We explore what happens in the first 30 days of sobriety as guests take the first vital steps to recovery from alcoholism.

In our experience, if you are dependent on alcohol, it’s nearly impossible to get sober alone. The good news is that you don’t have to. The first 30 days of sobriety are often the hardest as you struggle with both physical and mental cravings for a drink – and yes, it’s that first drink that creates a craving for more. The disease of alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful!


It is common to experience a huge range of emotions once you stop drinking, including guilt, shame, regret, and hopelessness. Many people will be coming to grips with the realisation they have started to lose things that are important to them, such as their health, relationships, care of their children, jobs, and possessions.


We often talk about the Step 0 decision, which is a person’s initial willingness to get help. They usually reach this decision when they are in a hopeless state and are sick and tired of being sick and tired – it is at this point that we usually meet our guests for the first time.

What to expect from the first 30 days of sobriety

For some, their journey to sobriety begins with detox. The Retreat NZ requires guests to be three days off alcohol before they commence the 30-day programme, and for those who can’t stop on their own, we provide social detox. This is a non-medical approach to separating people from alcohol under supervision in a supportive environment. Alcohol withdrawal can be life threatening, and we don’t admit guests into our social detox programme until they’ve been assessed by a doctor.


Once separated from alcohol, we find it takes guests a few days to settle in when they first start the programme. While there are many benefits from being removed from your drinking environment to focus on recovery, it can be a shock to the system being away from your home and loved ones and in an unfamiliar place.


At The Retreat NZ, we have created an environment that is comfortable, spacious, modern, and welcoming. In the early days of recovery, guests benefit from the sense of community that comes from sharing nourishing meals around the dining room table. They also enjoy the calming effect of being surrounded by native bush, and often find solace in being able to quietly connect with nature without needing to leave the property.

Steps to recovery from alcoholism

Our comprehensive 30 day programme is immersed in the proven success of 12 step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, and shows you precisely the steps to take to achieve daily sobriety within a supportive environment of people who understand. 


With a balance of structured activities such as group sessions, workshops, guest lectures and one-on-one therapy, plus personal time to practice recovery at its core, the days at The Retreat NZ provide a stability and routine to help you develop the tools and coping skills for sobriety.


Guests also attend a recovery meeting every day and most of these are in the community, enabling them to meet fellow recovering alcoholics outside of the facility, and thus helping to cement a support network for when they re-enter the community themselves.


Our team at The Retreat NZ have overcome alcohol addiction themselves and our rolling admission means guests are all in different stages of early sobriety, with those who have been with us a week able to provide first-hand support and understanding to the person walking through the door for the first time who feels apprehensive.


Towards the end of the first 30 days (or even before) guests usually feel physically much better than when they first walked in the door, and this can often lead them to thinking they are “cured”. We know the first 30 days is just the beginning which is why we work with guests to create an exit plan to help them maintain daily sobriety once they leave us. We remind them of the benefits of the A.A. 12 Step programme and ensure they are connected with support once they leave.


We know that rehab is not a silver bullet, but we also know from our collective experience what the recipe for success looks like.

Recovery starts here. Call us on 0800 276 237 and take the first step today.