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Alcohol Rehab: A Guide To Getting Help in the UK

Alcohol Rehab - how to get the support and help you need

This article is medically reviewed by Doctor Peter McCann, MSC, MBBS. Dr McCann is a is a Psychiatry and Internal Medicine Resident at Duke University Hospital, USA. 

If you’re looking for information on alcohol rehab, you’re probably worried that someone has a problem with alcohol. Maybe it’s someone you love, or maybe you’re worried about yourself. 

Before you read any further, please remember these three things:

  1. Problems with alcohol are more common than you think
  2. Things can get better (and will if you take the right steps) 
  3. Nobody should go through this alone… 

This article aims to set out everything you need to know about alcohol rehab; your options available, what they include and how effective they are. 

If you, or someone you love, are ready to find ways to overcome destructive behaviours caused by excessive drinking, you’re in the right place. 

And if you have questions, all you need to do is pick up the phone to us, night or day. We’ve got over 30 years experience with addiction. There’s nothing we haven’t heard before. We’ve helped many, many people through this. And we’ll do everything we can to help you. 

A Guide to Alcohol Rehab

Drinking – even quite heavily – is so common that it’s often hard to tell when it’s become an issue. But alcohol addiction takes a serious toll on all aspects of your life: your health, relationships, career and finances. If you’re here because you’re experiencing any of the following problems, your concern is completely understandable – and it may be a good idea to look into getting treatment. 

How can you tell if you have a problem with drinking? Watch out for signs like this…

Drinking more than you plan to or being unable to stop once you start

Drinking more than planned

Failed attempts to cut back on drinking

Failed attempts to stop drinking

Missing work due to hangovers

Missing work due to alcohol and hangovers

Continuing to drink despite its negative outcomes in your life

Ignoring negative outcomes of drinking alcohol

Strained relationships with your partner, friends or family.

Strained relationship issues due to alcohol


If you’re the partner, friend or family member of someone who’s struggling with problem drinking, you might be worried about their safety – and you’re likely feeling its stress on your relationship. Signs of alcohol abuse to watch for include: 

Choosing to spend more time with drinking friends 

Spending more time with drinking friends

Hiding or lying about the amount or frequency of drinking 

Hiding drink and lying about drinking alcohol

Alcohol-related health complications

Health complications from drinking alcohol

Job loss

Job loss due to drinking alcohol

Legal trouble

Legal issues caused by drinking alcohol


It’s important to remember that these behaviours aren’t unique to your loved one – they’re a part of how alcoholism works. The good news is, alcohol rehab professionals understand this very well, and have a wealth of resources they can use to help you and your family safely through it. 

Life may feel out of control now, but it’s entirely possible to repair damaged relationships, restore your health and be free from the pain underlying it all – and alcohol rehab can help you get there. Castle Craig has over 30 years of experience helping people in your very position recover. We understand how addiction works, the mechanisms behind it and how to overcome it. And we offer a professional, step-by-step alcohol addiction treatment program with proven results, to help you and your loved one escape the cycles of addiction and reconnect to the joys of life. 

We can help, by:

Alcohol Rehab: How to Overcome Alcohol Addiction

The recovery journey follows a treatment plan that involves some combination of the following formats. While longer-stay inpatient treatment is ideal, other options may be more practical depending on your circumstances.  

Inpatient (Residential) Rehab

In inpatient rehab centres patients receive alcohol addiction treatment onsite, usually for a minimum of 28 days (though evidence shows longer stays improve treatment outcomes). Residential rehab offers complete removal from triggers, the structure of a full, recovery-focused daily routine and the highest level of clinical support. 

Outpatient Rehab

An outpatient rehab is a form of alcohol addiction treatment that allows you to attend an intensive schedule of therapy during the day while living at home. This is often a more convenient, cost-effective format for those who are unable to take time off of work to attend residential treatment. It also allows clients to continue receiving family support, as well as the chance to practise their recovery skills right away. 


Much like in-person therapy but in a digital setting, telehealth allows clients to attend individual and group sessions from the comfort and privacy of their own home without having to visit a rehab clinic. Delivered by experienced, accredited therapists, telehealth allows online access to the core components of face-to-face rehab programming. At Castle Craig, clients have the option of attending the PRO Pathway – a Part Residential/Online (PRO) programme that consists of three weeks of inpatient detox and treatment, followed by three weeks of online counselling. 

