Alcohol Addiction

What to Expect from Alcohol Addiction Rehab

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and you realize you need help with your addiction, you need to take steps to recover and achieve sobriety. Your recovery journey from alcohol addiction begins with detox.

From there, you’ll start your addiction treatment, which usually requires you to enrol in a rehab program. Following treatment, you’ll continue with after-care therapies and support groups to help you stay on the right path.

The above is only a quick summary of what alcohol addiction rehab entails. In this article, you will learn everything about what to expect from alcohol rehab. At its end, you will have answers to every question you have about alcohol addiction treatment.

Am I Addicted to Alcohol?

Many people struggling with alcohol addiction hardly know they are addicted to the substance. When you become addicted to alcohol, it eventually leads to a chronic disease known as alcohol use disorder. At this point, you are dependent on the substance and won’t function properly without it.

There is no single known cause for alcohol addiction. Behavioural, psychological, and genetic factors can contribute to it. When you become addicted to alcohol, it alters your brain and neurochemistry. Hence, you may become unable to control your actions.

There are many ways to tell if you are addicted to alcohol. You may exhibit one or all of these symptoms:

  • Drink alcohol frequently and in increased amounts.
  • Become highly tolerant of alcohol or lack of hangover symptoms.
  • Drink alcohol at inappropriate times or places.
  • Always visit locations where alcohol is available.
  • Damaged relationships with friends and loved ones.
  • Become dependent on alcohol to function properly.
  • Hide alcohol from your loved ones or superiors.
  • Increased lethargy, depression, or emotional stress.
  • Problems at work.
  • Legal problems.

Continued alcohol use may lead to a slew of medical problems like:

  • Ulcers
  • Sexual issues
  • Congenital disabilities
  • Vision problems
  • Increased risks of cancer
  • Diabetes complications
  • Bone loss
  • Suppressed immune function

If you are addicted to alcohol, you may also put others at risk. Drunk people may showcase violent behaviours, drive under the influence, become suicidal or homicidal, among others. To avoid these and many other complications, you should treat your alcohol addiction.

relation issues

Treatment Procedure for Alcohol Addiction: What Happens at Rehab

Many people struggling with alcohol addiction are hesitant to seek addiction treatment. They hear myths about the procedure and withdrawal symptoms they may experience and grow cold feet. However, this should not be the case.

You should seek information about alcohol addiction treatment instead of dwelling on hearsay. This article will show you there is no need to fear what happens during alcohol rehab.

Alcohol treatment begins from the moment you realize you need help with your addiction. No matter the number of people trying to talk you out of your addictive behaviours, only you have the final say and can decide you need help. Only when you come to this realization yourself will you be motivated to take the necessary steps to your recovery.

The next step is to enrol in an alcohol addiction treatment center. At the center, medical professionals will examine you to get some vital information. After the assessment, you will proceed to detox. After detox, you will take part in multiple therapies and treatments. After your treatment, you will also engage in post-recovery therapies and counselling to keep you on the sobriety path.

People ask “How long does alcohol rehab take?” Rehab usually takes between 28 to 30 days. Sometimes, it can take 60 or 90 days. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends a 90-day treatment program for addiction patients.

Check-In and Assessment

Once you check in to an alcohol rehab center, the rehab’s staff will interview you to find out more about you. The assessment is necessary because they need to know the nature of your substance abuse. They also need to know if you have co-occurring conditions.

The answers you provide will help the rehab center customize a treatment plan for you. The answers you provide will also influence what to expect from alcohol addiction rehab.

This is because every person will have a unique treatment plan customized for them. Even though the ultimate goal is to recover from addiction and attain sobriety, your alcohol rehab plan will differ from another patient’s.


After your assessment, you will undergo detoxification. Detox is aimed at getting rid of all the traces of alcohol in your body after long-term use and abuse. This stage of alcohol addiction recovery is critical and may be difficult for some persons. However, it’s necessary because your body can’t cleanse itself of the traces of alcohol without it. Without detox, you are not mentally and physically ready for alcohol addiction rehab.

Detox prepares you for what to expect from alcohol rehab. Everyone’s experience with detox is different. Your experience depends on the type of alcohol you consumed, the quantity consumed and the duration of use. Based on these factors, detox can last from a day to two weeks. More severe cases can last for a few months.

During detox, you may experience some withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to the absence of alcohol. These symptoms can range in intensity from mild to life-threatening. Most times, the severity and duration of your alcohol use play a role in the kind of withdrawal symptoms you will experience.

The mild symptoms of alcohol detox are:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

More serious withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Disorientation
  • Extreme hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (rarely occurs)

Delirium tremens is not common, but it is the most serious symptom of alcohol withdrawal and detox. You may experience it within two to five days after your last consumption of alcohol. Delirium tremens can cause death. However, it is rare for people to develop it after quitting alcohol.

