Many people don’t know what to expect from an Alcohol and Drug Rehab. The fear of it can keep people from going. Change is difficult especially for the addict or alcoholic. Life may not be working, but it is what we know. We can not imagine a life without alcohol or drugs.
When you first go to a rehab, you will be put in detox. Detox simply means getting the drugs or alcohol out of your body in a safe way. Alcoholics are watched more closely because it is actually dangerous to stop drinking without medical supervision. There are 4 stages an alcoholic can go through. The first stage is the shakes as the alcohol starts to withdraw from your body. The second stage can be seizures. The third stage is hallucinations. The fourth and most dangerous step is delirium tremens or DT’s. This can occur between 48-72 hours after you quit drinking. It usually starts with severe confusion. People are awake but they are very confused and unable to put a cohesive thought together. This is usually followed by agitation, delusions, sweating, rapid heart rate and high blood pressure. You will be given medications to help with these things. You will be closely monitored by the doctors and staff at the rehab. A small percentage of alcoholics will die even with medications. The good news is that this dangerous fourth step only happens to about 5% of alcoholics. I drank every day for years and I suffered no physical withdrawal from quitting drinking. It is a case by case basis.
Withdrawing from drugs is not usually dangerous. It can be rough. It is pretty much like the worse flu you could ever have. Most rehabs will help with some of these symptoms. They usually will give Advil or Motrin for the aches and pains and anti-diarrhea medications. It is not easy. It will last a few days and then you will start to feel better.
As hard as all this sounds, I believe the worst part is the mental part. As you go through withdrawal, you will be aware that it will go away as soon as you take the drug or the drink. Everything in you will be screaming I want to get out of here. This won’t help me. It will be a constant fight to stay. If you do stay, one day you will wake up and you will be thinking more clearly. You will see a glimmer of hope. Detox is only the beginning. Most of us need more than 3-5 days in a rehab. A continuing program is paramount. You need sober time, education, counseling and mostly contact with other addicts on a day to day basis. Addiction is a disease of isolation. Isolation is the addict and alcoholics downfall every time. Don’t Isolate!! This is where the excuses start. I can’t do a continuing program. I have to work or I have kids. AA says that whatever you put before sobriety, you will lose.
As hard as it is, you must believe that you are worth saving. Thanks for letting me share. Keep coming!