MAKING THE TOUGH DECISION
When an alcoholic tells his or her family that they are really going to try this time, or they promise to stop drinking they usually mean everything they say. The problem is not saying it or meaning it; the problem is doing it.
The problems in carrying out those promises are both physical and mental. Physically it can be dangerous in many instances to stop drinking without a medical alcohol detox and in almost every case there are extremely unpleasant side-effects during the withdrawal process.
Almost everyone who has been close to an alcoholic has seen the futility of them trying to reduce their drinking gradually over a period of time. There may not be the same physical problems associated with the sudden withdrawal of alcohol but the mental torment of an alcoholic trying to reduce the times they drink or the amounts they drink almost inevitably, in our experience, lead right back to the point they reached when they first made their promise.
A medical alcohol detox can deal with most of the physical side effects of withdrawal and, of course, that can be administered at home but there is really no substitute for it to be given by professionals in dedicated surroundings. The moods and feelings that are exposed during the detox need to be dealt with in every way just as carefully as the medication itself; this is what a treatment centre can provide.
The detox is just the beginning of the journey and after it is completed the important therapeutic work to allow the individual to stay stopped begins. The quality of the staff delivering that therapy is important, as is the centre itself and the way the programme is structured. What must never be underestimated though is the power of peer support that can only be found in an alcohol rehab centre where the individual is within the group of people throughout the day battling the same demons as him or her.
Those feelings of shame or guilt; feelings of failure; lack of self-esteem or feeling that they are unique in their problem can be looked at differently once the individual realises that everybody around them has the same, or similar, problems. Rehabilitation enables that individual to see that it is their problem that is bad and not them as a person.