after enquiring, most reputable clinics can co-ordinate your admission within 24 hours.

Typically the service doctor will carry out an assessment upon arrival, and prescribe the relevant detox for your usage, circumstances, etc.

All this can happen in less than 24 hrs.

Is it time for you to begin the journey?

How satisfied will you be, in 6 months’ time, looking back, proud you took the action you needed to take…..having reclaimed your life…

What do they do in alcohol rehab?

In alcohol rehab, patients undergo assessment and detoxification before entering a suitable therapy programme. What they do in alcohol rehab is offer detox, therapy, and aftercare. 

Treatments include counselling, nutrition and fitness planning, meditation, yoga, or cognitive-behavioural therapy. Aftercare programmes consist of check-ups, therapy sessions, and community volunteering. Though a general structure exists, programmes are tailored to the patient’s needs, age, and medical condition.

What is alcohol rehab like?

Here is what alcohol rehab is like.  A typical day in alcohol rehab starts with calming activities, followed by therapy sessions, and then activities are structured but may vary depending on available facilities and patients’ needs. 

Morning activities include eating healthy food and exercising. Individual and group therapy sessions in the afternoon focus on preventing alcohol withdrawal and relapse. In the evening, patients are encouraged to evaluate their day and talk to fellow patients.

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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