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The Best Techniques Used In Overcoming Alcoholism

Lisa Taylor
Lisa TaylorAddiction Counsellor

Throughout the UK, there are dozens of private addiction recovery clinics helping people overcome alcoholism. There are also private counsellors, alcohol support groups, and charities doing what they can to provide effective services. And, of course, the NHS does offer a limited range of services as well. As an independent provider of treatment referrals, it is our job to know what each one offers at any given time.

Our clients often struggle to figure out what kinds of treatments they should be taking advantage of. To make their decisions easier, we walk them through each of the treatment options in their local areas. We provide information about treatment style, location, cost, residential status, and so on. Our hope is that we can help alcoholics and their families make a positive decision for recovery by giving them as many treatment options as we can.

So, what kind of treatment techniques are used to help people beat alcoholism? There are too many to list all of them here. But we can tell you that the recovery community no longer abides by the one-size-fits-all approach to alcoholism recovery. We have learned through research and experience that different people take different paths to recovery.

Detox and Counselling

Overcoming alcoholism generally starts with detox and counselling. There is good reason for this. Detox is necessary to separate the alcoholic from his or her alcohol, thereby allowing his/her body to cleanse itself and re-adapt to normal functioning. Without detox, it is not possible to cure alcoholism.

Counselling generally follows detox as a means of doing for the mind what detox has done for the body. The mind has to be cleansed, in a sense, in order for it to return to normal functioning as well. The difference with counselling is that it can take on many forms, including one-on-one sessions and group counselling.

Three of the best counselling techniques used in alcoholism treatment are:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – The most effective form of counselling for most alcoholics is CBT. This is a goal-oriented therapy which establishes a set of goals the patient will work through from session to session. Its highly structured nature allows CBT to be completed in 12 to 15 sessions.
  • Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a kind of counselling therapy that combines the talking and goals of CBT with meditation therapy. This therapy is ideal for the recovering alcoholic who has trouble relaxing and getting his or her mind into the moment in order to achieve the goals of CBT.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy – Psychodynamic therapy is a counselling methodology rather than a specific programme. It is a methodology that utilises conversations between therapist and patient to look at past life experiences and how these influence current thoughts. The idea is to help the patient identify what may have triggered the alcoholic behaviour so that it can be avoided in the future.

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Numerous other counselling therapies may be used on a case-by-case basis. The thing to understand is that no single counselling therapy works for everyone. Some people looking to overcome alcoholism do fine with just one form of counselling while others may need multiple therapies. Only a trained therapist can evaluate what each patient needs.

Techniques Used after Formal Treatment

Overcoming alcoholism has only just begun with the completion of detox and counselling. Indeed, the chances of relapse for the average alcoholic in recovery are greatest in that first year following a formal treatment programme. It is imperative that those in recovery continue receiving therapy and other services to get them past the one-year mark. Some may even continue into the second or third year if they deem it necessary.

Just like the counselling of rehab, there are different techniques service providers use during the aftercare phase of treatment. One of the most used is the classic 12-step programme originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous in the late 1930s. The 12-step programme encourages participants to come to terms with who they were, who they are now, and who they want to be in the future – free from alcohol. It normally includes a spiritual component, but that is not absolutely necessary.

Other techniques one might experience during aftercare include:

  • Health and Wellness Therapies – It is believed by many that teaching recovering alcoholics to adopt a generally healthy lifestyle strengthens the resolve to avoid relapse. Therefore, health and wellness therapies that involve daily exercise and proper nutrition are common. For example, support groups may offer help through a volunteer nutritionist along with structured exercise programmes.
  • Art and Music Therapies – Some people overcoming alcoholism respond very well to art and music. The creative arts give them an outlet for their thoughts and emotions so as to reduce stress and better deal with future temptations to drink.
  • Equine Therapy – Where some recovering alcoholics respond very well to art and music, there are others who are greatly helped by interacting with animals. For example, equine therapy is emerging as one of the latest ways to help people overcoming alcoholism. Allowing them to invest themselves in caring for and training horses, they are able to get beyond the former life to embrace something new.

Finding what works for you may boil down to a process of trial and error. The point is this: there are a lot of effective techniques for overcoming alcoholism. It is simply a matter of understanding the severity of the problem and the kinds of therapies and treatments you will respond to best. We can assist you in that endeavour.

We are an independent advice and referral service specialising in alcoholism recovery. We utilise a standard evaluation and assessment method, used by professionals all over the UK, to help our clients figure out if a serious drinking problem exists. If it does, we have all the information clients need about treatment at the ready. We can help you by referring you to a treatment provider of your choice.

Overcoming alcoholism is certainly a challenging thing to do. But it is not an impossible thing to do. If you or someone you love is suffering from a drinking problem, now is the time to do something about it. Contact us right away to speak with one of our trained and compassionate counsellors.

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