A Patients Experience of an Alcohol Rehab Centre in London, UK

I suppose the story of my experience in a London alcoholism rehab is much the same as many of my peers.

I must admit that I was insulted when I was first told by my husband that I had a drinking problem. He had approached me in the manner that so many other people were to follow – polite, firm, and presenting specific examples. He spoke about how he had been embarrassed at a dinner party, how he had to help me up the stairs to our apartment, and even how I had been unable to go to work on a few occasions because of my hangovers.

So it was that when I was presented with the idea of going to an Alcohol Rehab in London I didn’t think I had a problem. I thought that drinking was somehow helping me “cope” and couldn’t see that every time I got drunk there were somehow more problems for me to deal with when I sobered up. Of course the only way I could find to “deal” with the problems was to drink again, which created a vicious cycle.

I rejected the idea that I was an alcoholic. After all – alcoholics are homeless, dirty people. They don’t shop at John Lewis, drive a nice car, or have a home and a job in the city. Alcoholics can’t stop drinking, but I can stop drinking for a day or two which shows I have control. Or so I thought. It was only later that I discovered that there are many different patterns to alcoholism and that my brief attempts to stop drinking were really a sign that I had a problem.

I had formed in my mind the impression that the rehab centre in London was going to be some sort of horrible mental hospital filled with psychotic patients and homeless people. I had nightmares about electro-shock therapy, frontal lobotomies, and doctors in long white coats holding clipboards and looking stern.

Thankfully nothing could be further from the truth! I was greeted warmly by a pleasant receptionist who offered me a comfortable chair in a well decorated lobby. It looked more like a health spa than a mental health hospital and so I started to relax. A member of staff came over and introduced himself as an addictions counsellor. Together we went over some forms and she explained how the programme worked.

When my husband left the treatment centre I was taken up to the nursing station where a nurse gently took some observations. After that I saw a doctor who prescribed medication to help me detoxify from the alcohol still in my system. Then they packed me off to bed.

I was very comfortable in my room. It had nice furnishings and felt a little like a hotel room. It was fully serviced so I didn’t have to worry about much at all. I collapsed into bed and fell fast asleep.

The doctor cleared me to join the full treatment programme on my second day in treatment. The group of patients in there were much like me – and nothing like my imagination had led me to believe they would be. They were friendly and spoke a lot about how their drinking had negatively affected their lives. It was largely due to this openness and candor that I gradually began to relate more and more with them and started to really see just how much drinking alcohol controlled my life.

It was only through the professional team of addictions treatment consultants, and my fellow patients in the alcohol rehab, that I now have a much better life without the presence of drinking.

I stayed in the clinic for four weeks, seeing multidisciplinary team members like addiction counsellors and psychologists who were all very helpful and kind. Nobody judged me, which was a refreshing change from the constant barrage of problems I experienced on the “outside”.

I left the clinic feeling sober, happy, and ready to face a new life. Every day is a new adventure now; I look forward to waking up in the morning! Thank you to everybody involved in my treatment at the alcohol rehab in London.