Let’s get one thing straight: if you’re thinking about rehab or your loved ones have suggested it, then yes – your addiction is bad enough to warrant treatment.
What treatment mean differs from person to person. Some people find the 12-step programs helpful and enough to help them fight their demons, while others need the inclusivity of a rehab center.
Others still need inclusive alcoholic rehab and the 12-step program (or the like) to keep them accountable.
How do you know which option is right for you? First – identify if your addiction matches the points below.
If it does, then your next step is talking to a professional about your options, then trial and error to find the best plan for you.
What is Healthy Alcohol Usage?
Your view of alcohol, if you’re reading this page, is likely not a healthy one. Whether you were introduced to alcohol too young, witnessed your parent’s addictive ties to it, or came to use it for self-medicative purposes, it’s time to check-in.
Healthy alcohol usage is casual, not based in emotionality, and can be stopped at any time. People who have a healthy relationship with alcohol don’t think about drinking more than 2-3% of their day unless they’re currently having a drink.
They know how to respect their boundaries (one to two glasses per day is the recommendation) and can easily stop once they’ve started.
They don’t plan or attend events for the sole purpose of drinking alcohol, even if that is a theme or activity at the event. For example, they go to after-work drinks on Thursdays to hang out with their coworkers first and to have a drink, second.
If all this sounds impossible to you – that’s okay. Our culture has made it hard for people to have this healthy relationship, and those that genuinely do not abuse alcohol in any way are few and far between.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be one of them – you have to commit to relearning your relationship with alcohol. That may mean moderation or a lifelong commitment to sobriety.
You’ll find out which is right for you along the way.
Signs You Need Rehab
We noted a lot of the signs you may need alcoholic rehab in the “healthy usage” section above, but let’s make them clearer.
1. You’re Hiding Your Substance Usage from Friends and Family
If you find yourself lying to your loved ones about your drinking-related activities, whether that’s how much you drink, or where you are when you go to drink, that’s a warning sign.
People who hide their drinking feel either ashamed or guilty, which shows they know they’re drinking outside of healthy limits.
2. You’ve Tried to Quit, But You Can’t
If you’re reading this article right now, this is probably something you can identify with. Many alcoholics try or have the intention to quit on their own, but it never lasts.
Not being able to fight cravings and turning back to the bottle isn’t always a lack of willpower. Your body creates a physical dependency on alcohol, which you’ll need help to get through.
In fact, going through detox on your own, without telling anyone, could be fatal. You’ll want to find rehabs that take medicare, or whatever insurance you have, with medically assisted programs.
It’s the best way to fight the biological roadblocks to quitting.
3. You Think About Alcohol All the Time
People have over 50,000 thoughts a day. Imagine those thoughts broken down into a pie chart. What percentage of your thoughts pertain to alcohol, drinking alcohol, or planning to drink?
If it’s anything above 5%, that’s problematic. That means more than 2,500 of your thoughts are about alcohol every day.
And that example is the low end. Many alcoholics spend 25% of their daily thoughts on alcohol – or more!
If you’d like to get your brain back, so you can concentrate on things that are truly important, like work, family, hobbies, (anything that’s not alcohol), then rehab is a smart choice for you.
4. You’ve Lost Your Job or Are at Risk of Losing Your Job
Your alcoholic intake should never impact your work performance. Even people who hate their jobs don’t drink during the day or drink regularly enough to be significantly hungover at work.
Even if you’re drinking at work or showing up hungover, the part of your brain that’s thinking about alcohol can impact your performance. Work-related thoughts get pushed out to make room for thoughts about booze.
If you’re worried about taking time off to go to rehab – talk to your HR person. While employment laws differ, “I fired this person because they went to rehab to deal with an addiction”, won’t hold up well for your employer in court.
5. Family Members Have Expressed Concern
Your family loves you and wants you to be happy. If they’ve approached you about your drinking habits, it’s not because they want to stir up drama or annoy you – they’re truly worried.
It’s likely that they took time out of their lives to look up how to approach you about your alcohol usage, so they knew the right thing to say. And while these can seem like confrontations, they’re really signs that you have a recovery support system.
Show them (and yourself) that you want to make a change and find a rehab center that takes your insurance before those relationships go to waste.
If You Think It’s Time, It’s Time
Going to rehab can change your life. More than that, it can save it – not kidding. Only about 10% of the people who need rehab get treatment and there are about 88,000 alcoholism-related deaths every year.