If someone you love has been drinking for a long time but has finally agreed to your pleas to get help, you may be wondering what happens next. The early stages of recovery from alcohol addiction typically include detox and withdrawal before professional rehabilitation treatment.
Your loved one will probably be required to complete a programme of detox, which is where he or she will stop drinking and then wait until all traces of alcohol is eliminated from the body. Detox can be quite tough, especially for those with alcoholism. This is because alcohol affects almost every cell in the body and so quitting it can cause the body to react, sometimes severely. Some people experience many withdrawal symptoms, some of which can be quite brutal. Others are lucky and escape with just one or two minor symptoms.
After detox, your loved one will be ready to begin a programme of rehabilitation. This could be in a private residential clinic with constant access to support in an environment free from distractions. Many experts believe this is the best type of care for those recovering from the most severe addictions. However, outpatient programmes in a day care setting are also available. During rehabilitation, counsellors, therapists, doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists may work with your loved one to help him or her identify the cause of the addiction and what triggers the addictive behaviour. Treatments including cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy sessions, and one-to-one counselling may be offered. There could be an opportunity for you to take part in family therapy sessions, which will help the whole family heal.
As part of the recovery process, your loved one might be encouraged to join a mutual support fellowship programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Fellowship meetings are a great way for recovering addicts to maintain their sobriety as members will motivate and inspire each other to keep with the programme. These meetings tend to take up a lot of time in early recovery.
What Can You Expect
As the loved one of someone in recovery, you can expect changes in your life. You will be used to living with someone who is struggling with an alcohol addiction and that life, however bad, may have become what you knew. Now that your loved one is no longer drinking, things are bound to be different. This person will not be the same individual that he or she was before addiction took hold, and there is no guarantee that things will be better; at least not in the beginning.
You are going to have to learn what to expect from your loved one now that he or she is sober, and this can be akin to living with a stranger for a while. You can expect your loved one to be struggling with mood swings as he or she tries to adjust to sober living. There will be periods where he or she is up and down.
Try not to be too worried if the affected individual seems to be in a fantastic mood one day and then slumping in the depths of depression the next; this is normal. These mood swings will subside with time and you will need to be patient as the persons emotions level off.
Now that your loved one is sober and is working hard on his or her recovery, the time has come to start examining your relationship. Nonetheless, remember to give your loved one the time he or she needs to cement recovery. You can then begin to work on getting your relationship back on track. It will take time before you can learn to trust the person again but if you are prepared to be patient and offer support, you may find that your relationship grows and develops into something better than before.