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA is based on the principles of the 12 Steps, a broadly applicable and widely used alcohol addiction treatment model that offers a step-by-step process for working through, and learning to manage, addiction. AA offers an extremely valuable fellowship in the form of a sober community. Clients attend meetings during inpatient treatment and continue to do so afterwards as a key component of aftercare. 

A qualified admissions counsellor can help you decide which route is best for you. Our 24-hour help-desk can provide more information about treatment options and getting started.

You can take the first step towards overcoming alcohol addiction by Contacting us now.

The Journey From Alcoholic to Recovering Alcoholic

There is no one-size-fits-all alcohol addiction treatment solution; in the recovery journey, progress is a process. That’s why it’s important to work with knowledgeable professionals who have access to a variety of recovery tools and can customise a treatment plan that makes the most sense for your unique situation.

The journey from addiction to recovery typically takes place in a sequence of stages:

Understanding the Problem

Denial is an innate characteristic of alcohol addiction, especially among high-functioning addicts. The first step to making real change is to addictive behaviour for what it is.


You’ll receive an assessment from an intake specialist to determine the severity and conditions of your alcohol addiction. This serves as the basis for your treatment plan.


Some people require medically supervised alcohol detox before they’re ready to attend a rehab clinic. This allows you to clear your body of alcohol safely and overcome the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, with the care and support of medical professionals.

Primary Treatment

You’ll attend treatment at either an inpatient or outpatient alcohol rehab, where you’ll work through a personalised therapy programme designed to create lasting life change.

Relapse Prevention

Working with your primary therapist, you’ll build a plan for long-term sobriety that includes continuing therapy, lifestyle considerations and social support. 

Continuing Care

You’ll continue the work you started in treatment and make recovery practice a part of your daily life.   

What Happens in Alcohol Rehab?

Alcohol rehab typically involves the following steps: 

1. Acknowledging a Problem With Alcohol

Acknowledging and understanding a problem with alcoholRecognising the signs of alcohol addiction can be difficult in a culture where heavy drinking is so normalised. But the truth is, even moderate drinking can pose a threat to your health. 

Those with high-functioning alcoholism may find it even harder to come to terms with their alcohol addiction, because their ability to carry out their responsibilities makes it easier to ignore the harm it’s causing. 

You may be in need of alcohol addiction treatment if you show some or more of these signs: 

  • You have intense cravings or withdrawals when you don’t drink 
  • Your family or friends have expressed concern about your drinking 
  • Your health, career, finances or relationships have been affected by drinking 
  • You spent an inordinate amount of time planning for, or recovering from, binge drinking
  • You feel jittery or anxious when you can’t drink 
  • You’re unable to stop drinking when you try 

Beginning to more clearly see the problems that lie in your relationship with alcohol is an important first step towards changing it.

2. Assessment for Alcohol Rehab

Professional assessment

When you contact an alcohol rehab clinic, your first step will be to undergo an assessment. This helps your treatment provider understand your current state, determine the best course of action and begin formulating a plan. You may be asked some basic questions over the phone, and receive more in-depth medical and psychological evaluations when you arrive for treatment. 

A robust alcohol addiction assessment, such as the one provided at Castle Craig, will cover the following: 

  • Telephone assessment: You’ll speak with an admissions consultant, who will gather a basic overview of your situation, your drinking or drug use history and help you understand your options. We’ll also answer any questions and address any special concerns you may have. 
  • When you join treatment the nursing team and onsite doctors conduct a full medical examination which includes examining your medical history and taking blood and urine samples as well as assessing vital functions such as blood pressure; 
  • A qualified psychotherapist conducts a full biopsychosocial assessment, chronological substance abuse/behaviour history and a comprehensive needs assessment – all of which takes a few hours over a couple of days. This detailed analysis helps to identify underlying mental health conditions that are exacerbating the addiction, pinpoint treatment goals and objectives to shape your personalised treatment plan;
  • A psychiatrist may also need to conduct a psychiatric assessment.

Your assessment must be performed by a qualified specialist and follow medical and psychological guidelines for determining the nature of your addiction. This information serves as the basis of your alcohol rehab treatment plan and it is important that a professional diagnosis is made.

3. Detoxing from Alcohol

Medical-led alcohol detox

Depending on your level and duration of use, alcohol can require medical supervision to safely withdraw from prior to embarking on a rehab programme. Medically supervised alcohol detox takes place at a dedicated facility, where clients are cared for round the clock by a detox-specialised nursing team. Care consists of close monitoring, soothing withdrawal symptoms and providing emotional support, and is overseen by a doctor. This stage normally takes about one week.

