What Do Addiction Rehab Centres Offer?

What Do Addiction Rehab Centres Offer?

Is mixing alcoholics and people with different drug addictions a problem?

Anyone being admitted into a residential rehab or detox clinic specialising with the treatment of addictions will generally find that the group of people they are joining who are all seeking help will usually have a dependency or addiction to many different substances. This could include alcohol, cocaine, heroin, benzodiazepines, ketamine etc. Alternatively they might be in treatment for a behavioural addiction such as gambling addiction, or an eating disorder.   It is very rare for a residential group to be admitted and for all the individuals to have the same addiction or dependency on the same substance. 

What do alcoholics and other addicts have in common?

Lack of structure in our lives

So how does it work if everyone is different – what is the common thread that helps them get well whatever they are addicted to? There are in fact many things that all addicts (including alcoholics) have in common. When our addictive thinking and behaviour is active we lack any daily structure. The only important thing is our addiction be it having a supply of alcohol or drugs, continuing on a spiralling downward gambling path or how we eat food. We will all have low self esteem. Therefore, going into a residential addiction treatment centre, the initial thing to change is that we will be introduced back to a day of structure. This will be within a safe environment, with professional therapists and staff who understand where our addiction has taken us. This will lead us to start to have a feeling of safety and trust.

Inability to stop our addiction in our home environment

Secondly, it is all but impossible to break the addictive cycle within the home environment and, for those needing a medicated detoxification from alcohol or drugs, it is the only available option if someone wants immediate help. They can generally be admitted within a 24/48 hour period from their initial enquiry.

Many elements of our life falling apart 

Another point of commonality for all addicts is that, whatever anyone’s addiction is, it will have affected all life areas including health, relationships with family and friends, social, work and financial. These common threads will become clear during group therapy.

Lack of self worth, depression and mood swings

As our addictive behaviour progresses then so too do our mood swings. We will experience depressive episodes and negative thoughts about our seeming inability to stop our addictive behaviour and go back to how we used to be.  At The Haynes Clinic we have noticed an increase in GPs’ prescribing anti-depressant medication when the depression actually stems from the consumption of alcohol, the inability to stop gambling or from using illegal drugs. This is what is really having the negative effect on people’s lives and no amount of anti depressants is going to fix it if the root cause of the problem is not addressed. 

Prescribing anti-depressant medication is usually inappropriate for anyone with an addiction as the medication simply doesn’t work and people get more depressed thinking that what the GP had prescribed them should be making them feel better but is not.  So, whatever the addiction or dependency, a common denominator is how it has affected all of our lives. This is shared during group therapy when we are openly discussing the effects of our addiction with others in a safe non-judgemental environment. 

The 12 Step Programme

The daily therapeutic structure is key, along with an ability to engage with an understanding of the 12 Step programme.  This is because, in order to get well and remain well, we need to be willing to make ongoing changes for when we leave the safe environment of the addictions rehab unit. The conventional 28-day residential treatment period is just seen as the first step on a “bridge to normal living”. Going into addiction treatment is not the answer, it is just the start. 

In recognising the similarity of the destructive patterns of our addictions, a 12 Step programme is extremely effective as it is peer based mutual help for alcoholism, drug abuse, and other addictive and dysfunctional behaviours. This helps to overcome addiction, avoid relapse and conduct a healthy life.   The mutual help/ support process is started within an addiction  treatment centre as bonds are formed within the residential group and the support and sharing mechanism with others starts to form.

The 12 Step programme was initially developed in America in the 1930s and was associated with Alcoholics Anonymous or AA.  Since then this Recovery approach has been adopted to address other addictive problems such as drug addiction, compulsive gambling and eating disorders.  Other support groups have been formed such as CA (Cocaine Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous),  GA (Gamblers Anonymous) etc.  All have used the structure of the 12 Steps of AA, the only one word being changed being in the first Step. 

Step 1 states “ We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.”  The word alcohol is the one word changed for the respective support group.  For example for CA support groups the word alcohol is substituted with the word Cocaine and for GA support groups the word alcohol is substituted with the word gambling. 

Whilst in treatment there will be regular attendance at various 12 Step support groups that will further help with the understanding of how the groups function and work. Attendance also removes any mystery and pre conceived ideas.  It is important to realise that regular attendance at these meetings is critical to prevent a relapse back into our old addictive thinking and behaviour.  Appropriate 12 Step groups can be found near to our home address or place of work  by inputting our postcode into their website. 


Another area of critical ongoing support is Aftercare.  This is provided for anyone who has completed 28 days residential treatment. Some people may only opt for 14 days due to financial restraints or the ability to get that amount of time off work. Aftercare is the opportunity to return once a week to the clinic or rehab for free for up to 12 months and should the individual not live close by then some treatment centres such as The Haynes Clinic offer aftercare support through Zoom meetings.  

The ability to get well

An addictions rehab is the start of getting on the road to Recovery and to get a life back free from addiction. It is only the beginning and, like everything, the more effort we put in the more we will get out. It is too easy to say “I’m a bit tired tonight I’m not going to a meeting.”  Accepting the daily changes we need to make takes time but, as long as we continue to share with others and not revert to thinking we can “sort this out ourselves”, then the better chance we have of getting and staying well.  The good news is that just about any alcoholic or addict can get well if they want to, if they get the right help.