“Recovery has given me something so much greater than just the tangible stuff,” reflects Jared R. in his HeroesInRecovery.com story. “It has given me freedom.  I don’t have to worry when I travel – will I have enough…booze? I no longer have to plan everything out. I have the true freedom to go anyplace where any normal person walks freely without being a prisoner to my disease.”

How can an alcoholic find this kind of freedom? Alcohol rehab is generally considered the most effective way to break the cycle of addiction to alcohol and open the door to wholeness and happiness.

The Basic Elements of Alcohol Rehab

Nurse with distraught patientAt its core, alcohol rehab is a treatment program dedicated to the process of helping individuals overcome their physical and psychological addictions to alcohol. During this process, patients typically experience four phases of service and participation:

  1. Diagnostics and evaluation
  2. Detox
  3. Counseling
  4. Aftercare

In some cases, therapeutic medication is also necessary in order to help stabilize the patient during alcohol detox and/or to address any co-occurring disorder(s).

As part of a comprehensive treatment package, the social dimension of addiction is addressed, as well as the physical and psychological aspects.1

Yes, alcohol rehab is much more than just a “bandage” solution to what ails the patient. If conducted properly, these healing programs get to the heart of why an individual has sought out alcohol in the first place. They pursue, confront and treat these veiled issues – the wellspring for disease.2

At Michael’s House, we offer a holistic alcohol rehab experience designed to meet the individual needs of each patient on a personal level. An alcohol rehab center should be a place for healing, healthier living, and emotional and therapeutic support. The treatment programs that have enjoyed the most success in helping their patients heal after alcohol addiction are those that contain a variety of evidence-based strategies to enrich the mind, body and soul of the individual.1

A Closer Look at Each Step of the Process

Assessment and evaluation– Treatment typically begins with a complete physical and psychological assessment to establish which method of rehabilitation should be used. This is completed by both physicians and treatment counselors. Medical and mental health records are read. Family and alcohol-use histories are also reviewed. This process helps to chart the best course of action. Oftentimes, follow-up reviews are necessary to update or adjust treatment measures. Every aspect of care is based on a personalized treatment plan.

Alcohol detox– In most cases of long-term alcohol addiction, detox must occur prior to formal treatment. This part of the healing process involves stopping the consumption of alcohol and all other drugs. This gives the body time to cleanse itself of all harmful toxins. Withdrawal symptoms may be an issue (e.g., depression and anxiety, mood swings, sweats, chills and irritability). They all depend upon the specifics of the addiction. Physical and mental health care and support is provided, as needed.1

Therapeutic medication– The need for therapeutic medication depends on the individual patient’s needs, experiences and circumstances. If a drug is used, it should be medically-managed by a physician.

Individual counseling sessions – These are one-on-one meetings with an addiction treatment counselor. Issues and events that may have contributed toward alcoholism are explored. Patients learn about alcoholism as a disease. They also learn what can trigger addictive thinking and behavior. Vital coping skills are practiced. Healthy routines are developed. They come to understand that an alcohol-free lifestyle takes discipline and dedication.

Group counseling sessions– These involve meeting with other recovering addicts in the program. They provide opportunity for sharing life experiences and lessons learned.In so doing, a peer support network develops. Erroneous thinking and walls of isolation are exposed and addressed.3

Aftercare– When individuals “graduate” from formal alcohol rehab, they return to the outside world. Oftentimes, it isn’t easy to make this switch. Treatment-energized hope may fade away over time. Day-to-day stresses can take their toll.Ongoing support through 12-Step meetings, personal and group therapies, holistic treatments and other supports are vital. They help to maintain what was learned and practiced in formal treatment.4

Deciding Between Residential and Outpatient Modes of Treatment

Alcohol rehab programs are available in two basic formats: outpatient care and residential treatment. While both offer similar services, there are some key differences in the way each of them operates.

Residential Alcohol Rehab

  • In a dorm-like setting, patients reside in either a private or semi-private room. Stays often last a few months. Round-the-clock care is provided. Addiction and medical specialists daily monitor activity.
  • These facilities allow patients to focus solely on their healing – body, mind and spirit.

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

  • These are attended during the day. Patients return home (or to a sober living facility) at night.
  • These centers are good for those who are head of a household or have work or school obligations.
  • If addiction just developed or if patients simply need a treatment refresher, this option may work best.
  • Since medical care is generally not included in this setting, these centers do not work well for those who have severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking.

It’s important to take the time to weigh personal needs and preferences against the services and accommodations of any facilities being considered before commitment. Much time and money are on the line, not to mention physical and psychological health.5

Signs that Alcohol Rehab Is Needed

Alcoholics, when confronted, will often deny excess consumption of alcohol. Nor will they admit to any dependence upon it. Red flags that signal alcoholism include:

  • Often found seeking drink or intoxicated.
  • Difficulty getting an adequate amount of sleep.
  • Frequent falls, blackouts and resulting bruises.
  • Chronic depression, anxiety or irritability.
  • Poor weight and personal hygiene maintenance.
  • Repeated tardiness, poor grades or loss of employment.
  • Trouble maintaining good personal or working relationships.
  • Late in meeting financial obligations and maintaining a budget.
  • Violating DUI laws and involved in motor vehicle accidents.6

If Alcoholism Is Suspected, Seek Professional Help Immediately

An alcohol rehab treatment center is a place for healing, learning a healthy lifestyle and receiving support. Today’s proven, evidence-based approach to treating co-occurring disorders is to integrate the services of addiction counselors and medical professionals. Through unified goals and coordinated efforts,the whole person is treated. Tools for maintaining abstinence and physical and mental stability are provided.7

Michael’s House is a residential alcohol rehab facility in Palm Springs, California, that does just that. Our caring professionals seek to uncover the root causes of patients’ addictions and mental distress. We help them establish a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle.

Specializing in a dual-diagnosis approach to treatment, we are knowledgeable and experienced in bringing holistic healing – helping patients return to their authentic self. Because we care.

For more information or to make a reservation for treatment services, please call our 24/7 toll-free line.


1Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2016. Accessed 6 October 2017.

2Understanding Alcohol Use Disorders and Their Treatment.” American Psychological Association. Accessed 6  October 2017.

3Treatments for Substance Use Disorders.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 9 August 2016. Accessed 6 October 2017.

4Specialized Substance Abuse Treatment Programs.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. Accessed 6  October 2017.

Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-based Guide (Third Edition).” National Institute on Drug Abuse, December 2012. Accessed 6  October 2017.

6Alcohol Use Disorder: Symptoms.” Mayo Clinic. 25 July 2015. Accessed 6  October 2017.

7Dual Diagnosis.” MedlinePlus, US National Library of Medicine, 25April 2017. Accessed 6  October 2017.

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