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What is alcohol rehab like?

The fear of the unknown can be debilitating. Most people are reluctant to try something new unless they have some kind of idea of what it will be like. If you’ve ever wondered what alcohol rehab is actually like, we spoke to four recovering alcoholics to find out.

“I remember physically shaking that first day of going to rehab,” admits Doug, 46, from Macclesfield. “Partly because, for the first time in as long as I could remember, I hadn’t had a drink yet that day to settle my nerves. But it was also fear and shame that had me trembling.”

Alcoholic counselling

These initial feelings of trepidation were familiar to all of our interviewees. “On my first day of rehab, I could barely get my words out when I was welcomed to the clinic,” confides Brian, 51, from Wolverhampton. But once all four had crossed the threshold to their alcohol rehab, each found the high quality levels of care and ongoing alcohol support to be life changing.

It’s good to talk for alcohol support

“I found it was really cathartic to be around other people who were going through a similar experience with alcohol as me and weren’t going to judge me,” says Sue, 38, from Birmingham of her alcohol rehab experience. “The individual counselling sessions also became a great outlet for me to talk through issues that I’d kept private for a long time.”

Talking about our problems doesn’t come easy for all of us of course, which was the case for Brian. But his counsellors at alcohol rehab helped him to get to the heart of his issues. He says: “It became easier and easier to talk to my counsellor about my thoughts. We’d talk about my childhood – single parent family, mum was an alcoholic too. It was the first time I’d really opened up to anyone about how that time of my life had affected me.

“They taught me new ways to think about things and control my temper. In the past if I’d had a bad day at work, or someone had riled me, I’d go out and drink ten pints and start a fight. But now I was learning ways to rethink those urges and communicate my feelings better,” Brian adds.

On the flip side, Gail, 43, from Macclesfield quickly felt at ease talking about her problems. “The dining room was where I would put the world to rights with two other rehab residents, who became really close friends during our time at the centre (and since), she says.

It really helped to have them to talk to. As well as the formal group and one-to-one talking therapy sessions, which were invaluable, it was great to have that peer support and be able to talk through common experiences and discuss the finer points of our 12-step treatment programmes

Seeking help for alcoholism can be life changing

If you were still in doubt of the life-altering effect of alcohol rehab, we’ll let Gail explain what it’s meant to her.

“I love being sober and I’m even thinking about changing my career.” She says. “It all started with rehab and, looking back, it helped me to build the foundations of my recovery. We don’t have alcohol in the house these days and I’m careful about where I go to social occasions. I no longer obsess about drinking and feel comfortable and confident in my sobriety.

“For anyone considering alcohol rehab, but were worried about what to expect, I would wholeheartedly recommend trying it out. For me, it was a life changing experience that has given me lifelong friends and a healthier, more positive outlook on life,” Gail concludes.

If you’re worried about your relationship with alcohol, reach out to someone who’s been there and can help. Call our free phone line today on 08000029010 or email help@portofcall.com for specialised alcohol support or for help finding the right alcohol rehab for you.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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