Because of the severe nature of some alcohol withdrawal symptoms, medical professionals must be on hand. Hence, what to expect from alcohol rehab at this stage is you being surrounded by health professionals. They are monitoring your reactions and taking note of any sudden symptoms. This way, you get all the help you need immediately.

If you develop symptoms in alcohol rehab, you may be given medications to treat them. These medications include benzodiazepines, naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.

Benzodiazepines are for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms during the detox phase. Naltrexone helps reduce your alcohol cravings. Acamprosate helps your brain to function normally again after quitting alcohol. On the other hand, disulfiram acts by producing severe reactions if you consume alcohol.

Related Article: Medical Detox Cost in Canada

detox alcohol addiction

Alcohol Rehab Programs

After the detox stage of your alcohol addiction treatment, the next phase is the rehab stage. There are two alcohol rehab programs. These are inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab.

In inpatient rehab, you will live inside a hospital or rehab center. In the center, you will have round-the-clock medical care and attention. You will partake in several activities aimed at steadily pushing you towards recovery.

In outpatient rehab, you don’t stay in a rehab center or facility. Instead, you’ll receive treatment for your addiction while continuing with your daily activities. Outpatient rehab usually entails regular appointments with a healthcare professional or therapist. You’ll also partake in counselling sessions, individual and group therapies.

These alcohol rehab programs also differ from each other in cost. You will pay more for inpatient rehab than for outpatient rehab. Inpatient rehabs require multiple trained and experienced medical staff. Inpatient rehabs also offer more services than outpatient rehabs. These factors contribute to its cost.

However, if you are suffering from severe alcohol dependency or are a long-term alcohol user, you should enrol in inpatient rehab. You may experience more severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms and will need more medical care and attention. Outpatient rehabs are recommended for people with mild withdrawal symptoms.

Rehab therapy and treatments

Therapies are a major part of what to expect from alcohol rehab. After detox, your rehab treatment begins, whether in an inpatient or outpatient rehab center. You will undergo various kinds of therapies during your treatment and recovery process. These therapies help your cravings for alcohol, prevent relapse, and maintain a sober lifestyle.

The therapies you will undergo include:

Individual Therapy

In individual therapy, a medical professional will work with you privately. There will be one-on-one sessions to reflect on your addiction and how it has affected your lifestyle. During these therapeutic sessions, you will gradually find healing and reconnect with your true self.

During these sessions, your therapist will also identify the factors triggering your addiction. This is an important aspect of what to expect from alcohol rehab. After identifying these triggers, your therapist will teach you how to deal with or get rid of them healthily.

The therapist will also fashion out the right kind of therapy suitable for you. There are different forms of therapies, but behavioural therapies are effective in dealing with alcohol addiction.

During alcohol addiction rehab,  different therapy forms you may undergo include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy.
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Holistic therapy.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

It helps in unearthing the thoughts or feelings that cause you to indulge in alcohol abuse and addiction. It eventually reduces your chances of relapsing during and after treatment.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy

This therapy accounts for trauma and its impact on behaviours. It helps you connect your trauma with your behaviour. Therefore, you can break the link between trauma and your alcohol consumption behaviour.

Motivational enhancement therapy

In this form of therapy, you’ll learn how to change some behaviours or negative thoughts linked to your addiction. Motivational enhancement therapy is usually used for treating patients with co-occurring conditions.

Dialectical behaviour therapy

This is another therapy recommended for people with dual diagnoses. With it, you’ll learn ways to deal with your alcoholism and co-occurring disorder through motivational enhancement and behavioural skills.

Interpersonal therapy

It helps you build a social network and other support structures that can help you deal with loneliness, negative thoughts, and other things that increase addictive behaviours. This therapy aims to strengthen your resolve to remain sober.

alcohol group therapy

Psychodynamic therapy

What to expect from alcohol rehab when it comes to psychodynamic therapy is the exploration of your emotions. This therapy form helps you uncover subconscious thoughts connected to your addiction.

If you can identify these thoughts, you can determine the underlying cause of your addiction. Psychodynamic therapy also helps you avoid situations that can cause relapse.

Experiential therapy

This therapy uses non-traditional treatment methods to help alcohol addiction patients overcome repressed emotions and feelings.

Holistic therapy

It is a therapy form that focuses on an addiction patient’s overall wellbeing. Besides your overall well-being, it also treats physical withdrawal symptoms. Some examples of this therapy are yoga, meditation, art therapy, and acupuncture.

Marriage or Family Therapy

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s likely your family is also affected. An important aspect of what to expect from alcohol rehab is family counselling.

