Attending a private residential rehab for alcohol addiction provides people with the support and tools they need to make a successful start in recovery, so what are the barriers to people going to rehab?

Many people have misconceptions about alcohol recovery programmes. Some think rehab is reserved for the rich and famous. Others see it used as the punchline for jokes on celebrity gossip shows about stars battling alcoholism. But anyone struggling with alcohol can benefit from treatment.


Whether you’re considering entering rehab for the first time, or you’ve tried it unsuccessfully, The Retreat NZ understands that reaching out for help can be scary and overwhelming. Over the past ten years, we have helped thousands of people to take the first steps in overcoming alcoholism.


So, don’t let the following common myths about alcohol recovery and going to rehab stop you making a decision that could change – or even save – your life.


  1. You have to hit rock bottom first

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma and misconception around what it means to be an alcoholic. You don’t have to be homeless, jobless, or disowned from your family – alcoholics look like you, me and everyone else.

Janet Thompson, CEO at The Retreat NZ says it is important that people recognise that alcoholism is not a moral failing or a sign of weakness.

“It is a health condition that must be managed to avoid long term negative health and social consequences, or even death … We need to change society’s attitudes to alcoholics – at The Retreat NZ, we treat people with the empathy and care that you would someone who was suffering from any other long term chronic health condition,” she says.

For some, treatment is a last resort, but even those with happy and successful lives have had huge success from it. An alcoholic who is still drinking is on a destructive path to worse outcomes. The earlier you seek support, the better chance you have of a quicker and easier recovery journey toward a better future. Don’t wait until you lose everything.


  1. Treatment means going ‘cold turkey’

 In cases of severe alcoholism, a detox may be required to help wean you off alcohol safely. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can include tremors, cravings, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and sweating. Once you’ve been assessed by a doctor, the team at The Retreat NZ are trained to help you with a social detox and can support you through the detoxification process and administer medications if required.  

It is always better to undergo an alcohol detox at a trained facility rather than attempting a home detox on your own. Withdrawal symptoms, if left untreated or not treated correctly, can be dangerous or even deadly.


  1. I don’t deserve it

 Guilt and shame are common symptoms of alcoholism. Because we understand that alcoholism is a disease and not a personal failure, we believe our guests are sick people trying to get well, not bad people trying to get good. Anyone can and deserves to recover from alcoholism, like any other chronic and treatable illness. All our guests are treated with respect and empathy by highly trained, knowledgeable staff.


  1. Drinking helps me deal with my problems

 Many alcoholics drink to self-medicate mental health issues like depression, anxiety or PTSD and many drink to relieve stress. However, drinking can worsen mental health conditions over time, creating a downward spiral.

We know behind all alcoholism lies a deeper issue. Rather than cover up a wound, we work alongside you to discover its cause. We also know that this can be lengthy and tiresome sometimes.

The Retreat’s 30 Day Programme includes 1:1 counseling and group therapies which help break unhealthy patterns of behavior, and we work with you to develop healthier coping mechanisms for your new life in recovery.


  1. I’m too busy

While The Retreat NZ does ask you to prioritise your recovery programme while you’re with us, we don’t ask you to put your whole life on hold. All of us have responsibilities and we share tools for how to live ‘life on life’s terms’, sober.

Unlike many treatment facilities, you still have access to your phone and laptop outside core class hours of 8am-3pm. This enables you to keep on top of daily life outside of the facility, making your return to it less overwhelming. There’s also visiting hours for family and friends at weekends so you can still see your loved ones.


  1. It didn’t work before, it won’t now

Many people find lasting sobriety after a series of failed attempts to sort their drinking out “once and for all”. Relapses and setbacks are common and some people even complete a rehab programme and then, for whatever reason drink again.

It’s important to recognise that a relapse isn’t defeat and the best thing you can do after a relapse is reach out for help to stop drinking.

The Retreat NZ builds relapse prevention into your short and long term treatment plan, providing you with tools to avoid triggers, cope with cravings, establish a support network and aftercare resources to help prepare you for a life without alcohol.


  1. I can do it alone

 The desire to stop drinking is the most important factor in the success of any alcohol recovery programme, but that alone is not enough. In our experience recovery is easier when you have a strong support network, including staff who have been there and like-minded individuals who are right there with you. This is what we offer at The Retreat NZ.

The 12 Step principles that form the foundation of our programmes are proven to be successful, however we know that for some people the idea of having to attend A.A. meetings and adopt spiritual principles can be off-putting. A lot of people ask questions like, ‘Does the A.A. programme work?’ and ‘What are the benefits of the A.A. programme?’ We are there every step of the way as our guests navigate their way through the early stages of sober living.


“To anyone who is having a problem with alcohol, or who is watching someone they care about struggle, there is a way to get through this. You might feel lonely and isolated and even hopeless, but you don’t have to do this alone. In fact, it is one thing that you can’t do alone and it’s OK to ask for help,” says Janet.

We’d be happy to help you get your life back. Contact us today on 0800 276 237.