Alcoholism is a harsh disease, one that can be quite difficult to treat. But these days there are treatment options available—unlike hundreds of years ago when people thought alcoholics were simply possessed by the devil. The devil isn’t blamed now—instead of pointing fingers of blame, doctors are too busy working hard to figure out the best ways to help alcoholics conquer their disease.
There are two different types of alcohol treatment programs offered at drug rehabilitation centers. The first is the one most people have heard of, which is the 12-step program.
12-step programs are ones like Alcoholics Anonymous. These are outpatient rehab programs for drug treatment. Alcoholics meet up on a regular basis with other alcohol addicts. Generally only other alcoholics are allowed in these 12-step meetings. The idea behind these 12-step programs is for people addicted to alcohol to be able to spend time with and learn from other people who are addicted to alcohol. It is like group therapy, with some members of the group having already conquered the addiction, some just beginning to fight the addiction, and others somewhere in-between.
The other type of alcohol treatment program offered at drug rehabilitation centers is a residential program. This is one in which the alcoholic goes to live at the rehab treatment center for about four weeks or so (maybe longer, depending upon his situation). While there, the alcohol addict enters into social counseling treatments, including both individual and group therapy. He also completely stops drinking—this is called going through a detox. He will have withdrawal from the alcohol by going through the detox program, of course, but it will be carefully monitored by doctors and he may be given medications to help with some symptoms if possible.
The choice of which type of program belongs to the alcoholic. If the alcoholic simply cannot stand the idea of living in a treatment center, he may prefer to choose a 12-step program. Or, if the thought of sitting around with a bunch of strangers and just talking about why you drink is not appealing, maybe the residential program would be a better choice. But, the point is this—no one else should try to choose the type of alcohol treatment program for the alcohol addict. This must be his decision.
Also, it must be his decision to actually go to the alcohol treatment program. While loved ones can certainly try to suggest or encourage an alcoholic to join a 12-step program or sign up for a residential rehab treatment center, no one can force the alcoholic to go—and, no one should try.