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Alcoholism Treatment Programs: Breaking the Stigma One Alcoholic at a Time

By April 24, 2019 August 1st, 2019 No Comments
Alcoholism Treatment Programs are helping alcoholics get their lives back.

Alcoholism treatment programs are proving that alcoholics can gain control over their addiction. Despite the stigma that makes many people hide their alcoholism rather than confront it, there is hope for recovery! Recovering alcoholics often build successful careers and families!

Amy’s True Story of Alcoholism

Amy had her first real drink when she was ten years old as her new stepdad handed her a cold beer with a lime. One beer was plenty for a 45-pound girl. She reveled in the layer of padding that the alcohol seemed to put between her and the real world. The constant sense of danger that had been beaten into her as a child wasn’t as imminent when she drank.

Soon she was smuggling booze into school to sip between classes. By high school, drinking every weekend seemed as normal as ordering pizza, yet she still managed to earn a college scholarship. It was in college that Amy began to realize that she abused alcohol to avoid acknowledging her core belief that she was damaged and hopeless. Due to her heavy drinking, Amy lost her scholarship and dropped out of college. The next five years brought several panic attacks, constant headaches, and chronic pain all over her body that was self-medicated with more alcohol, pain pills, and speed pills.

The “Wake-Up” Moment

Finally, after beginning to use meth, Amy had her “wake up” moment. It was like a light suddenly sparked inside of her and she decided that her alcoholism and drug abuse couldn’t continue any longer. That was the day that Amy walked into her first recovery program and she has never looked back!

Amy has since been sober for several years. She finished college, is happily married and became a mother, and even won an Emmy Award. As usual, quitting alcohol and drugs was uncomfortable, but Amy weathered the life changes. Just like Amy, people who struggle with addiction will have to reach a breaking point in which they become ready to face their demons. Whenever someone reaches that breaking point, it’s recommended to seek professional help from an alcoholism treatment program. Unfortunately, not everyone who wants help even seeks it; and the reason why might be surprising.

The Stigma Surrounding Alcoholism is Real, Even for Addicts Who Want to Change

Looking back, Amy commented about how most people would look at alcoholism (and her situation) and wonder “how could they sink so low?” What these well-meaning people don’t understand is that sometimes addiction and alcoholism feel like a step up from someplace worse.1

Without realizing it, many people who have been fortunate enough to avoid alcoholism or addiction create a stigma around alcoholism. The stigma is an underlying assumption that people who struggle with addiction are not in control, have weak moral compasses, or are simply not as capable of making good decisions in life. The worst part is when people make the wrong assumption that alcoholics are a lost cause. The reality is that many alcoholics face dark memories, overwhelming stress, or mental health issues that would make it hard not to drink without professional help.

There is Always Hope for Recovery Through Alcoholism Treatment Programs

Many alcoholics recover and become very successful! There could be several sober alcoholics in your life, but you might never know who they are. People who currently or used to struggle with alcoholism often fear that exposing their struggle might bring judgment from others. This could inadvertently hinder their career or reduce their social status.2

Alcoholism is a common, nonclinical descriptor for Alcohol Use Disorder.3 It indicates a pattern of problems managing alcohol consumption and its effects.4 Alcoholism is more common than you might think. About 30% of adults in the U.S. misuse alcohol at some point in their lives and the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder is only going up.5 However severe the problem may seem, most alcoholics can benefit from an alcoholism treatment program. Unfortunately, less than 10% of them ever receive any treatment.6

Although there are a few different barriers, stigma is one of the leading barriers to substance abuse treatment. Almost 20% of people who need treatment for alcohol or drug addiction never even seek help because they fear negative judgment from their neighbors or community. In addition, many people don’t seek treatment for fear of a negative reaction from their boss at work.

Our society is increasingly accepting of people who cling to new or nonconventional beliefs, activities, or lifestyles that make them happy. However, it is surprising how much the stigma surrounding alcoholism still prevents people from seeking treatment. Alcoholism treatment programs can help patients feel free from their addictions and become much happier. In fact, many former alcoholics go on to lead very successful and fulfilling lives! You can help break the stigma by empowering people who admit that they have a problem and want help.

When someone’s life seems broken, empower them. Don’t shame them!

An Alcoholism Treatment Program Provides the Best Chance for Long-Term Recovery

The tricky thing that some well-meaning people don’t understand about alcoholism is that it cannot simply be overcome through moral willpower. Safe detox and long-term recovery usually require professional help through an alcoholism treatment program. That’s because alcoholism is considered a brain disease. It causes changes in your brain that make it extremely difficult to quit. Trying to “tough it out” on your own can be like trying to cure appendicitis with cheerful thoughts. It’s not enough.7

Some of the more critical benefits of an effective alcoholism treatment program include medical assessments, individualized treatment plans, and medication management that eases the pain of withdrawal.8 Schick Shadel Hospital provides these services along with personalized attention for nutritional repair, development of a personalized relapse prevention plan, and ongoing support groups. While some alcoholism treatment programs can take months to complete, we provide an effective treatment program in just 10 days! We have successfully treated over 80,000 patients using aversion therapy, which removes the craving for alcohol.

The best part about Schick Shadel Hospital that should give hope for alcoholics is our patients’ success rate. An independent study conducted by the University of Washington found that 69% of our patients are still sober 12 months after treatment.9 Not only is this the best success rate in the country, but it proves that people can get the help that they need without leaving their family and jobs for months at a time. Alcoholics can be restored to a healthy and happy lifestyle that demerits the stigma which others judged them by!

If you are unsure whether or not you would benefit from an alcoholism treatment program, use this brief Alcoholism Self-Assessment to see if you may be a problem drinker. CLICK HERE.


Help us raise awareness and eliminate the stigma that surrounds alcoholism treatment.

You could help empower someone who’s life is broken right now!

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1 Anderson, A. (2017). My True Story of Alcoholism, Addiction and the Choice to Live. SUCCESS. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

2 Anonymity and the Stigma of Being Alcoholic. (2019). Psychology Today. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

3 Stages of Alcoholism: Signs of Early, Chronic & End. (2019). American Addiction Centers. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

4 Alcohol use disorder – Symptoms and causes. (2019). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

5 Science, L. (2015). Alcohol Disorders: Nearly 1 in 3 Adults Are Problem Drinkers. Live Science. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

6 Alcohol Use Disorder | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). (2019). Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

7 Cold, F., Health, E., Disease, H., Disease, L., Management, P., & Conditions, S. et al. (2019). Treatment of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. WebMD. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

8 What Makes Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs Effective?. (2019). Verywell Mind. Retrieved 17 April 2019, from

9 Elkins, R., Richards, T., Nielsen, R., Repass, R., Stahlbrandt, H., & Hoffman, H. (2017). The Neurobiological Mechanism of Chemical Aversion (Emetic) Therapy for Alcohol Use Disorder: An fMRI Study. Frontiers In Behavioral Neuroscience, 11. doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00182.

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