Alcohol Rehab – Learning to Live Without Alcohol


Alcohol rehabs involve more than just “drying out” and then never taking a drink again. Residential alcohol rehabilitation centers provide in-house detoxification services directed by physicians, nurses and psychiatrists who monitor the patient’s mental and physical health throughout detox. Medications are also provided to patients for relief of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. For example, Acamprosate and Naltrexone help reduce the anxiety, restlessness and cravings for alcohol during detox while anti-anxiety, antidepressants and seizure medicines are given to long-term alcoholics suffering delirium tremens, severe muscle tremors and mental illnesses.

Detox – The First Step

Detox is the first step in the recovery process from alcoholism. Doctors overseeing a patient’s alcohol detoxification will order tests to ensure the body is completely absent of alcohol. Tests may include but are not limited to;

  • Blood alcohol level (BAC)
  • Liver functioning
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Magnesium blood tests (low levels of magnesium may also indicate cirrhosis, pancreatitis, excessive insulin and conditions conducive to the onset of delirium tremens)

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine System?

Inpatient Alcohol Rehabilitation

When admitting new patients to a alcohol rehab facility, substance abuse professionals generally rely on a standardized assessment questionnaire called the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment of Alcohol (CIWA)

The CIWA is designed to provide guidelines supporting the consistent and safe management of alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Included on the evaluation are questions concerning a patient’s;

  • Rate of alcohol intake (chronic, binge, etc.)
  • How long they have been an alcoholic
  • Present and past medical history involving previous experiences with detoxification, delirium tremens, seizures or other health problems.
  • Present psychological state (hallucinations, perceptual abnormalities, level of agitation)

Patients may spend up to five or six days in alcohol detox, depending on the severity of their alcoholism. Inpatient alcohol rehab centers provide private rooms for clients participating in intense, personalized recovery programs at the facility. Once physical and mental health is returned to the patient, they will begin a rigorous treatment program comprised of psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, psychoeducation about the disease of alcoholism and holistic/experiential activities.

Inpatient alcohol detox is strongly indicated for those who have tried unsuccessfully to beat their addiction using outpatient detox programs. In-patient treatment programs remove clients from stressors (other alcoholics, neighborhood bars, dysfunctional families) that contribute to their alcoholism and strengthen their ability to focus only on defeating their alcoholism.

Outpatient Alcohol Rehabilitation

Alcohol Rehab Treatment "rehab" in watercolorOutpatient alcohol rehab may be indicated for patients experiencing Stage I or Stage II of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol abusers participating in outpatient programs visit the rehab center every day for several hours of counseling and group therapy. They are usually prescribed medication to suppress cravings for alcohol such as Antabuse, a drug that inhibits liver metabolization of alcohol. If a recovering alcoholic taking Antabuse drinks, they will experience cramping, sweating, nausea and other unpleasant side effects. Antabuse cancels the pleasurable sensations produced by alcohol intoxication and heightens the negative effects to help deter relapse.

Our List of the 10 Best Alcohol Rehab Treatment Centers

Our list is based on 20 years of experience in the drug alcohol rehab treatment industry. Each of these facilities has their own set of outstanding qualities and attributes including the level of their staff and state of the art quality of their individualized treatment programs.
These 10 treatment centers were chosen based on in-depth research, industry reputation, and speaking with some graduates. Each has an outstanding, well-rounded program. Each is unique and offers their own unique qualities and standards of excellence. Some have been in the industry for a long time, others bring a modern, fresh approach. There are other good rehab centers in the country besides these 10. We stand behind these as our “short-list”. Choices we also made based on geographic location, so they were spread throughout the country as much as possible.

Geographic Location – Reviews

The best alcohol treatment centers are shown on the map. Click on any red marker or use the drop down menu in the upper left hand corner. The detail screens will have the website address listed as well as reviews and phone number. For website, reviews and other information, click the drop down menu in the upper left corner of the map, and click on the facility’s listing.


