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Alcohol Detox and Rehab Overseas

answered 10:51 PM EST, Wed November 30, 2011
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I have an opportunity to work overseas in the Middle East starting just before Christmas. I would be working in a fairly remote area and there would none, or almost no alcohol available. I have always been a very heavy drinker but I have been drinking very hard for the last 7 or 8 months, basically all the time. I know I need to stop and going to place without alcohol seems like a good way to go about it.

I think I need some help with the detox (I am already waking up shaking in the night) so I plan to get all my stuff together and then a couple of weeks before I leave I’ll do a rehab detox and about a week of inpatient treatment and then it will be pretty much straight from the rehab to the plane to a country without alcohol.
Does this sound like an OK plan? Is there anything obvious I am missing that will cause me problems?

Delisted Expert Says...

Let’s name this challenge so we can better discuss it: Alcohol Dependence with Tolerance and Withdrawal Risk. You are correct by indicating that using alcohol is against the dictates of Islam in the Middle East. However, if you are a Westerner and living on an American or European installation, alcohol may still be available to you. The question becomes “Are you alcohol dependent?” If so, you may be able to do ambulatory detox (outpatient) to avoid withdrawal symptoms, like “shaking at night.” Medically, this shaking is referred to delirium tremens which is significant sign of alcohol withdrawal.

First, I must admit that I do not have a clear picture whether, or not, you want to stop drinking for the benefit of a job and/or long-term recovery. If you are considering long term recovery, I would recommend that you obtain a full substance abuse assessment so a determination can be made regarding the level of treatment (outpatient, intensive outpatient, residential or inpatient treatment) which would be most helpful and appropriate for you. There is good evidence that many people who have attained sobriety have utilized Alcoholic Anonymous, Smart Recovery groups, involvement in spirituality (e.g., churches), and/engaged in cognitive behavioral therapy after detox. By searching the Internet, you can find many online resources if you Google any of all of these resources cited above.

Rapid Alcohol Detox and Rehab

With your time limitation, please be advised that many treatment centers have been very successful in rapid alcohol detox and rehab. These programs allow patients to detox themselves from alcohol under medical supervision, typically use a Librium detoxification regime, and begin their recovery in the comfort of their own home. Once an individual is detoxed from alcohol, many patients take Naltrexone or use Naltrexone implants for alcoholism treatment which proves to be a cost-effective intervention which decreases alcohol cravings and increase the chances of recovery.

One of the leading rehab facilities, the Coleman Institute does an excellent job explaining the challenges of alcohol detox and recovery (http://www.thecolemaninstitute.com/alcohol-addiction-rehab-recovery.aspx ). I am offering this resource as one of many clinics around the country which offer this service. I would caution you by stating that staying motivated to stop drinking requires strong effort, education, and support. For anyone to maintain sobriety, he or she will need some form of social/emotional support, such as AA, therapy, sponsorship, working the 12 Steps, and a supportive group of friends and family. Addiction is a disease marked by increased tolerance, continual use despite consequences, withdrawal, decrease in functioning in most major areas of life, and loss of control. Many addiction specialists consider addiction a disease of feelings. Many alcoholics and addicts manage their feelings through the use of alcohol and/or drugs and can be considered chemical coping. I recommend that you consult with another substance abuse professional who can address many of the concerns so often faced in detox and rehab.

I wish you well in your overseas work and pursuit of sobriety. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

John W. O’Neal, Ed.S, LPC, NCC

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Page last updated Nov 30, 2011

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