Dear Jeff and Debra,
My husband went to treatment, but he started drinking again after he got home. He was only there nine days, but it didn’t seem to help at all. What can we do? I’m so frustrated!
We feel your pain. Families are always shocked when they learn how little time a person gets in a residential treatment program. After waging a long battle to get their loved one to accept help, they expect the person will be away and in treatment for at least a month. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
What your husband received is more properly called detoxification and stabilization, rather than treatment. Once a person has been medically stabilized, has received basic education, and has received a continuing care plan, they are discharged. The next phase is typically an IOP (intensive outpatient program), meeting at 3 to 5 times per week for 6 weeks. Not many patients comply.
When resources allow it, we recommend 30 to 90 days of residential treatment. The “gold standard” used for airline pilots and physicians who need treatment is 90 days—and that’s just the start.
Your husband’s focus has to be on Twelve Step meetings and outpatient services. Right now, the goal should be to consult with his doctor, keep it simple, and start over. The old prescription of “90 meetings in 90 days” is a good place to begin. He’s had a bad fall, but it’s time to get up and try again. There are many recovering alcoholics in our community who’ll be happy to help him.
This post was also published in the Grosse Pointe News