Benefits of Quitting Drinking
It isn’t easy to quit drinking, but it is imperative to find motivation if you want to take such a drastic step in your life. If you are used to drinking on a daily basis and have been for many years, it’s going to take a lot of determination and willingness to stop. Even though the journey may be difficult in the beginning, it will be well worth it. Just a few benefits of quitting drinking include:
- Saving money because you won’t be spending all of your cash at the liquor store
- Living a healthier and more balanced lifestyle
- Putting an end to hurting your loved ones and sacrificing your relationships
- Keeping yourself out of trouble with the law
- Developing better decision-making abilities and coping skills
- Getting better sleep
- Being more successful and productive a work
- Spending more quality time with your loved ones
- Improving your mental health
- Boosting your immunity
- Reducing your risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Improving memory and thinking
- Reducing your risk of accident and accidental injury
The truth is that quitting alcohol will change your life entirely. You may find new passions that you enjoy, rekindle old relationships, and welcome new people into your life who are supportive of healthy living.
Why Is It So Hard To Stop Drinking?
Alcohol is both mentally and physically addictive. Even though it is legal for purchase for people over the age of 21, it is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States. If you have become addicted to alcohol, you’ve likely tried to quit – maybe more than once. And, when you stopped drinking, you probably began experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms. With alcohol being your only coping mechanism, it’s likely that you succumbed to your cravings and began drinking again.
The hostile nature of alcoholism is that it places you in a vicious cycle of trying to feel better. People often start drinking to cope with difficult emotions like anxiety, stress, grief, or loss. People who become dependent on alcohol may have no other coping mechanisms. As a result, when they try to stop drinking and all of these negative emotions come flooding back, their first instinct is to reach for a drink.
It isn’t as simple as “just stopping” for many people. Instead, getting sober from alcohol requires medically-assisted detox and integrative addiction treatment.
How to Quit Drinking: The Alcohol Rehab Process
The journey from alcoholism to recovery is not fast, nor is it easy. Recovery is a life-long process for many people, but it all begins with detox and treatment. Detox helps take care of the physical symptoms of addiction while treatment addresses the underlying causes, emotions, and conditions that perpetuate addiction and put you at risk of relapse.
Although individual treatment may vary, most people who complete alcohol rehab in Massachusetts will go through a similar four-step process involving detox, inpatient, outpatient, and aftercare.
Detox is the first step in the recovery process because it involves flushing the system of drugs and alcohol. Since alcohol withdrawal can produce potentially life-threatening symptoms, it’s always a good idea to detox in a medical setting with nurses and doctors on-site. Never detox from alcohol on your own – no matter how long you’ve been drinking.
When you first stop drinking, withdrawal symptoms may set in within 6-24 hours after your last drink. These symptoms may get worse over time until your body adjusts to not having alcohol in the system. This can take up to two weeks for some heavy drinkers, and post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) can last for several months. However, your typical alcohol detox stay will last from 7-10 days.
When you first arrive at detox, you will complete a comprehensive medical and psychiatric evaluation to help the clinical team develop a custom treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Then, you may be prescribed alcohol detox medications (like benzodiazepines, blood-pressure medications, or beta-blockers) to help prevent severe symptoms.
During detox, you will have access to therapeutic group sessions and holistic healing methods like yoga and meditation to help you relax and cope with your withdrawal symptoms. In the meantime, you will be supervised around the clock by medical professionals who will monitor your symptoms and be prepared to intervene in the event of an emergency.
Once you begin feeling better, you’ll meet with a drug and alcohol counselor to discuss your treatment options. Detox alone is not treatment nor is it sufficient to allow you to stay sober. Instead, you need a comprehensive treatment program that addresses why you drink in the first place and teaches you how to stop drinking. Usually, most patients are encouraged to attend an inpatient rehab program in Massachusetts.
Inpatient rehab programs require you to live at the treatment facility for the duration of your stay. They may last 30, 60, or 90 days and offer the highest level of care. The purpose of these programs is to remove patients from their old environment and place them in one that is healthy, sober, and therapeutic. Then, while in this environment, the patient works closely with therapists and their peers to learn how to overcome alcoholism.
Inpatient rehab programs provide 24/7 care and supervision. While staying at an inpatient rehab in Massachusetts, you will participate in a variety of different treatment therapies, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Relapse prevention
- Trauma & PTSD therapy
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Gender-specific therapy
- Family therapy
- Holistic therapies (art, music, recreation, drama, etc)
Beyond the evidence-based therapeutic interventions offered at residential treatment facilities, many also offer luxurious amenities like pools, spas, equine therapy, massage, acupuncture, and gym memberships.
After completing an inpatient rehab program, most patients transition to an outpatient rehab where they continue receiving care.
Outpatient rehab programs offer the same types of therapies and healing methods as inpatient rehabs do, however, they don’t require patients to live at the rehab facility. Instead, you can live at a sober living or in the comfort of your own home while traveling to the treatment facility during the day for therapy sessions.
Outpatient treatment may meet 2-5 days a week for a total of 10-20 hours of therapy per week. This level of care is great for people who have already completed inpatient rehab or those who cannot go to residential treatment due to work, school, family, or finances.
Since outpatient programs do not provide 24/7 care and supervision, patients must have a supportive home environment and motivation to stay sober. These programs also place a heavy focus on relapse prevention rather than underlying issues as they aim to help people stay sober after completing a higher level of care.
Outpatient alcohol treatment may last anywhere from 30 days to several months depending on your individual needs. However, after outpatient, there are still steps you should take to continue your recovery. These steps are often referred to as aftercare.
There are many different forms of aftercare available and you may choose to participate in more than one. Aftercare can refer to any type of program or fellowship you participate in that helps you stay sober and continue growing in recovery.
Popular types of aftercare include:
- Sober living homes – these are drug and alcohol-free residences for people in recovery. Here, you will live with other sober people while you navigate your new, sober life. You will have to do chores, pay your rent, take random drug tests, and be home every night for curfew. This is a great way to transition out of rehab and reinforce the skills you learned in treatment.
- Alumni programs – many alcohol rehab centers in Massachusetts have alumni programs where people who have previously completed the rehab program can gather, connect with one another, and support each other. Alumni groups may host their own recovery meetings, volunteer in the community, or attend local events together.
- Individual counseling – there is nothing wrong with continuing to talk to a mental health counselor or substance abuse counselor after leaving treatment. Counseling or therapy can help you through difficult times and allow you to stay on the right track.
- 12-Step programs – 12-Step groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), exist to help people stay sober. These groups hold meetings in various formats where members share with one another their experience, strength, and hope.
Aftercare can last as long as you allow it to or for as long as you stay sober. Any and all of these programs can be great assets in your sobriety.
Alcohol Rehab in Billerica, Massachusetts
At Elevate Recovery Center, we know just how difficult it can be to stop drinking, but we also have decades of combined experience in helping people just like you overcome alcoholism. To learn more about our treatment programs or to find help for yourself or a loved one, pick up the phone and call us today.