During family counselling, your family members, who may be aggrieved with your behaviours, can air their grievances. Besides airing grievances, they also get to know how they may have contributed to your addiction with their actions or inactions.

This kind of therapy can become an emotional rollercoaster but tends to serve a good purpose in the end. It is also key to your healing, recovery, and sustained growth after alcohol addiction rehab. Your family members or spouse will learn how best to support you going forward. You will also have strength, knowing you have your loved ones solidly behind you.

Planning for Post-Recovery Treatment

One important part of what to expect from alcohol rehab is that it prepares you for life after treatment. It does this by educating you about things you should note as you return to a normal life after treatment.

This part of rehab is important because transiting from rehab to your everyday life can be topsy turvy. However, if you already know what to expect ahead of time, it becomes easier to navigate.

During post-recovery sessions, you’ll learn the community resources and groups where you can find support. Besides support, these groups serve as motivation and offer some sort of coping mechanism to help you avoid relapse after addiction recovery.

You should join support groups after your alcohol addiction treatment. These groups are important because they help you stay on the recovery path. In these groups, you will meet individuals who have experiences similar to yours. These shared experiences and other people’s success stories after addiction recovery help you stay sober,

Alcohol addiction recovery support groups include:

  • 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous
  • SMART Recovery
  • Al-Anon

Besides these support groups, you should also partake in follow-up therapy and counselling. Go for medical evaluations, take up new healthy hobbies that boost your wellbeing and keep you away from the bottle.

Tips to Ensure a Successful Rehab Program

Knowing what to expect from alcohol rehab is good. What is even better is having a successful rehab. The rehab center plays a role in helping you achieve recovery, but you have a bigger part to play.

Here are some things you can do to make your alcohol rehab effective:

Stay focused on little goals

Don’t overwhelm yourself with huge goals during your recovery process. Instead, start with the small goals you can achieve and gradually move up to bigger goals. These small goals help you stay focused on the bigger goals and encourage you on your journey.

Have a supportive network

While in an alcohol addiction rehab center, you will develop new relationships. These relationships can be with other patients, your therapist, counsellors, and other medical staff. These new friends will become your support network during and after rehab. You can get insights, resources, and tools from them, which keep you on the recovery path.

Your family and close friends are also part of your support network. They are always there for you when you need someone to speak to about troubling situations. While building a supportive network, keep away from relationships that will lead you back into alcohol addiction.

Hold on to something that motivates you

During rehab, what to expect at an alcohol treatment center is not complete without discussing feelings of tiredness and wanting to give up. It is good to have a motivating factor to hold on to at such times.

It can be a picture of your family, a lifelong memory, or your vow to yourself. Whatever it is, it should encourage you to stay on your path to sobriety and achieve your goals.

Don’t think it will be an easy ride

A bumpy ride is a part of what to expect from alcohol rehab. Hence, you will encounter setbacks during your journey. When this happens, don’t become moody and look to give up. Instead, pick yourself up and remember what your end goal is.

Take part in all alcohol addiction rehab activities

During rehab, you should partake in the rehab center’s activities. These activities will help you attain sobriety and a healthy lifestyle. You’ll also continue with the things you learn in rehab after your treatment. If you don’t take part in these activities, you risk relapsing soon after treatment, which is not good enough.

Continue with treatment after rehab

After your alcohol addiction rehab, don’t think your battle with addiction is over. You should continue your treatment by joining support groups, going for counselling sessions and therapies.

These activities will keep you sober and prevent relapse or alcohol triggers. You should also make new friends that help you stay sober and do away with those who lead you into alcoholism.

How Do I Choose a Good Rehab Program?

A good rehab program is key to a successful recovery. If you enrol in a rehab center that does not do a thorough job with its treatment techniques, you may find yourself going back to your old ways sooner than later. Though you have a bigger role to play in your journey to sobriety, the right kind of addiction treatment center will make things easier.

Here are some things to consider before choosing a rehab center:

  • Does it have a license?
  • Does it have trained and professional staff?
  • Does it offer counselling and medical services?
  • Does it offer aftercare services?
  • What will it do to prevent a relapse?
  • Is it affordable?
  • Does it accept my insurance coverage?
  • Does it have good reviews and success stories?

If the rehab center you are considering answers these questions satisfactorily, then you should go for it. However, if you feel it is not good enough, you should seek better options. If you have little confidence in a facility, you may not take your treatment seriously. This defeats the purpose of alcohol rehab treatment.

Related Article: How to Choose Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab


Alcohol recovery is not as complicated as mainstream media makes it seem. As long as you choose the best rehab centre, they have the experience and expertise to make it easier for you. More importantly, the results — sobriety — are well worth it.

Here at 1000 Islands Rehab Centre, our specialists will develop a treatment plan for you based on your exact needs. Contact us today to learn more about our alcohol rehab programs.

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