Individuals who suffer from alcoholism often latch onto excuses for not seeking treatment for the problem. A common excuse is that alcohol rehabilitation therapy takes too much time, and time spent in rehab and away from family, friends and careers will cause more harm than continuing to feed an alcohol addiction. The truth is that alcohol rehabilitation will often require a significant time commitment. Alcoholics do not realize or understand, however, that the time required for a successful rehab will give them more time and opportunities once they are sober, and that rejecting any rehabilitation attempts will ultimately rob them of time that they could devote to productive endeavors.
Phases of Alcohol Rehabilitation
From a purely practical perspective, the initial phase of rehabilitation from alcoholism will last approximately four weeks. The first week of rehab will involve screening and a potentially difficult detox process. An alcoholic who is no longer feeding his body’s cravings for alcohol might experience detox symptoms that are similar to those of a very bad flu, including chills and fever, nausea, muscle and joint discomfort, and seizures. These symptoms can pose dangers to a recovering alcoholic’s long-term health. Physicians and addiction counselors will strongly recommend a recovering alcoholic to stay at an in-patient rehab center while he is going through this initial detox phase.
The three weeks after this initial detox phase will transition a recovering alcoholic to the initial recovery phase. Many recovering alcoholics experience emotions ranging from extreme joy to insufferable boredom during this phase. During this time, a recovering alcoholic will work with counselors and recovery groups to develop a long-term plan that is designed to keep the alcoholic sober. As with the detox phase, this initial recovery phase often requires an alcoholic to stay at an in-patient facility.
Getting into Alcohol Rehab
Alcoholics who are considering whether to enter a rehabilitation program should not conclude, however, that their rehabilitation will be complete within four weeks. Apart from the very real risk of a relapse, recovering from alcoholism and achieving long-term sobriety can be a lifelong event. Recovering alcoholics, for example, will often attend group therapy sessions and AA meetings throughout the remainder of their lives in order to maintain the motivation and positive outlook that their initial four-week rehabilitation instilled in them. The honest answer to the question of how long an alcoholic will be in rehabilitation is, therefore, for the rest of his life.
This answer should never dissuade an alcoholic from entering rehab. The disease of alcoholism will blind an alcoholic to opportunities, improved relationships with family and friends, and the better health and well-being that can be achieved away from alcohol. Some alcoholics will struggle with these concepts even after they have been sober for months or years. Long-term sobriety requires constant effort and vigilance, but the rewards and benefits of achieving long-term sobriety will far outweigh the perceived benefits of avoiding rehab.
The Last Resort Recovery Center (near Austin, Texas) specializes in working with men who are struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction. Please call us at 512-360-3600 for more information about our alcohol rehabilitation programs. We can also answer your specific questions about how much time you can expect to devote to your own personal recovery. Our programs are designed to work with each individual’s schedule and to help recovering alcoholics achieve the long-term sobriety they seek.