The goal of detox is to stabilise your condition before continuing on to the deeper therapeutic element of alcohol addiction treatment. At Castle Craig, our detox facility is onsite, meaning you’re able to become an active part of our recovery community as soon as your condition permits.

 It’s important to note that detoxing from certain substances (such as alcohol and opioids) can be dangerous and should never be attempted alone. Also remember that detox is only the first step of a rehab programme, and should be followed by treatment at an accredited alcohol rehab to support lasting sobriety.  

Detox Centres

It is possible to detox from alcohol or drugs at a local detox facility before coming to residential treatment. This may be useful if it is unsafe for you to travel to your residential clinic before detox takes place or if an emergency detox is required due to life-threatening medical conditions.

4. Primary Treatment: Residential Alcohol Rehab

Residential alcohol rehab

After detox, you’ll be ready to start primary alcohol addiction treatment. If at all possible, it’s recommended to attend a residential rehab programme to treat an alcohol addiction, as this allows for:

  • A necessary break from the environmental factors that trigger you to use
  • A broader perspective on your day-to-day life
  • More thorough immersion in your treatment program
  • Peer support, group therapy and connection to a sober community

A residential addiction treatment programme consists of a daily schedule of coursework, group therapy, individual counselling and complementary wellness therapies. Bonds formed with others in the recovery community are an essential part of the on-campus experience, as these facilitate treatment progress, serve as a model for positive relationships and create a valuable support network. Depending on the facility, your partner or family members may attend therapy with you or be involved in your treatment. 

While a residential rehab programme requires a more significant investment than outpatient or online options, addiction professionals agree that this is largely offset by its superior effectiveness and subsequent prevention of addiction-related expenses. 

Castle Craig’s treatment approach is based on the Minnesota Model: a clinically proven, abstinence-based model grounded in the 12 Steps. After your initial assessment, you’ll receive a personalised treatment plan which is then overseen by your primary therapist and carried out by a team of addiction-specialised psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and therapists. Throughout treatment, your plan will be regularly reviewed and adjusted according to your needs. 

This stage usually takes one to three months.

Alcohol Rehab Therapies

At Castle Craig, our treatment programme emphasises the whole person. Evidence-based clinical methods are supported by healthy diet, exercise and complementary wellness techniques. Therapies used in treatment may include: 

  • Individual and group addictions counselling 
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Trauma and PTSD therapy
  • Couples therapy 
  • Family therapy 
  • Experiential therapies (art, creative writing, drumming, equine-assisted)
  • Complementary wellness therapies (acupuncture, aromatherapy, mindfulness meditation, massage, hyperbaric oxygen therapy)
  • Recovery and life skills coaching 
  • Addiction education 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings 

Outpatient Alcohol Rehab

If inpatient treatment isn’t available to you, an alcohol rehab programme can also be adapted to an outpatient setting. In outpatient treatment, you’ll attend a regular schedule of individual and group therapy. Many clients choose to attend outpatient rehab as a step-down, when they’re ready to leave inpatient treatment but still need a high level of support for their sobriety.

Online Alcohol Rehab

When a detox is not necessary it is possible to begin an online alcohol treatment programme such as the one offered with Castle Telehealth. Online alcohol rehab treatment programmes are flexible, convenient and cost-effective. They are not as intensive as a fully residential programme so will not suit everyone’s needs, however, they are a great resource, particularly if you have suffered a relapse and need a non-intensive programme to get you back on track.

Can I combine residential alcohol rehab with online therapy?

Yes you can begin your detox and first stages of treatment at a residential alcohol rehab, followed by online therapy at home. This approach ‘kick-starts’ alcohol rehab and allows for a more flexible approach to follow. Castle Telehealth offers a combined approach via the PRO Pathway – two or three weeks of residential detox and therapy, followed by six weeks of online therapy. This is particularly useful for those who have dependents (children or elderly parents or sick relatives) that they must look after at home, who have a demanding job that they cannot take 4-6 weeks away from, or those who cannot travel.

It was great to have a taste of a real recovery and then be able to carry on from home – I had the tools, I had some knowledge, and I could keep on working while being both supported by Castle Craig and my family and friends. – A patient on the PRO Pathway, Castle Telehealth.