Inspire Malibu

Rated -“Best Rehab Center in California”

Located in Malibu CA, Inspire Malibu is the premier non 12 Step, drug, alcohol and detox treatment center founded by addiction pioneer Dr. A. R. Mohammad. Inspire Malibu’s state-of-the-art treatment program combines the latest holistic, research proven, evidence-based therapies to address both alcohol and substance abuse successfully. They are also uniquely qualified to address dual diagnosis disorders, such as depression. website

Cottonwood De Tucson

Rated – “Best Drug Rehab Program in Arizona”

Located in Tucson AZ, Cottonwood is an inpatient holistic behavioral health treatment center and addiction rehab. The fact that you are here may mean that you or a loved one is suffering. If this is the case, please know you have discovered a place of understanding, healing and hope. Located on a scenic 35-acre campus in the foothills overlooking Tucson, take a few minutes to enjoy our video tours and preview our spiritual path. website

Harmony Foundation

Rated – “Best Rehab Center in Colorado”

Locate in Estes Park, CO, Harmony is one of the longest running and most successful drug and alcohol treatment centers in the world. We provide the foundation for sustained recovery from the diseases of alcohol and drug addiction. Harmony is a state-of-the-art, affordable, residential addiction treatment program confidentially nestled on a 43 acre campus in the Rocky Mountains just outside of Estes Park, Colorado. website

Valley Hope

Rated – “Best Rehab Center in Missouri”

Located in Boonville MO, Valley Hope offers residential and outpatient addiction treatment in seven states and 16 service locations in addition to our Virtual Program. They offer online therapy as part of our continuum of care to support you or your loved one on the path to recovery. The wooded, eight-acre campus features cottage-style, semi-private housing amidst beautiful rolling hills. website


Rated – “Best Rehabilitation Program in the Minnesota”

Located in Center City MN, the Hazelden foundation is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider. It is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. With a legacy that began in 1949 the Foundation offers prevention and recovery solutions across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. website

Cumberland Heights

Rated – “Best Rehab Center in Tennessee”

Located Nashville TN, Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River. The natural beauty of our 177 acre campus, state of the art facilities and decades of experience provide lasting healing to those suffering from addiction. Their mission is to transform lives, giving hope and healing to those affected by drugs and alcohol. website

Fairbanks Hospital

Rated – “Best Rehab Center in Indiana”

Located in Indianapolis IN, Fairbanks is one of the oldest independent alcohol and drug treatment centers in America. It is a nonprofit rehab center. It provides individualized care. That means they listen, then ask questions about the use of alcohol and or drugs, medical history and how using has affected life. Together, they then create a customized recovery plan. website

Willingway Hospital

Rated – “Best Rehabilitation Center in the South”

Located in Statesboro GA, Willingway focuses on saving the lives of people with alcohol and drug problems. Delivering patients and families the highest quality addiction treatment care with dignity, compassion and respect is the mission. A nationally-recognized alcohol and drug addiction treatment program, Willingway promotes a lifelong continuing recovery program so that patients may enjoy a life of sobriety and success. visit website

Father Martin Ashley

Rated – “Best Rehab Center in the Maryland”

Located in Havre de Grace MD, Father Martin Ashley uses every innovative tool available to help you overcome your alcohol or drug dependency so you can find your way back to health and happiness. Their expert staff will create a personalized program that combines clinical, medical and psychological care to address your needs holistically, including chronic pain and any co-occurring medical issues. website

Caron Foundation

Rated – “Best Drug Rehab Center in Pennsylvania”

At Caron, they understand that addiction is complex – as complex as the people and families it affects. Physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions all play a role in substance abuse disorders. That’s why Caron doesn’t just treat drug and alcohol problems, but every related issue that patients and their families face. Drug and alcohol problems are rarely isolated. website


Most inpatient alcohol rehab facilities offer 30. 60 and 90 day treatment programs, during which time the patient can leave the program voluntarily if they wish. However, research indicates that the longer a person remains in a substance abuse recovery program, whether it is an inpatient or outpatient program, the greater their chances are of avoiding relapse and maintaining their sobriety.


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About the author

Robert M. has been in recovery since 1988. He is a sponsor and loyal member of AA. He has been working in the drug and alcohol field for nearly 20 years. During that time, he has written industry blogs and articles for a variety of industry websites including Transitions, Malibu Horizons, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches and Lifeskills of Boca Raton.