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How Does Outpatient Treatment in Idaho for Alcohol Abuse Work?

“I found the prospect daunting, but somehow comforting, too, because the counselors insisted it could be done, and, after all, many of them were recovering alcoholics themselves.” ~ Craig Ferguson, American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot For an alcoholic in Idaho, the time between their initial admission that they were they had a drinking problem and needed help and the beginning of an alcohol addiction rehabilitation program can be terrifying and confusing. Terrifying, because the notion of a life without their old friend and confidant alcohol can be almost unthinkable. The individual may have been coping with alcohol for so long that they no longer even know who they are when they are sober. Confusing, because they don’t know just what to expect from their alcohol treatment program. They are most definitely looking forward to being told what to do by anyone not even, even by an empathetic therapist who only has the best of intentions. For a person new to recovery, the #1 question is– “WHAT HAPPENS NOW?”

Intake Interview and Physical/Psychological Assessment

When you are beginning a journey of recovery from an addiction to alcohol, it is important to know your starting point. That way, you can work together with the rehabilitation staff to effectively map out your best path from active alcoholism to sobriety. This map – your treatment plan – will be individually created for you and tailored to your specific situation. The intake/assessment portion of the alcohol rehabilitation process can typically be broken down into four distinct phases:

  • initial drug test – During this first phase, you will be given a complete run of tests to determine what drugs are in your system. This gives the facility’s staff an accurate snapshot of what probable challenges lay ahead.
  • medical exam –alcohol abuse can destroy a person’s body and ruin that person’s health, and alcohol withdrawal can be physically demanding and unpleasant– in some cases, it can even become life-threatening.

Because of this, qualified medical personnel will give you a thorough exam to determine your current health status. If there are any other physical issues that could endanger your health during alcohol recovery, those can be identified and dealt with properly and promptly.

  • psychological interview –Addiction and mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are closely linked and often run concurrently. Idaho’s top outpatient alcohol rehab programs will use the services of a licensed psychologist or medical psychiatrist to conduct an in-depth face-to-face interview and complete a client history, in order to form a proper diagnosis.
  • personalized treatment plan – armed with all of the information gained from the drug test, the medical exam, and the psychological interview, the facility staff can now confidently and competently create an individualized treatment that is specific to you and your needs.

Medically-Supervised Alcohol Detoxification

If you want a mind that is clear enough to be receptive to recovery’s message, you must first be physically free from the overwhelming desire to drink. Alcohol “detoxification” is the time period necessary for your body to rid itself of any remaining alcohol in your system. The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can begin as early as just three hours after the last drink was taken. These symptoms can be severe, even dangerous, including Delirium Tremens and potentially-fatal seizures. Because of this, your detoxification from alcohol and any associated withdrawal symptoms should always be supervised by trained medical professionals. It is worth noting that because of the potential risks, your alcohol detox will almost definitely NOT take place at the outpatient facility.

Outpatient Therapy

Regular therapy sessions are perhaps the most important facet of an outpatient alcohol rehabilitation program. At the beginning of the rehab process, you will typically need to attend counseling, therapy, or education sessions at the alcohol rehab facility several times a week, to identify and treat any psychological issues that may have been a causal factor of or were caused by your alcoholism. These therapy sessions can take many forms –

  • individual
  • group
  • family/marital
  • 12-step/peer support
  • cognitive behavioral

These sessions may be very wide-ranging and can be tightly structured, and conducted by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, or they can be quite informal, loosely monitored by addiction counselor holding certification by the State of Idaho. Since the disease of alcoholism can have many contributory factors and since it manifests in myriad ways, there is no single treatment strategy that will work for ALL of the people ALL of the time. The best approach is a comprehensive, multi-level plan that takes into account the diverse physical, mental, spiritual, practical, and biological difficulties faced by individuals recovering from alcoholism. Because of this need for a multi-level treatment approach, the top outpatient alcohol rehabilitation facilities in Idaho will also offer holistic, non-traditional treatment programs to complement the standard therapy, counseling, and educational sessions. Some of these treatment methods might include:

  • acupuncture & yoga
  • journaling, affirmations, and meditation
  • exercise/fitness therapy
  • nutritional counseling
  • pet or equine therapy