5. Relapse Prevention

Alcohol Relapse Prevention

While in alcohol rehab treatment, you work with your primary therapist to create a relapse prevention plan, which supports you in re-entering your community after you leave rehab. This includes understanding your triggers, creating a support network and learning skills for healthy coping, stress management and dealing with life’s inevitable challenges.

It’s this learning process that gives you the strength to overcome your addiction problem when you leave treatment. It gives you the strength and power which people struggling with addiction often feel they’ve lost and want to regain.

6. Continuing Care

Continuing care for alcohol recovery

Also known as ‘aftercare’, continuing care entails additional support for sobriety after you leave residential treatment. This usually includes some combination of:

  • Individual and group therapy sessions at an outpatient alcohol rehab centre
  • Telehealth (phone or video conferencing) sessions with your counsellor 
  • Continued counselling with an addiction-specialised therapist in your local area
  • AA and NA meetings 
  • Other community support groups 

For more information on alcohol detox, alcohol rehab or continuing care treatment options, call our 24-hour helpline at 0808 231 5956, or contact us online

How do I Choose the Right Treatment Option for Alcoholism

Remember, alcohol rehab admissions counsellors have a wealth of information on treatment possibilities and are equipped to help you make the right decision for your circumstances. Contact our help-desk to learn more.  

What are the Pros and Cons of Different Alcohol Treatments?

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of different treatment alcohol rehab options, and who they may best be suited for. 

Pros and Cons of Inpatient (Residential) Alcohol Rehab


Inpatient rehab offers the highest level of care available and is the option most recommended by addiction treatment professionals. Residential settings provide round-the-clock medical care and clinical support, as well as a full schedule of therapeutic activities. Care is delivered via a highly personalised, systematic plan, while complementary wellness therapies make the treatment process more comfortable. This intensive option is designed to remove you from your using environment and create space to focus entirely on your recovery.


Residential rehab is more resource-intensive than other options and requires you to take time off work or school, as well as spend time away from your family. It also requires travel to the centre, which may or may not be located near you. 

Who is inpatient (residential) alcohol rehab best for?

Inpatient rehab for alcohol addiction is best for those who:

  • Need medically supervised detox
  • Have co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Have been diagnosed as high-risk or have a history of self-harm
  • Have tried lower levels of alcohol addiction treatment unsuccessfully 
  • Find that their family life contributes to their addiction issues 
  • Need higher levels of privacy  
  • Can take one to three months away from other obligations to focus on recovery

Pros and Cons of Outpatient Alcohol Rehab 


More affordable and convenient than inpatient treatment, outpatient alcohol rehab allows you to live at home and continue receiving the support of your partner, family and friends while attending treatment. Scheduling is usually designed for working people, with counselling hours that accommodate busy schedules. Outpatient clinics are typically located in city centres, making them easily accessible by commute. Attending treatment while remaining in your home environment allows you to put your recovery skills to use immediately. 


Outpatient rehab is far less intensive than inpatient treatment, typically consisting of two to three therapy sessions per week. Care may not be as individualised or comprehensive as in residential rehab, and continuing to live at home can leave you exposed to the people, places and things that trigger you to use. If your home environment is unstable, inpatient treatment may be a better option. 

Who is outpatient alcohol rehab best for?

Outpatient alcohol rehab is best for those who:

  • Are high-functioning and able to continue meeting work, school and/or family obligations
  • Don’t need a retreat from their current living situation 
  • Have a stable and supportive home environment 
  • Can cope with stress while working through the treatment process

Pros and Cons of Online Alcohol Treatment (telehealth)


A highly convenient and flexible option, telehealth offers the opportunity to attend treatment from the comfort of your own home, anywhere in the world. It follows the same evidence-based, clinically proven treatment methods used in inpatient alcohol rehab, and is delivered by experienced, accredited therapists. Research now proves the efficacy of digitally based psychological treatment as a sound therapeutic intervention.


While this option is highly accessible, participants may find it doesn’t provide the same level of social-support benefits as face-to-face interaction within a physically present treatment community. Telehealth does not offer the benefits of the immersive, full-day programming of inpatient treatment for alcohol addiction, or establish any distance from your using environment. A medically supervised detox is not available when you are doing online therapy, unless you opt for a combined residential-online approach such as the PRO Pathway.

Who is online alcohol rehab (telehealth) best for?

