Category: Articles


Addiction in us all

drug addiction-in-us-allThere’s possibly a bit of addiction in us all

While the ‘big boys’ of addiction, opioids and alcohol grab the spotlight most of the time, the sneaky little drug called marijuana is getting its own encore of late. But as we look at the overall issue of addiction doesn’t it start to look like there is an addiction, a compulsion or a disorder for every soul that walks on this blue and green planet? Isn’t safe to suggest that there’s possibly a bit of addiction in all of us.

Shock and horror! What a broad statement. Continue reading “Addiction in us all”


The Signs of Functional Alcoholism

How to recognise the signs

functioning-alcoholicWhat is functional alcoholism? How can you tell when someone is a functional alcoholic? These are important questions that need answering however it’s not one that has a cut and paste answer. Spotting the traits of functional alcoholism is tricky and can be difficult to spot. Continue reading “The Signs of Functional Alcoholism”

Alcohol. The most deadly drug of them all.

Alcohol Abuse

alcohol abuse rehabilitation Don’t kid yourself. Alcohol, booze, the devil’s juice – whatever you call it, alcohol is a deadly drug and is the leading protagonist when it comes to death.  If you want (or need) proof as to why alcohol is the most deadly drug around, read on.

Booze in its many forms has been around for thousands of years. Almost 10 000 years to be exact. Although we are not saying it should be wiped out and banned from being drunk (it’s not a prohibition speech, promise) we are here to let you know that there are a few truths that need to be told to you about alcohol. In the end you need to be fully aware of everything before you make a choice. Knowledge is power after all. Continue reading “Alcohol. The most deadly drug of them all.”

using friend

Signs of someone using Drugs

Can you tell if your friend is using?

using friendIs my friend using drugs and how can I tell?

Can you tell if your friend is using? Many substance abusers are almost professional at their ability to hide their usage from family and close friends. Sometimes, when the tragedy of an overdose occurs, disbelief is the first reaction a family member will experience because they simply didn’t know. If not for any other reason than to equip you with knowledge, here are a bunch of signs you can look out for to find out if your friend is using and abusing a substance.

Continue reading “Signs of someone using Drugs”

recovering addict

Recovering Addict Strategies to Cope

Recovery is a family affair:  Tips and strategies to cope with a recovering addict.

recovering addictIf you talk about addiction, you will notice that the spotlight shines mostly on the treatment plan for the recovering addict. And rightfully so. An addict needs to understand and acknowledge every aspect of addiction however families of addicts are often subject to less attention when it comes to recovery.

The crisis of addiction affects loved ones, particularly the family unit, Continue reading “Recovering Addict Strategies to Cope”

gaming addiction

Gaming Addiction A Winning Addiction?

Video games: Gaming Addiction

Gaming Addiction
Ever since the early 70’s video games have captured the world’s imagination. America is considered the birth place of commercial video game activity and research paints the real origin of the world of gaming to be as early as the 50s – borne out of research needs from eager scientists who wanted to find new ways to discover and use simulations to further their work. Although the work back then on video games can be seen as primitive compared to present day technology , Continue reading “Gaming Addiction A Winning Addiction?”


Stop Smoking Give up. Quit.

Stop Smoking


The words are easy enough to say, but to actually put that last cigarettes out and break the habit is not something to scoff at. It’s hard. And not just because we say so. Did you know that 7 out of ten smokers you meet want to stop smoking but only 7% actually stop on their first attempt? Scary stats. We know. But there is a silver lining. The moment you put out that last smoke your body starts changing. And it’s an incredible change. Continue reading “Stop Smoking Give up. Quit.”

addiction triggers

Addiction Triggers – You need to know.

Addiction Triggers

Addiction triggersWhen you or someone you know is in recovery you will often hear of something called an “addiction trigger” or just a “trigger”. Most people in recovery will try their best to avoid these triggers at all costs but what are triggers and why do they matter?

Simply put, a trigger can be anything that throws back memories, thoughts, or feelings that have to do with an addiction.

 Triggers How do they work?

Well, in order to understand an addiction trigger, we should first look to understand how addiction affects the brain. Essentially it rewires the reward circuitry in the brain. You see, your brain is a wonderful thing which is programmed for survival. Have you noticed how you naturally avoid pain from things like fire and seek out things like pleasure like eating sweet, nutritious fruits? You feel positive and happy after you exercise or have a conversation with a friend because these healthy behaviours affect you in a good way, and you get a little kick of feel-good chemicals in your brain from them.

Addiction takes control of this natural reward circuitry, as drugs flood our brains with feel-good chemicals. Like a climber who spends time in the mountains over a period of time and gets used to the altitude, over time, an addict gets used to larger doses of chemical rewards, and will go to dramatic lengths to achieve that same feeling.


As an addict, we start to anticipate the big kicks of feel-good chemicals coming from our next hit, so much so that even the events and activities associated with the actual action of taking the drug can cause a change in our brain. This is where triggers come into action. Anything linked to or associated with the thoughts, feelings or memories of addiction is a trigger. It can cause your brain to act like a computer and  reboot to the broken reward circuitry, resulting in cravings for a substance be it drugs, alcohol or behaviours long after you think you may have given them up.


In the early parts of recovery, the lack of those oh-so-craved extra feel good chemicals coming from our addiction of choice causes us to feel out of sync. Our brain slows down the process of creating as many feel good chemicals because it’s been programmed (or rather rewired) to the boost from our addiction.


