Decades of genetic and social research have finally led the legal system to see alcoholism for what it is: a disease. This, in conjunction with the high alcoholic recidivism rate in America's penal system, has prompted a new respect for alcohol rehab as the logical alternative to prison.

Drunk drivers have killed more people than all of America's wars combined. Safety from such offenders has lasted only as long as the alcoholic remains incarcerated. As soon as their sentence is up, they are likely to offend again. Why? Because they are sick. They suffer from a chronic, progressive disease the primary symptom of which is denial. If left untreated, the alcoholic will simply continue to make excuses for his or her behavior, whether in a prison cell, a bar or their own backyard.

Freddie C., a native Ohioan and veteran of Columbia rehab there, elaborates: "I kept getting drunk driving arrests. First, I lost my license for ninety days, then I lost it for a year, then I lost it for ten. I spent a total of three years in jail, but each time I got out, I just rode the bus or drove without the license. Meanwhile, I kept drinking. That was until IJIP."

Freddie was a product of a federally funded "In Jail Intervention Program." It was the result of a simple question his booking officer asked when he was arrested his third, and last time. "Do you want some help with your alcoholism? Because it's clear that's what you are: alcoholic," the officer said.

Freddie said yes and found himself on a jail unit devoted to treatment. He and twenty-two other young men were required to participate in alcohol awareness classes supplemented by group sessions and 12-step AA meetings brought into the facility by volunteers. Counselors monitored his progress and helped him learn that a rigorous commitment to the truth was not only what the legal system required, it was essential for his recovery and having a life worth living. When he was released, he was required to attend AA meetings on the outside, his attendance verified by his probation officer and his progress monitored by IJIP counselors. That was in 2001. His progress since is typical of those who work the 12-stps of AA with due diligence. He is now married, gainfully employed and the proud father of a five year old boy.

Whether it's Columbia rehab, rehab Vermont or Philadelphia rehab centers that do the work, treatment is not only more effective than incarceration, it is essential for a society that wishes to make productive members of those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism.

Twelve Palms Recovery Center, experts in private, compassionate alcohol rehab, focus their efforts on the individual. They also emphasize the importance of the 12-step model by not only encouraging AA attendance, but hosting AA meetings, as well. For additional information call 866-331-6779 any time, 24 hours a day.

Author's Bio: 

Mark R. Merrill is a veteran of twenty-three years in alcohol recovery. He has worked as a volunteer in Multnomah County and Washington County, Oregon "In Jail Intervention Programs," as well as written extensively on the issue of alcohol and drug recovery.

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