30 days of alcohol rehab treatment will give you counseling for continuing alcohol recovery.
If you enter an alcohol rehab center, you might have a hard time looking beyond the first day. Even when the alcohol treatment program will last at least a month. What can you expect from the rest of alcohol rehab?
In the first week (if you read last week’s article), you’ll complete alcohol detox with careful medical supervision. By the seventh day, your withdrawal symptoms will likely decrease, and your rehab treatment will turn to addiction counseling.
Alcohol addiction counseling helps you examine why you first began drinking.
In a minute we’ll look at the different types of alcohol rehab therapies, and what they can do for you. But first, there’s a mindset you might find in alcohol rehab: “terminal uniqueness.”
That’s what Dr. Kitty Harris (an addiction researcher who’s also enjoying her long-term alcohol recovery) calls the feeling which people have as they begin alcohol rehab counseling. “Many people fear that their addiction is the worst one, but in treatment, you realize that everyone is like you. Terminal uniqueness is a lie.” In her experience, your addiction counseling helps you overcome that “terminal uniqueness” mindset.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This recovery tool happens in many forms, and what you’ll receive will depend on your alcohol addiction history and past circumstances. American Addiction Centers lists trauma-focused behavioral therapy and interpersonal behavioral therapy as two specialized examples. But the article notes that all these therapy types help you “understand the motivations behind their behaviors,” so that you can develop new behavior patterns to safeguard yourself.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) underlies much of alcohol rehab counseling, including one-patient-one-counselor settings (for your most uncomfortable self-assessment), family counseling (to involve your loved ones in your recovery) and peer group settings. These peer groups, often separated by gender, do heavy lifting for your self-understanding. Dr. Harris explains, “You go to groups to affirm the fact that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one who has been through this. With these groups, there’s a huge amount of feeling normal in treatment.”
Group-setting CBT gives great support to your recovery, because no one sitting in or speaking up needs to be alone. Dr. David Fawcett, VP for Clinical Programming at Seeking Integrity, calls peer groups one of alcohol rehab’s best healing methods. “Creating social networks with other clients is a tremendously important part of recovery,” he explains. “I have found that bonds among people in treatment can last a lifetime.”
Some alcohol rehab centers include 12-Step meetings as peer recovery resources, and these groups give the social support that Dr. Fawcett mentions. For alcohol recovery, 12-Step meetings usually mean Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). You’d begin attending them while completing your inpatient treatment, and you’d later (hopefully) continue attending once you’ve finished your alcohol rehab.
12 Step meetings often share a similar format: the chairperson (a de facto leader of the meeting) begins with the AA preamble. Any willing members can then recite the Serenity Prayer, followed by excerpts from AA literature. From there, anyone present can share their experiences for the group, to build support and strength with the other members. You certainly don’t have to share. But you attend the groups to listen, to “feel normal because you’re not alone,” says Dr. Harris.
Continuing Recovery Prep
All the treatment and counseling you complete during inpatient alcohol rehab are supposed to help you return to your life. Dr. Fawcett explains, “The point of treatment is to get people back into their lives with the tools they need to live a clean, sober life.” Towards the end of your first month, you’ll likely consult with your counselor and doctors to choose and prepare your next steps.
This alcohol recovery prep draws from what you learn during counseling: all the circumstances that first led you to drink might later lead you to relapse. Your therapies will include strategies to move forward in your alcohol recovery: for example, continued AA meetings and membership in the alcohol rehab center’s alumni program (if one exists). Joining the alumni network adds you to a ready-made support system, which you’ll need once you’ve left treatment and come back to your life.
“People can be reluctant to leave [treatment] because of the safety of the facility,” Dr. Fawcett says. “But people feel better in treatment, and they realize there’s not only life after addiction, but a great life.’
Keep learning more about alcohol addiction rehab. You can find out more from our content and our sources below. If you like what you’ve heard about the first month of inpatient alcohol addiction, why not find an alcohol rehab center near you? But if you can’t yet take that step, consider joining In The Rooms. That way, you can attend online recovery meetings (including AA) from anywhere. Join today, and learn how our recovery community can serve you.
“What to Expect at an Alcohol Treatment Center” – American Addiction Centers
“Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” – Addiction Center
“About Us” – Seeking Integrity
“Going to Your First 12-Step Meeting” – VeryWellMind
“The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery” – The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
“A.A. Literature” – Alcoholics Anonymous