24 March 2017

When Alcohol Rehab Could Not Work the First Time

At 49 years of age, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne, once an England legend, has once again checked himself into alcohol rehab to ‘get free of his demons’. He has been battling his addiction to alcohol for nearly two decades, and this latest attempt at sobriety comes after cancelling a public appearance to speak about his life at a function in Cheshire because he ‘was not in a fit and healthy manner to take the stage’.

The former midfielder’s enduring struggle with alcohol has been fought in the public eye, and at this point leaves family members feeling that his latest stint in rehab is the last chance to save his life. His daughter, Bianca, recently told a Celebrity Big Brother housemate, “He needs to be put in a rehab for a long time.”

But Paul is no stranger to rehab. He’s done stints in several rehabilitation centres in both the UK and the US, but none have seemed to cure him of his alcohol addiction. Following a 2013 stay at a treatment facility in Phoenix, Arizona, Paul admitted he thought he was going to die while in treatment.

His latest attempt to rid himself of his alcohol addiction come just a few months after he was kicked down a flight of stairs in a London hotel after his drunken and disorderly behaviour landed him in a row with another guest. The tumble down the stairs left him with a fractured skull.

Gascoigne’s drunken antics are nothing new to the public. Having been arrested many times over the last 20 years for alcohol- and drug-related incidents, one of his most recent and spectacular occurring last year.  Gazza was jailed following a drunken indecent exposure after the dressing gown he’d worn on a trip to purchase alcohol accidently flapped open as he tumbled out of a cab.

Why Doesn’t Rehab Always Work?

Paul Gascoigne is not alone in his failed sobriety following several iterations in alcohol rehab treatment centres. The sad reality is that for some people, rehab does not work the first time around or the third. And there are several reasons for that beyond the obvious grip that alcohol holds on the alcoholic. Here are just a few:

  1. The wrong kind of alcohol rehab or treatment programme

Addiction rehabilitation is not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. To achieve maximum effectiveness, treatment programmes must be customised to the needs of the individual.

  1. Non-committal mindset

Achieving sobriety can be challenging for even the most committed person. But for an alcoholic who is not truly ready and committed to change, telling people what they want to hear for the sole purpose of programme completion renders rehab ineffective.

3. Too many attempts at rehab

When an alcoholic completes the rehab process several times, he or she learns to work the system. They know in advance the answers their addiction counsellors want to hear and give those answers readily at the appropriate times. Also, after completing a treatment programme, an alcoholic may develop a know-it-all attitude and refuse to take in new advice.

  1. False motives

Sometimes, alcoholics agree to enter rehab just to stop the nagging of a loved one or satisfy a court-directed order to attend. Because the sole motivation is to simply get their stay in rehab over with rather than a genuine desire to achieve sobriety, they are not going to absorb all the coping mechanisms deeply enough to use outside rehab. Once they have met their rehab attendance requirements, alcoholics with this attitude tend to revert to old habits shortly after their treatment programme has ended.

5. Social Influence

If a recovering alcoholic returns to the same social circles and frequents the same pubs, he or she is quite likely to fall back into the familiar and comfortable habits of alcoholism. For actual change to occur, the alcoholic must avoid any temptation that may cause him or her to once again partake of their former drinking habits.

6. False sense of security

Many alcoholics relapse because they reach a point when they believe their addiction is no longer an issue. After being sober for a fair amount of time, many alcoholics begin to think social drinking will not develop back into an abusive relationship with alcohol. A recovering alcoholic is still an alcoholic and is, therefore, vulnerable to falling back into their dependency.

How are failed attempts at sobriety still successes?

Even if alcohol rehab does not work the first time or subsequent times, it does not mean that it will not work eventually. As long as the alcoholic was sober for most of the rehab process, it is safe to assume that he or she picked up a few bits of knowledge that will eventually help them in some way when ready to commit to sobriety.

Call today if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction and require assistance to overcome dependence. UKAT has a wealth of resources available to assist alcoholics in achieving sobriety.


Reference Links:

  1. (The Express) Paul Gascoigne cancels talk about his life after being not in a ‘fit and healthy manner’
  2. (The Express) Paul Gascoigne returns to rehab ‘in an effort to get free of his demons’
  3. (The Daily Mail) New fears for Paul Gascoigne as he exposes himself in the street on a trip to buy alcohol wearing only his dressing gown

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*Please contact your chosen centre for availability

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