Today we have a special guest post from Kelsey Brown, a copywriter at Nova Recovery Center. For more about Kelsey, check her full bio at the end of the article.
90-Day Alcohol Addiction Rehab
Three months. Ninety days. Twelve weeks. 2,160 hours. 129,600 minutes.
Let’s face it—90 days is a long time. There are thousands of different things you could accomplish in 90 days, but is a total life transformation one of them? And is a 90-day alcohol rehab program really necessary to overcome your drinking problem?
Alcohol addiction is a complex problem that requires nothing less than a complex solution. Although 90 days seems like a long time to solely dedicate to any one thing, there are many reasons why 90-day rehab is an effective way to achieve lifelong sobriety.
If you think you might be addicted to alcohol and you want to get help, there are dozens of different ways to get sober, but no one can tell you which method is right for you. It is, however, helpful to have accurate information about some the most effective and realistic ways to get sober, so you don’t end up frustrated, hopeless, and convinced that nothing will work for you.
So before you write off the option of 90-day rehab, I invite you to take a minute to learn a little bit more about alcohol addiction, treatment, and all that alcohol rehab actually entails. Then, maybe you’ll be able to make a decision that is both effective and right for you.
The Truth About Addiction
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) classifies addiction as a “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”1 Yes, you read that right: a disease. (We’ll come back to this later.)
As such, it’s important to realize that the problems you’re experiencing with alcohol aren’t a result of some moral failure or a lack of willpower, rather, they are a result of cognitive impairment caused by the regular abuse of alcohol. Therefore, getting sober should be a process that involves the physical, cognitive, and behavioral aspects of addiction.
It might sound cliché, but if you’re struggling with alcohol abuse, you’re really not alone. Alcohol addiction is very common in the U.S., with 15.1 million adults suffering from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and 88,000 annual deaths attributed to excessive alcohol use.3,4 Alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States and people of all ages continue to suffer from the harmful effects of alcohol abuse.4
Risk Factors for Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction can happen to anyone. Just as obesity increases the risk of developing heart problems or diabetes, there are certain risk factors for addiction too.2 Some of the most common risk factors that increase your chances of developing addiction are:
- Having a family member with an addiction problem
- Being male (research shows men are twice as likely as females to have problems with drugs)
- Having a mental illness
- Lacking parental involvement or experiencing negative parental involvement, like physical or sexual abuse
- Feeling exceptionally lonely
- Starting to abuse alcohol at a young age
- Spending lots of time with peers who abuse alcohol
If you identify with one or more of these risk factors, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become addicted or already are, but you may be more likely than others to abuse alcohol or other drugs.
Am I Addicted to Alcohol?
This is the key question you may have been asking yourself for weeks, months or even years. Unfortunately, it’s not always an easy thing to determine and a self-diagnosis may be skewed by perceptions of yourself and your surroundings. However, there are several key questions you can ask yourself to get a more true and accurate picture of your alcohol use.5
- Do I avoid family and close friends when I drink?
- Do I rely on alcohol to cope with stress, relationship problems, and other negative events in my life?
- Can I handle more alcohol now than when I first started drinking?
- Do I feel uncomfortable in my own skin if I can’t have alcohol?
- Have I ever blacked out or had memory lapses on nights when I went out drinking?
- Do I feel guilty about my drinking habits?
- Has a close friend or family member confronted me about my drinking?
- Have I tried to limit or stop my drinking but been unsuccessful?
- Have I had legal problems like DUIs or DWIs as a result of my drinking?
- Do my drinking habits make it difficult to succeed at work, school, or with my relationships?
- Do I need a little drink in the morning to calm the shakes or do I feel sick when I don’t drink for a while?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be addicted to alcohol.
Alcohol Addiction Treatment: What Works?
First and foremost, it’s not always easy to admit that you have an alcohol problem, so if you have already done that, you’re well on your way to a life of wellness and sobriety. Congratulations!
There’s nothing that says you can’t get sober on your own and many people successfully do it, but if you’ve tried several times and failed, it might be time to consider professional treatment.
There are dozens of different alcohol addiction treatment centers, do-it-yourself methods, and 12-Step groups out there that are designed to help people who are struggling with alcohol abuse. But how do you know what works and which one is right for you?
