Recovery from Alcohol: Do You Need Rehab?

As a leading provider of alcohol recovery programmes in the UK, we field many questions from people trying to understand the recovery process. One of the more common questions is whether rehab is truly necessary or not. People want to know whether they can recover just by going through a weeklong detox programme.

We would be lying if we told you that it is impossible to fully recover through detox exclusively. There are people who do it. Nevertheless, make a full and quick recovery without rehab is not the rule; it is most definitely the exception. Although we can’t quantify it, most of the clients we help would never be able to fully recover without a comprehensive rehab programme and qualified aftercare – well, they’re here for a reason, and that’s usually after many attempts to change without help.

To help you understand the issue, let us first define detox and rehab:

  • Detox – Detox is designed for one purpose: to break the physical dependence your body has on alcohol. This can be done quickly or gradually and, when appropriate, with the use of certain medications that will ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Detox only deals with physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Rehab – Addiction is more than just a physical problem. It is also a comlex problem involving mental and emotional issues that cannot be dealt with through detox. Our rehabilitative therapies are what we use to address these issues in order to avoid future relapse.

It is our position that a detox-only recovery is rarely appropriate for long-term alcoholics. It is also probably not appropriate for someone who has already tried detox in the past yet still failed. Both types of clients need comprehensive rehab programmes that will help them at every level.

What Rehab Looks Like

We have found that people are more receptive to rehab at Sanctuary Lodge if they understand what they’re in for when they arrive.

Sanctuary Lodge approaches drug and alcohol addiction with the goal of treating the client, treating the reasons for their addiction and giving them the tools to remain sober on discharge. That means the first step in the process is usually detox. Until a person detoxes, he or she will be physically unable to overcome his or her addiction no matter how much therapy they undergo – the withdrawals tend to be such a large barrier to overcome without medical intervention. The good news is that detox can usually be completed in about seven days.

After that, the client undergoes a series of psychotherapeutic treatments as part of a programme designed by our specialist clinicians and therapists. These therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), 12-step work, individual counselling, group counselling and art therapy. Usually rehab therapy can last between 4 and 12 weeks.

One of the things we do differently at Sanctuary Lodge is that we teach our clients how to live a new life; a life that might be different from anything they have ever known. We believe this type of environment is most conducive to complete recovery. As part of this philosophy, we stress the importance of regular exercise, good nutrition and rest and relaxation.

Aftercare Services

When clients leave Sanctuary Lodge, they are well prepared for a life of fulfilled recovery. However, their work isn’t finished when they leave us. Our programme includes one year of free aftercare services designed to pick up where residential rehab leaves off. The importance of aftercare cannot be underestimated. Lots of statistics show that clients who do not receive appropriate aftercare services are much more likely to relapse within a year of completing a rehab programme.

Aftercare services are comprised of individual counselling, support group participation, medical evaluations and 12-step work. With the right support system in place, client recovery is possible and quickly.