Telehealth is best for those who:

  • Do not need a medically supervised detox
  • Do not have a chaotic alcohol addiction
  • Are high-functioning and comfortable staying at home during treatment
  • Have completed inpatient treatment and want to attend online therapy as a part of their continuing care
  • Are in high-risk groups or have concerns about coronavirus safety 

At Castle Craig, telehealth can be combined with a shorter stay in inpatient rehab for a hybrid programme that offers benefits of both.

Pros and Cons of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)


Alcoholics Anonymous is free and widely available, with over 118,000 chapters worldwide. AA follows the same principles as 12-Step alcohol rehab programmes, offering an opportunity to continue building on the work you completed in treatment. AA sponsorship and community support can serve as healthy counterpoints to alcohol-based friendships and strained family dynamics. Learning from others’ experiences, and sharing your own, helps break down barriers and feelings of isolation. 


While AA is a beneficial component of the recovery journey for alcohol addiction, it’s not an adequate substitute for personalised therapy. AA doesn’t provide the same level of intensiveness or individualised care found in more structured alcohol rehab programmes, and its open format means anyone can attend, regardless of how they affect the group dynamic. While most modern AA groups have adapted to be more secular, some may struggle with the emphasis on spirituality and ‘higher power’.

Who is Alcoholic Anonymous best for?

Alcoholics Anonymous is recommended to everyone recovering from alcohol addiction as a continuing part of recovery practice. People typically begin attending meetings while in primary treatment, and continue their attendance indefinitely as a way to support lifelong recovery.

If you have any questions about these treatment options, our admissions counsellors are standing by to help you make an informed decision. Contact us now. 

Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Near Me

AA operates in all local areas so that once you leave alcohol rehab you can begin to attend your local community Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings near you There are usually several meetings to choose from in cities and a weekly meeting in smaller towns. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Alcohol Rehab Treatment Take?

Because addiction is considered a lifelong, chronic illness, recovery is a lifelong practice. While inpatient alcohol rehab takes a minimum of one month, we recommend longer stays of up to 90 days, as this time-frame allows for a more supported transition to sobriety. After rehab, recovery is maintained via support groups, therapy and periods of stepped-up care as needed. 

What Happens in Alcohol Rehab?

In alcohol rehab, you’ll attend a daily schedule of individual counselling, group sessions, complementary wellness therapies and community activities. You’ll also have scheduled downtime for study and relaxation, and have access to medical care should you need it.

How Does Alcohol Rehab Work?

During alcohol rehab treatment, you’ll work through an individualised plan with the help of dedicated therapists and support staff. You’ll learn strategies for staying sober in the long-term, and form relationships with peers who will support your recovery journey for life. Many alcohol rehab clinics use the 12 Step philosophy, a clinically proven treatment approach recommended by addiction professionals worldwide. 

What is Alcohol Rehab Like?

Alcohol rehab takes place in an accepting, respectful and non-judgemental environment. Residential alcohol rehab is designed to be a retreat from daily life, where you can gain perspective, find peace of mind and focus entirely on your path to sober wellbeing. At Castle Craig our private, wooded centre in the beautiful hills of the Scottish Borders sets a calming stage for beginning your recovery journey. 

How Can Alcoholics get Into Rehab?

All it takes to start your recovery journey is willingness to make a change. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to hit rock bottom for that to happen. The first step is to talk to an admissions advisor, who will explain the treatment process and help get you started. 

In the words of our former patient Caroline, “I believe this course would benefit every one of us. If you have the opportunity to do it, take it!”

How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Cost?

The cost of alcohol rehab depends on the treatment route you choose and the level of care you receive. 

Treatment costs include the type of bedroom option e.g. private ensuite room, or shared bedroom. Costs may vary depending on whether you have private healthcare insurance, are funded by the NHS, or are paying privately. Many rehab clinics offer payment plans to help make the costs accessible. 

Call us for more detailed information about pricing and to receive a quote for your preferred treatment option. 

Considering Alcohol Rehab? The Journey to Recovery Starts Now.

If alcohol addiction is causing your life to spin out of control, it’s absolutely critical to get help as soon as possible. The consequences of alcohol abuse only escalate with time, and alcohol detox should be performed only under the safe supervision of a specialised medical professional. 

If you’re not sure what to do or where to turn, we can help. Our admissions counsellors are available seven days a week – contact us now. 

Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | July 28, 2021