Call Mon-Sun:
1 (800) 301-3753
Alternative to Meds News & Blog Articles

Sedona and Flagstaff Alcohol Treatment Center

Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Diane Ridaeus

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team

Our Sedona/Flagstaff alcohol treatment center is unlike all others. Do you ever wonder why some people are alcoholics and others are not? There are biophysical motivators for alcohol use that we address to make the difference between long-lasting sobriety and the next relapse.

After medically monitored alcohol cessation our main focus will turn to strategies for long-term alcohol recovery. A number of well-documented causes of addictive biochemistry will crave alcohol. We will discuss five of these below, giving a short summary of each that can be referred to while considering or discussing your or your loved one’s treatment plans.

Did No One Give You the Real Tools to
Dismantle Your Addiction?
freedom from alcohol addiction
For nearly 2 decades now, Alternative to Meds Center has provided a fresh new approach to recovery from substance use disorders. Please take time to review our published evidence and learn about our success rate. We are different in many ways from the traditional 12-step format that may not be adequate for all to reach their recovery goals.  We have found that addressing the underlying biophysical factors can free a person from the addictive mechanisms that have never been resolved. We draw on the well-established principles of orthomolecular and environmental medicine to achieve the success that our clients experience. Coupled with options that allow for emotional healing and gaining new insights into quality of life, are blended for the individual’s best trajectory for success.
15 Years Experience by Professionals Who Understand Your Journey.
Up to 87 ½% Long-Term Success Rate.
Click to Call7 Days a Week

  • By completing this form, you will be added to our mailing list. You may opt out at any time.
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Common Reasons for Alcohol Cravings

Listed below are 5 common reasons for alcohol cravings that cannot be overlooked when seeking full recovery from craving alcohol and treating the factors involved in chronic alcohol overuse. A brief description follows each item, with important clinical references that we recommend being studied for a fuller understanding of each.

Five common reasons for alcohol cravings:
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Allergy-addiction syndrome
  • Genetic polymorphisms
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Trauma

Hypoglycemia 1,7

The first, most common (70%) cause of addictive biochemistry that will crave alcohol is hypoglycemia. Persons with hypoglycemia experience symptoms when their blood sugar drops to 70mg/dl or lower. These symptoms can include headache, confusion, dizziness, hunger, shakiness, irritability, racing heart, and anxiety. Alcohol, basically a sugar, rapidly raises blood sugar levels and will satisfy this craving nearly immediately. On a physiological level, low blood sugar represents potential death, and so the cravings associated with it can be very powerful. A person whose body is hypoglycemic often consumes sugar and simple carbohydrates when they are not actively drinking. Until correcting the hypoglycemic state, their recovery will be challenged, and their sobriety cannot easily be sustained over this condition. Correcting the diet has many benefits in recovery, not the least of which is managing blood sugar in healthy and sustainable ways.13

Allergic-Addicted 2,6

The second reason for alcohol cravings comes from the condition referred to as “allergic-addicted,” where a person lacks the enzyme to detoxify or metabolize alcohol. Very small amounts of alcohol can result in dramatic changes in mood and behavior. We could describe the condition as one of genetic disposition. The allergic reaction causes a number of chemical responses to occur, including endorphins to be released. The endorphin release drives this type of alcohol addiction and behavior. The addiction is to the endorphin release. But this condition can be significantly alleviated by building natural endorphin levels through natural means. A comprehensive treatment program must address these factors of human health as they can provide the missing tools for long-term success in substance use disorder recovery.

THIQ Genetic Polymorphism 3,9

Another genetic type of addiction to alcohol is one where the body converts alcohol to acetaldehyde, and then into THIQ, a powerful opiate compound. This production of THIQ is what the person gets addicted to. This is the person who can drink everyone else under the table and seems to get high rather than drunk. This type may also be helped by raising endorphins. Neurotransmitter rehabilitation is a specialty at Alternative to Meds Center.

