Many alcoholism rehab programs are limited to 28 days of treatment.  This short-term format requires therapy, recovery and behavior modification to be presented to the client in a streamlined format.  For people who have suffered from alcohol addiction for years or who have complete rehab in the past and relapsed, a long-term extended treatment program offers the greatest opportunity for recovery and a smooth transition back to a life of sobriety.

In short-term alcoholism rehab, the client typically spends up to 2 weeks detoxifying.  This leaves 2 weeks for emotional recovery and behavior modification before the client is discharged from the treatment program.  Many issues can remain unsolved, increasing the chances of relapse.

Long-term rehab, usually takes place in a residential environment over a period of 6 to 12 months.  This residential environment is often referred to as a therapeutic community since clients live in a communal setting.  A therapeutic community provides an increasing degree of accountability and personal freedom that allows clients to slowly transition back to life in the real world.  In 28-day programs, clients are restricted until they are released, making the return to everyday living much more difficult.

Long-term alcoholism rehab allows more time for therapy, allowing clients to explore the roots of their addiction.  There is also time in long-term rehab to try different forms of addiction treatment.  For example, if a recovering alcoholic does not respond well to group therapy, more one-on-one therapy sessions can be tried instead.

Many alcoholics have tried short-term alcoholism rehab several times, only to relapse and return to drinking.  Instead of repeating a process that has failed in the past, they should consider entering a long-term rehab program.  Immersion in a therapeutic community will help the recovering alcoholic change unhealthy habits, create a positive self image and learn how to avoid the triggers that can lead to relapse.