Most alcoholics don’t know WHY they drink. They have in all probability been told over and over through the years that they were morally deficient or weak, and that if they just “used enough willpower”, they would be able to stop. When they discover more about the disease concept of alcoholism and realize that it is not a moral failing on their part, it strengthens their resolve and increases their motivation to recover. When they discover–frequently for the first time – about the environmental and genetic factors that were instrumental in their developing the disease – they can begin to let go of any guilt or shame. Once the alcoholic in recovery has unburdened himself of any psychic millstones, they can then learn how to properly arrest the progress of their disease, as well as learn how to manage any symptoms. With proper management of the disease of alcoholism, they can quickly return to a serene, sane, and sober life. Some of the things a person might discover from outpatient alcohol rehabilitation are how to:

  • deal with “triggers”
  • uncover their own best personal motivations to abstain from alcohol
  • create and utilize a positive support network
  • identify/avoid the people, places, and things that played a role in their drinking
  • more fully comprehend the biological and environmental factors contributing to alcoholism
  • recover from the physical, mental, and chemical effects that alcohol had on their body and brain
  • develop practical strategies that will help them quit drinking
  • work with 12-step programs and other applicable support groups
  • release self-defeating, negative perceptions of self
  • budget “me-time” so they can meditate, pray, and contemplate

Case Management

Alcoholism can make many areas of life unmanageable and dysfunctional. There may be financial problems, employment difficulties, or even legal consequences with the criminal justice system. The best outpatient alcohol rehabilitation programs in Idaho will be able to assist with rebuilding a productive life by connecting the recovering alcoholic with various local agencies, services, and resources.

  • When there are legal problems, the case manager can communicate directly with the Court to detail any progress and participation in an individual service plan.
  • If there are employment difficulties, the case manager will have information about vocational programs for which the alcoholic may apply.
  • If there are housing or financial obstacles, the case manager will be able to facilitate a connection with appropriate local agencies that can help the recovering alcoholics get back on their feet.

Rebuilding a positive, productive, and sober life can seem daunting. Because they can help you manage the details, the services of a good case manager can be extremely valuable to a successful recovery.


There are times that the recovering alcoholic will have needs that the outpatient alcohol rehabilitation facility cannot meet. When this happens, the facility’s staff will empower and encourage the recovering alcoholic to seek other professionals’ services. When a person is healthier and in a more positive frame of mind that they were when they initially started treatment, their recovery can actually be strengthened when they discover they are capable and confident enough to responsibly handle issues that arise by finding the help they need on their own.

Follow-Up Care

When the outpatient alcohol rehabilitation program is completed, the graduating alcoholic is encouraged to continue to utilize other resources such as 12-step support groups and psychological counseling on their own. Because recovery from alcoholism requires a one-day-at-a-time lifelong commitment, there will come times when the recovering alcoholic faces unforeseen difficulties in their life, or, as time goes by they may need a “refresher” course in all the things they learned during their rehab program. Top-level alcohol rehab facilities in Idaho all have “alumni” programs designed to help past graduates of their programs whenever life has gotten overwhelming and a “tune-up” is needed.

The Biggest Benefits of Outpatient Alcohol Rehabilitation in Idaho

Recovering from alcohol addiction will take effort, patience, and time, but when a person is able to work their program on an outpatient basis, their life is disrupted to a far less degree than if they had entered as a residential client in an inpatient facility. Because they attend treatment on an outpatient basis, they can–

  • continue to work at their normal job
  • attend regular classes if they are in college
  • go to counseling and therapy sessions around their schedule
  • live in their own home
  • spend time with loved ones, gaining invaluable support and encouragement

Outpatient alcohol rehabilitation is also a viable option for those individuals who can’t afford prohibitively-expensive inpatient residential treatment, which can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. The best Idaho treatment facilities accept all major insurance plans, which means that out-of-pocket expense can be minimal. Although the prospect of entering any kind of alcohol rehab program can be frightening, knowing exactly what to expect can go a long way in alleviating any fears. If you or anyone you love needs professional help for their addiction to alcohol, you owe it to yourself and everyone in your family to contact a local Idaho alcohol treatment facility today.