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Alcoholism and Treatment Methods: Looking at the Different Treatments of Alcoholism

There are a number of different alcoholism and treatment options – so let me take you through the different treatments of alcoholism. There are firstly two things that you need to understand:

1) The treatment of alcoholism is different from recovery from alcoholism. Treatment is what you do to get sober initially. Recovery is what you do to stay sober – and is something you need to work at for the rest of your life

2) Alcoholism is an addiction and addiction is primarily a spiritual problem – so if you hope to not only treat an addiction to alcohol successfully, but also ensure you go onto succeed in recovery – you need to adopt a spiritual, holistic approach. Otherwise you’ll end up relapsing or just a dry drunk.

How to Treat Alcoholism

Depending on how severe your alcoholism is, or what stage of alcoholism you’re at, you will need to go through a supervised alcohol withdrawal program – because if not done properly could be life threatening. Hospitals, detox centers or rehabs can do this for you.

Once you’re over the worst of the withdrawal phase, these are the different treatments of alcoholism available:

Outpatient Treatment Program

This entails going at regular intervals to a treatment facility – where you will generally engage in counselling or group therapy, and also learn behavioural skills to help you going forward. Now I know a lot of people hate the idea of group therapy, but it’s actually extremely effective because it helps break down the isolation you tend to feel as an alcoholic.

Listening to what other people have gone through and the issues they face, makes you realise you actually aren’t alone and that sense of identification helps you.

Inpatient or Residential Treatment Program

Here you go to a drug or alcohol rehab or treatment centre for 3-6 weeks (some places even longer) and receive intensive treatment from personal addiction counselling, group therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy – the works.

To compare residential vs outpatient programs you should read this addiction and alcoholism drug treatment piece. I tend to favour residential if at all possible because it allows you to focus on your treatment without the stresses and pressures of every day life distracting you.

Regular Addiction Counseling

This involves finding a counsellor and going for regular therapy type sessions. My fear with this is that it isn’t intensive enough and so going for counseling every so often won’t be as effective as the above two methods which are more all encompassing.

If you do consider this approach, it's also important that you find an addictions specialist - a normal therapist won't cut it - because dealing with addictions requires a specialised approach that not many can provide.

Recovery Coaching

This falls into a similar category as addictions counselling, except with recovery coaching you don’t just tend to focus on your addictions and problems – but on the vision of what you want from your life, and what you need to do to get there.

12 Step Program

A 12 step program like AA is more of a recovery program than treatment program (remember the difference?) – but many have used it successfully as both. I know of lots of people that have successfully overcome alcoholism simply by going to AA regularly without going through a formal addiction treatment program.

12 step programs like AA are essentially spiritual programs that take you through a specific series of steps - to help you deal with the things keeping you in a cycle of addiction, and help you grow in spiritual awareness. Some don't like this environment but I do recommend you try it before passing judgement.

So if you’re looking at how to treat alcoholism effectively, I’ve covered the main different treatments of alcoholism available. Remember what I said though when looking at alcoholism and treatment. Treatment is only the initial battle you have to get through. Recovery is what you then have to work at continuously so make sure you spend plenty time going through the alcohol addiction recovery section. And at the heart of this should be a spiritual approach.

I also suggest you check out my book on alcoholism called Addiction Uncovered – because there I provide you with all the information you need to successfully treat and recover from alcoholism or drug addiction – including my personal recovery blueprint that can help you totally transform your life

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