Entering An Alcohol Treatment Facility After Getting A DUI/OWIJune 19th, 2015
Entering an alcohol treatment facility after getting caught driving while under the influence (DUI) or operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) can not only mean the difference between a tough sentence and a more lenient one, it can also be the change in your life that leads to a brighter future.
Recovery Can Happen Before Hitting Rock Bottom
Seeking recovery doesn’t have to mean hitting rock bottom. In fact, a person who chooses to accept they have a problem before things spiral out of control has a far greater likelihood of achieving long-term recovery success.
About 10 years ago, a close friend of mine, whose drinking had become out of control, was arrested after driving drunk through a church parking lot at a high rate of speed. He had made many mistakes and been arrested previously while intoxicated, but it was something about this experience really affected him. He entered treatment willingly and when he was out, I asked him what about this experience changed him. He explained:
“I woke up, my car crashed into a tree, and the police were there. I had crossed into the church lot at 60 mph, slid out of control, and hit the tree. What made me feel different about this experience was when I learned that the parking lot had just been used for a gathering of several small children playing games. Had I gone through there just minutes earlier, who knows how bad it could have been.”
In this case, my friend was ready to accept he had lost control of his drinking and needed help. In other cases, a person may not feel ready to admit they are struggling, despite the arrest and the consequences of their actions. Either way, treatment can offer counseling and support to reduce future harm, set positive goals to prevent excess drinking, and help an individual achieve a full recovery.
My friend went on to get married; he went back to college and became an optometrist. While entering recovery can feel like the bottom of a pit of despair; the climb out makes people stronger, more aware, and in many cases, leads to major and positive changes in their lives.
What To Expect When Entering Alcohol Treatment
Entering an alcohol treatment program is not like going to jail. You maintain your freewill to participate in the program or not. However, participation is key in making the changes necessary to avoid future penalties and unwanted consequences.
Depending on your level of alcohol-dependence, you may require a period of detoxification. When the body becomes addicted to alcohol, or any substance, it alters basic brain function. When that drug is stopped, the brain begins to panic and the results can be some pretty uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. If after you stop drinking you begin experiencing any of the following symptoms, an alcohol detox can support you physically and emotionally through the process:
- Strong cravings for alcohol
- Agitation or irritability
- Nausea or vomiting
- Profuse sweating
These symptoms may be medically managed, when necessary, to prevent immediate relapse. Alcohol withdrawals are a serious medical issue and support from a medical professional is essential to ensure a safe transition into treatment. This process may take less than a week to 10 days depending on the severity of the physical dependence.
Detox is the first step and following detox, there is a broad range of treatment durations from short 21-day stays, outpatient care, to long-term residential care lasting a few months. Regardless, treatment usually includes a daily regimen of counseling, including group and individual sessions, along with nutritional counseling and healthy foods, exercise, and supplements to strengthen your body and help your brain recover from addiction.
During these early weeks, you’ll be educated in what alcohol addiction is, how it affects the individual and those close to them, how to recognize the signs of a problem, and ways to make progress in achieving recovery. Family and friends may also participate in programs designed to help broaden their understanding of what to expect in the coming months and ways they can be helpful to you while you’re in recovery. This is an opportunity for everyone to learn better communication skills while building an immediate support network for you as you transition out of treatment.
The transition out of treatment is a fragile time for anyone recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. In some cases, an individual may desire a transition house, also known as a halfway house, or they may attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings in addition to continued counseling outside of treatment. These meetings can help you build a strong foundation for a lasting and effective recovery.
Don’t Wait For Rock Bottom; Get Help Today
Don’t wait for something disastrous to happen before seeking help for an addiction to alcohol. AlcoholTreatment.org is your online resource for the professional support and evidence-based care you need and deserve. Contact us to speak with someone in confidence to learn more about the options available to meet your individual needs and preferences and discover a new and rewarding life in recovery.