Addiction Rehab – From Detox to Recovery

Free detox and free addiction rehab is hard to come by

One of the questions that we often get asked at The Haynes Clinic is “why can’t I get immediate free help in the community?”  This is down to the lack of available funds for local drug and alcohol teams and the increase in the amount of people trying to access help.  Hospitals are very reluctant to use up bed space for anyone wanting a detox and will generally hydrate the person and discharge them within 24 hours. Due to legislation your GP will not usually offer a home detox for alcohol as there is a danger that, due to the level of medication they can prescribe, there is a high risk that withdrawal symptoms will lead the person to drink alcohol along with the detox medication. This can be dangerous.

sadness to joy

With any addiction there is a window of opportunity when the person recognises the extent of the problem and wants to seek help. Generally if they can not access any form of treatment, it could be a further 6 months or more of misery before they look to seek help again. 

Immediate help for addiction treatment

Dependant on bed availability, there is only one source of immediate help and that is a residential addiction rehab centre or a detox clinic.  The cost of residential addiction treatment varies hugely throughout the UK, and it is recommended to check out the website for any clinic that might be being considered and confirm what they are offering on a daily basis and for what price. There does not need to be a referral from the person’s own GP and all notes of the admission and during treatment will be kept at the rehab clinic and not shared with anyone else unless requested.

Drug and alcohol detox

On the agreed date of admission, the individual being admitted will come under the care of the doctor attached to that addiction rehab centre. They will be medically assessed by the doctor and then, if appropriate, their medicated detox will commence. For an alcohol detox there is a reducing medication regime of 7 – 10 days, for a heroin/methadone detox it is a similar time period and for a benzodiazepine detox it can be up to 6 weeks (sometimes longer if excessive long term use).  There is no detox medication for certain drugs such as, for example, Cocaine but as taking the drug usually goes hand in hand with alcohol and only stays in the body for 5 days, then the medication for the alcohol detox will help with any psychological withdrawal symptoms from stopping use of Cocaine. Once the detox has commenced it is important that the individual is frequently observed and that they are monitored on how they are managing the medication and that there are no adverse side effects.

Twelve Step Drug and Alcohol Rehab Clinics

The recommended residential addiction treatment period is for 28 days although, if finances dictate, then some people will be admitted for 14 days. 99% of all residential addiction clinics or addiction treatment rehabs in the UK have their treatment based on the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 Step Programme.  This programme had its beginnings almost 88 years ago and due to its incredible ongoing success has had its modality adopted by other support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous.  One of the most frequent things that people say against the Alcoholics Anonymous programme is that they feel it is religious.  It is not, though it is true that the wording has not been changed in those 88 years. One of the things that is so important about being in addiction treatment is that you gain an understanding of a simple treatment programme that works and what the wording actually means. It has often been said that “the 12 Step programme is a simple programme for overcomplicated people”!

An organised daily timetable is critical as it starts to bring structure back into a life that was previously dictated by the daily using of the drug of choice. The majority of the day should consist of group therapy and reading out to others any completed written assignments around a life history or an understanding of the first Steps and educational lectures. All groups are facilitated by a qualified therapist, and it is not uncommon for any therapist to be in Recovery and have experienced being in residential addiction treatment themselves. They should act as a hope and inspiration to anyone that it is possible to live a positive and happy life that is not controlled by an active addiction.

Therapy can be interspersed with yoga, swimming, supervised shopping and even going to the gym, if not on detox medication.  These activities will also be different at each clinic, but part of the addiction treatment process will be to have a break from our addictive thinking and behaviour in a safe environment and to also engage with the start of getting on a bridge to “normal’ living with others. 

Addiction Rehab involving families

It is important that family members and loved ones are not excluded as they have been severely affected by the actions of someone close with an addiction and the staff need to try and help them with, for example, an understanding of what to expect when someone is discharged from treatment back to the home environment. This may involve spending a short time with the family, on a Saturday, out of the clinic in re-establishing a relationship.

The importance of 12 Step Support Groups

During time in treatment, there will be the attendance at external support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.  This helps to get acquainted with the groups’ structure and format but, by attending with others that are also in treatment, it makes it less daunting. Also, individual experiences can then be processed within the group environment, with a therapist, the following day. Everyone will be encouraged to attend a number of weekly 12 Step support groups when they have left treatment and there are also groups for family members called Al Anon.  All local meetings can be found by going on to the respective websites and entering your postcode. 

Planning for discharge from addiction treatment

Before anyone is discharged from rehab treatment, they should complete a Recovery Plan which is a structured set of things that they should and should not do in order to remain well and remain in Recovery. No one should be discharged without a very clear structure that they should understand and follow.

The importance of Aftercare

At The Haynes Clinic we have one full day a week set aside for Aftercare. This is critical to ongoing Recovery and attendance is free for as long as clients feel they want to attend and for anyone who has completed 28 days residential addiction treatment. For those not able to get to the clinic then we have Zoom aftercare meetings.  The reason that Aftercare is so critical is that it is a forum where we can openly and honestly discuss any problems that we might have and get help with them from therapists who know us in a non-judgemental manner.  Generally speaking, if we choose the deluded path of “will power” and “I can do this on my own” we will struggle and usually relapse.  It is finding the humility to keep asking for help from others that is the key. 

In all the years we have never met anyone that has enjoyed a relapse and Recovery really is within reach – we just need to work at it.