Currently recognized as a treatable, manageable condition, alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic, lifelong disease. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has played an integral role in countless recoveries. In fact, people who start their recovery with AA typically spend the remainder of their lives attending sober meetings and living according to the tenets of this program. However, AA isn’t always the best choice for initial addiction treatment. If you have an incredibly long history of addiction, if you’ve tried recovery and relapsed multiple times, or if you regularly pair alcohol with other substances, inpatient rehab could be the best choice for you.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Inpatient Treatment: What’s the Difference?
Alcoholics Anonymous is designed to be flexible and adaptable enough for meeting a broad range of needs. This program is perfect for people who are ready to take a self-managed approach to recovery, and who want to continue:
- Attending school
- Going to work
- Caring for minor children or other dependents during recovery
With AA programs, recovering alcoholics can attend daily, weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly meetings at their own discretion. They often work with sober sponsors or accountability partners who help keep them on track. During meetings, they have the opportunity to discuss the challenges that they’re facing, make plans for establishing sustainable, healthy lives, and discover local resources. Group meetings are an excellent time to share difficult emotions, report progress, and benefit from the input of others.
Inpatient Rehab Offers Greater Structure and Support
Inpatient programs require a full-time commitment. They allow newly recovered addicts to focus exclusively on getting well. Rather than taking time away from rehab to attend work or school, people remain on-campus throughout the duration of their treatment. Moreover, while Alcoholics Anonymous meetings occur in a group setting, inpatient treatment offers multiple options in one-on-one or private therapy including:
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)
In inpatient rehab, people can take part in group and individual counseling sessions, participate in stress management workshops and work with case managers to set goals and make long-term plans for sober living. Inpatient rehab places a strong focus on goal-setting, life-planning, and resource identification. This way, common barriers to long-term AUD recovery such as homelessness, joblessness, and financial stress are duly mitigated.
When Is Inpatient Addiction Treatment the Right Choice?
Inpatient rehab is held entirely on a secure, closed campus and typically lasts one to three months. This makes it the perfect choice for anyone with:
- Multiple risk factors for relapse
- A toxic living environment
- Enabling family members
- Co-occurring disorders
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we offer a compassionate, stress-free environment, access to multiple forms of onsite recreation, stress management services, and various therapy types. Statistically, inpatient rehab offers the greatest likelihood of long-term success.
What Inpatient Treatment Will Provide That Alcoholics Anonymous Will Not
Inpatient rehab takes a far more individualized approach to addiction treatment than the typical AA program. In AA, you aren’t likely to get an individual case manager, and the services you receive won’t be streamlined to meet your exact range of needs. Given that addiction has many possible underlying causes, it’s important to receive services that are needs-specific. People often develop alcohol use disorder or substance user disorder due to:
- Feelings of low self-worth
- Unresolved grief or guilt
- Co-occurring mental health issues
- Genetic predisposition
- Past or present trauma
At Fairwinds Treatment, we recognize the unique journey that each person in recovery is on. We offer a vast range of medical and therapeutic interventions, multiple treatment modalities, and a number of evidence-based approaches. Our inpatient program aims to address addiction right at its source. By doing so, we’re able to build a stable foundation for long-term success.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
If you suffer from:
- Bipolar disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
or any other undiagnosed, untreated mental health issue, your addiction treatment must include dual diagnosis services. With our dual diagnosis program, our patients are able to receive treatment for both AUD and any other secondary mental health issues that they have. When co-occurring disorders occur with proper management, people in recovery experience fewer temptations to self-treat their pain in unhealthy ways.
Medically Assisted Detox
When you take part in inpatient rehab at Fairwinds Treatment Center, you can start your care with medically assisted detox. Our medically assisted treatment (MAT), helps minimize and mitigate the incredibly uncomfortable symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. With constant monitoring and individualized support, alcohol detox is both easier and safer on our campus. In fact, in some instances, it can also be significantly shorter. When the initial symptoms of alcohol withdrawal are treated early on, even many heavy alcohol users are able to avoid the development of severe withdrawal symptoms, including delirium tremens. Best of all, once completing your on-campus detox, you can seamlessly transition into our inpatient rehab so that there are absolutely no gaps in your care.
Treatment Modalities, Belief Systems, and the Accepted Definition of Alcohol Addiction
Nearly all addiction treatment programs accept alcohol use disorder as a chronic mental health issue. Alcoholics Anonymous, however, places a greater emphasis on self-responsibility and encourages participants to acknowledge a higher power. In AA, you’ll focus less on the mental health aspect of addiction and will instead leverage a 12-step approach to reclaiming your life through conscious, strategic, and actionable decisions. Although AA uses dramatically different treatment modalities than many rehab centers, it has enjoyed a consistently high success rate throughout the years. As such, the basic tenets of the AA program can often be found in inpatient treatment facilities.
Affordability for Alcoholics Anonymous and Inpatient Treatment
Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are no longer legally able to penalize applicants for having AUD as a known, pre-existing condition when applying for health coverage. They are also legally required to cover all or a portion of the related treatment costs. Thus, if you choose to attend an inpatient program, your out-of-pocket costs could be minimal. To cover any inpatient treatment costs that aren’t taken care of by a private pay health insurance plan, you can also:
- Establish an affordable payment plan
- Pay with cash, credit card, debit card, or a combination of these
- Take advantage of scholarships from charitable organizations
Ultimately, attending AA meetings is by far the cheapest option with no membership dues or fees. However, there are no case managers, individualized treatment plans, or other special services. Alcoholics Anonymous takes a largely self-managed approach to recovery.
Checklist for Determining Which Option Is Right for You
Alcoholics Anonymous is an excellent support tool for those who have already completed inpatient or intensive outpatient addiction treatment and without relapsing. Unfortunately, it is rarely an effective standalone treatment for those who are just getting started. Consider your options in inpatient rehab if:
- You have a fairly long history of alcohol abuse
- You have a family history of alcohol addiction/AUD
- You’ve experienced recent or past trauma that has contributed to your addiction
- You have or suspect you have a co-occurring disorder
- You’ve never completed a structured addiction program before
- You’ve relapsed multiple times in the past
Get the Help You Need With the Program That’s Right for You
Getting some treatment for AUD is always better than getting none at all. However, to ensure that you’re getting the best possible start to your recovery, it’s important to find a program that’s capable of meeting your full range of needs. To find out more about our inpatient rehab or to speak with one of our admissions counselors, get in touch with us today!