People with alcoholism face very serious health risks if they attempt to get sober alone. Long-term alcohol abuse can change chemical signaling in the brain, and without alcohol, people with alcoholism can experience seizures. Medical detox teams can use medications to soothe those worries, so people can get sober without feeling ill.
That medical detox work must be followed by a formal rehab program in which people work with counselors, social workers, lifestyle coaches, and peers in order to develop a very targeted set of skills. When the rehab program is over, these people should have a good understanding of:
- How alcoholism develops
- What situations spark the need to drink
- How to avoid those situations
- How to deal with those situations if they cannot be avoided
- How to structure a life that is fulfilling, without drinking
There are many lessons to be learned here, and as a result, most programs last for weeks or even months. Then, people with alcoholism continue the work in their communities by attending support group meetings. They may also attend alumni meetings held by the treatment facility. This work might continue for the rest of life.