Neurotoxic Anxiety 4,8

The fourth motivator for the overconsumption of alcohol is anxiety. It is quite easy to confuse the anxiety alcoholic with the hypoglycemic, as the blood sugar drop often creates anxiety. Here is how to tell the difference. In hypoglycemia, anxiety is associated with a blood sugar drop. Whereas, in the true anxiety alcoholic, the anxiety seems to always be present, like a constant roar in the background of daily life. This type has usually been poisoned by excitotoxins, such as pesticides or heavy metals that continue to overstimulate the nervous system on a chronic, daily basis, at least until the removal of these excitotoxins has been accomplished. Neurotoxin removal is one of the key pillars of our recovery program at Alternative to Meds Center. 

Trauma-based Blackout Drinking 5,10-12

Let us not overlook another common reason for drinking, regarding the blackout drinker. This person has endured tragic trauma and is attempting to escape their naturally uncomfortable feelings. A humane and effective approach to treatment would be to give the person ways to identify and release these areas of past distress and emotional pain. CBT is one form of psychotherapy, along with trauma counseling and other interventions that have proven clinically effective in overcoming the lingering and debilitating effects of trauma.

Until these underlying components are addressed, which they can be, the person is likely white-knuckling until their next relapse.

Holistic Approaches at Sedona and Flagstaff Alcohol Rehab

ATMC addresses the addictive biochemistry of alcoholism in addition to treating the emotional components. Searching for, discovering, and addressing the underlying medical, genetic, emotional, and other factors contributing to addictive biochemistry provide the most successful and important elements of the Alternative to Meds alcohol treatment program. For instance, toxins from the environment including heavy metal toxicity can destroy the body’s capacity to create the natural chemicals and hormones that regulate depression and anxiety. Cleansing the body of these damaging factors can be instrumental in releasing the person from these toxic grips of alcohol addiction.

Whatever an individual’s personal goals may be, ATMC aims to provide the tools to get you there. While we are not a 12-step-based program, we can facilitate our clients to participate in local meetings during their free time, if that is desired. Medical oversight and the highest, safest standards of withdrawal management are provided.

stopping alcohol sedona drug rehabYou will find our holistic center housed in a beautiful residence, nestled among the majestic Red Rocks of Sedona, Arizona, under year-round clear blue skies and temperate warm weather. The center provides a serene, very comfortable location to find rest and respite. Clients participate in a program rich with therapies designed specifically for each person’s health and recovery goals.

Swimming in either of the beautiful pools, local hiking, and breathtaking photography opportunities add to the many activities within close proximity to the center. Many describe the setting as retreat-like, especially when coupled with the high-level compassionate care that our staff of over 40 expert physicians and caregivers will provide during the client’s stay with us. Diet is also a key factor in true recovery. Our gourmet chef is well-versed in orthomolecular principles that support health and healing.

Alcohol is often used to cover up and find relief from emotional trauma and distress. Counseling that we offer in many genres has been extremely effective in helping to identify and release the factors which are acting as contributors to the anxiety, depression, fears, regrets, and other negatives that a person has been using alcohol to self-medicate. In the words of the program’s founder, Lyle Murphy, “When we do not have the access to meet the inner desires for our life, we often turn to the toxic mimic — drugs or alcohol — to fill that void.”

Treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal at our Sedona and Flagstaff alcohol treatment center can implement various methodologies, depending on individual circumstances. However, some of the common threads include assessment of the person’s addictive biochemistry, determining the level of treatment that is needed, and customizing an entire treatment plan for each person’s ultimate recovery. Our program offers many genres of counseling, peer support, nutritional therapies, exercise, Qi Gong, acupuncture, nebulized glutathione treatments, IV + NAD, colon hydrotherapy, yoga, equine-assisted therapy, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, customized diet, lab testing, co-occurring disorders treatment, continuous treatment, and evaluation, and a wealth of adjunctive therapies to make sure that the person is not going to relapse after leaving treatment. If a resident is in pain, it is our immediate goal to stabilize and relax this person so that maximum relief is obtained. 24/7 supervision and support are provided to meet the needs of each unique individual.