As we determined earlier, addiction is defined by chronic, relapsing behaviors. And because of this, you can’t just stop drinking alcohol for a few days and expect to stay sober for life. Effective treatment for alcohol addiction should:
- Help you stop using drugs
- Help you maintain a drug-free lifestyle
- Help you become a productive person at home, work, school, and generally, in society
You can certainly achieve all this on your own with supportive family, friends, and a strict recovery regimen for yourself, but if you decide to seek help in a treatment center setting, 90-day alcohol rehab is an excellent option.
Why 90 Days?
Studies show that most addicted individuals need at least 90 days in addiction treatment to significantly reduce or stop using drugs completely and the best outcomes generally come from more time spent in treatment.6
No one can deny the fact that 90-day alcohol rehab is a considerable investment of time and money. Despite the investment, it’s truly a very effective way to get sober and stay that way. Here’s why.
- It helps you break the cycle of dependence.
- It gives you adequate time to work through the underlying issues of your addiction.
- It provides you with a safe, supportive, and sober environment in which to clear your head and heal from trauma.
- It comes with 24/7 medical care.
- It gives you the opportunity to develop a healthier routine and improve your diet, exercise, and sleeping habits.
- It emphasizes relapse prevention by providing tools and life skills to help you cope with stress, cravings, and anxiety in recovery.
- It gives you time to adjust to living life without alcohol and adjust your mindset.
Although 90-day treatment comes with a host of benefits, it’s not for everyone. Just as the addiction experience is different for everyone, so is recovery. 90-day alcohol rehab is typically best for those who are suffering from moderate to severe alcohol addiction or who have relapsed after trying to get sober.
What to Expect in Residential Alcohol Rehab
All 90-day rehab programs will vary slightly, depending on the rehab center. Most 90-day alcohol rehab programs will offer evidence-based behavioral and medical treatment methods to address all the different aspects of your addiction. This typically includes:
- Individual and group counseling
- Family Therapy
- 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy
- Specialized therapies (Pet Therapy, Creative Arts Therapy, Music Therapy, etc.)
Once you enroll in a 90-day residential alcohol rehab program, many treatment centers will have space for you to start immediately. While in treatment, you’ll live on-site at the rehab center and you’ll be asked to follow a set of community rules and expectations. Despite popular belief, you are free to leave at any point, although leaving without completing the program is not recommended.
Each day, you’ll follow a set schedule that consists of group meetings, individual therapy, meditation, exercise, meal times, and personal time, for a well-rounded routine that helps you establish a healthy foundation in sobriety.
At a high-quality rehab center, your treatment plan will be adjusted and tailored to your individual needs. As you progress through your program, you’ll be rewarded with things like passes to leave the treatment center for the day or overnight.
Once you complete your alcohol rehab program, your counselors and recovery specialists will provide recommendations for ongoing treatment options like a sober living program, personal monitoring program, or outpatient rehab program. These treatment options (often called “aftercare”) are designed to help you reintegrate back into society and gradually assimilate into a life of sobriety.
How to Enroll in an Alcohol Rehab Program
Admitting that you need help is the first step to achieving a fulfilling life in recovery. You don’t have to let your alcohol addiction define you and you can get sober, no matter how impossible it may seem. If you’re ready to get help, conducting a quick online search is a great way to find addiction treatment centers near you. You can also ask your therapist, doctor, or school counselor (if you’re a student) for recommendations.
Most alcohol rehab centers provide online and phone enrollment options, so you don’t have to physically go to the rehab center to enroll unless you want to. You can just call or fill out a form online to get started.
Recovering from alcohol addiction is a challenging journey and it will require work, but once you are on the other side, you’ll be free to enjoy life without struggling under the weight of addiction.
READ THIS NEXT: 7 Surprising Benefits of Residential Alcohol Detox
Kelsey Brown received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Missouri State University. Since then, she has become an active member of the substance abuse treatment industry, writing articles on a variety of subjects related to substance abuse, including detox, rehab, sober living, and mental health issues geared toward individuals who are seeking treatment or are in recovery. Kelsey is currently a copywriter at Nova Recovery Center. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys outdoor activities, like hiking, camping, and kayaking.