Find Out More

You are invited to call our informed and friendly admissions staff at the number on this page for more detailed information on the various treatment protocols available to our program participants. You can view our treatment options in detail on our services overview pages. We are fully licensed and accept private insurance. Call today and find out more about our approach to holistic treatment for alcohol withdrawal and recovery at Alternative to Meds Center.


1. Baird D. “Another Tragic and Unrecognized Aspect of Hypoglycemia – Its Connection to Alcoholism.” Hypoglycemia Support Foundation [online] published 2018 [cited 2022 Aug 25]

2. Melos L, “The Allergy-Addiction Syndrome” published online 2009 Jan 1 [cited 2022 Aug 25]

3. Blum K et al., “Hypothesizing Darkness Induced Alcohol Intake Linked to Dopaminergic Regulation of Brain Function.” HHS Public Access Author Manuscript 2014 Jul 7 PMID25009759[cited 2022 Aug 25]

4. Singh U, “Mechanism of Alcohol Induced Neurotoxicity.” NIH publication (Abstract) [online} 2008 [cited 2022 Aug 25]

5. Wetherill R, Fromme K, “Alcohol-induced blackouts: A review of recent clinical research with practical implications and recommendations for future studies.” Alcohol Clin Ex Res [published online 2016 Apr 8] PMID 27060868 [cited 2022 Aug 25]

6. Gonzalez-Quintela A, Vidal C, Gude F. Alcohol, IgE and allergy. Addict Biol. 2004 Sep-Dec;9(3-4):195-204. doi: 10.1080/13556210412331292235. PMID: 15511713. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

7. Tuháčková M, Urbanová J, Brunerová L, Piťhová P, Kvapil M, Brož J. Ethanol and risk of hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus: a brief overview for clinical practice. Vnitr Lek. 2019 Spring;65(4):303. English. PMID: 31091952. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

8. Mason LH, Mathews MJ, Han DY. Neuropsychiatric symptom assessments in toxic exposure. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Jun;36(2):201-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.02.001. Epub 2013 Apr 15. PMID: 23688687. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

9. Jung SJ, Hwang JH, Park EO, Lee SO, Chung YJ, Chung MJ, Lim S, Lim TJ, Ha Y, Park BH, Chae SW. Regulation of Alcohol and Acetaldehyde Metabolism by a Mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium Species in Human. Nutrients. 2021 May 30;13(6):1875. doi: 10.3390/nu13061875. PMID: 34070917; PMCID: PMC8228388. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

10. Lee H, Roh S, Kim DJ. Alcohol-induced blackout. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2009 Nov;6(11):2783-92. doi: 10.3390/ijerph6112783. Epub 2009 Nov 6. PMID: 20049223; PMCID: PMC2800062. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

11. McHugh RK, Hearon BA, Otto MW. Cognitive behavioral therapy for substance use disorders. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2010 Sep;33(3):511-25. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.012. PMID: 20599130; PMCID: PMC2897895. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

12. Simmons S, Suárez L. Substance Abuse and Trauma. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2016 Oct;25(4):723-34. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2016.05.006. Epub 2016 Aug 2. PMID: 27613348. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

13. Jeynes KD, Gibson EL. The importance of nutrition in aiding recovery from substance use disorders: A review. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 Oct 1;179:229-239. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.006. Epub 2017 Aug 4. PMID: 28806640. [cited 2022 Aug 25]

Originally Published Sep 13, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

Social Profile: LinkedIn

View Bio

Medical Disclaimer:
Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

We Accept Most PPO Insurance Plans for Partial Coverage of Fees

Call Now to Verify BlueCross BlueShield Cigna Aetna

Our Success Stories

Medication Withdrawal Success Stories

Can you imagine being free from medications, addictive drugs, and alcohol? This is our goal and we are proving it is possible every day!

Read All StoriesView All Videos