Why do Addiction triggers matter?

An addict can feel hopeless, a sense of despair can overcome our minds and we often feel like we are drowning in a sea of uncertainty at times, waves of depression and angst hitting our broken boat as we navigate the tempest of our addiction. There is however a lighthouse! The more we understand the fundamentals of how addiction works, the better equipped we are to be active heroes in our own recoveries. Sometimes it may feel like a relapse comes out of the blue, when in fact triggers are the reason.

The art of identifying our own triggers, (yes it can be called an art!) and learning to navigate through those triggers as a part of the recovery process, can help us avoid relapse and other tough situation. When we find ourselves craving our substance of choice, there are questions we can ask about recent events:  “how am I feeling? “  And “Did anything specific happen recently?” We could find new insight about feelings, situations and even people which lead us back towards our addiction.


Common addiction triggers:

People, Places and things:

If you went a certain bar and drank every night,  walking back into that bar while in recovery will set your brain up to anticipate a drink. The same is true for the people that we used drugs, drank, or practiced behaviours with. Also, paraphernalia, music or things associated with our previous addiction can spark that same trigger.  Often in early recovery, it is often encouraged to evaluate relationships and ensure you can avoid situations and environments.



Emotions, negative and positive can be a trigger for someone in recovery.  For many of us, our real emotions were covered with our addiction of choice and we used substances or behaviours to cover them up whenever they would come up. Unfortunately this makes emotions, a natural aspect of human life, and a trigger. You can avoid the emotions by changing certain habits and routines. For example: If you are triggered while shopping near a wine store and get anxious – go to a mall without a bottle store or order online.  Track your emotional triggers like stress, anxiety, grief and find ways to dodge them in your daily life.

Triggers may sound scary but anything we don’t understand often is. Understanding your triggers and finding healthy coping skills to manage your own emotions, instead of going back to your addiction, can be empowering! If you want to avoid the triggers associated with people and places – often avoiding them is a common and viable solution.


Some addiction triggers coping skill tips while in recovery:

Talk with your sponsor, a professional at an addiction recovery centre or family members (supportive ones only)

Take time for yourself – deep breaths, walking around the neighbourhood, meditation.

Check if you are hungry, angry, lonely, tired  HALT  these are all feelings that can not only be triggering themselves but can also make our defences lower in handling other trigger emotions or events.

For more information on dealing with substance abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
after rehab welcome

Welcoming home a loved one from Rehab

A guideline for Coming Home After Rehab

A guideline for welcoming home a loved one after rehab.

after rehab welcomeIt’s been weeks, even months and finally, the day has arrived. The one you love is coming home after spending what feels like years battling the demons of addiction. You have been there, patiently waiting and watching as their light slowly fades away, along with the penalties of addiction: Job loss, friendship breakdowns, relationship drama, financial woes.

As the addiction grew, you found yourself aging and feeling as if you spent your life attached and consumed by their addiction. The lies, the drug use, the spending, the regret. You have been on your knees, you have prayed, pleaded and screamed. You have had your heart, your trust, your love broken so many times that it has become just a number. You have become numb to all as you admit to yourself that you kept the secrets, harboured the shame and lost your way along with them. You might as well have been an addict yourself.

And then the sun broke through the stormy clouds. Your loved one sought out help after finally admitting that they have an addiction and accepting help. They went to treatment, entered rehab and learnt the skills to fight drug addiction. They are ready to stay healthy and sober. They are in recovery.

The day has dawned where your loved one is heading home to you, to be welcomed home. The mood is high, their face is full of life and the future looks bright. The words that paint this moment?  Happiness. Joy. Positivity. Calm. For them.

But what about you? How are you feeling after rehab?

You have walked this path before. And been hurt. Been burnt. You have felt the sting of betrayal far too many times and you have been hopeful before – only to be let down in a series of addiction relapses which hit you harder than any fist ever could.

But you? You’re not sure where to start. You’ve been down this road. You’ve trusted – only to have been betrayed, been hopeful – only to be let down.

So what do you do when your loved one comes home from treatment? You have an arsenal of tips and tricks which protect you and them and ensure that you go into this new phase armed, the right way. Here are the things you should be doing as they walk through the door into your arms.


Educate yourself.  Research drug and alcohol addiction. Becoming more educated on the topic of addiction will allow you to better understand what your addicted one is feeling and what he or she has gone through in active addiction and just as importantly, what to expect in early recovery after rehab.


Being honest is vital. It may be difficult and it may not always be positive. Being open and talking to one another is far better than saying nothing at all.

Make the connection.

It is important to connect with others and express yourself but when it comes to families healing from addiction, it’s more than that. It is a vital building block in the new home of the future. Search for and join  a support group geared towards families, friends or spouses of addiction where you can open up about what you’re feeling and thinking when your loved one comes home. Listen to the stories from others. You will soon come to the realisation that you can connect and relate to so many others who have been in your shoes.

Have patience.

The journey to recovery is not a one day cricket game. It is a long process Recovery is a process.  Your loved one could have spent 30 days or even 90 days in inpatient drug rehab but healing still takes time. Your loved one won’t simply rock up at your door after rehab with every solution under the sun for all their problems, and they certainly won’t have the medicine for all the wounds that they have inflicted. You are family and you need to understand that you need to exercise patience towards yourself and them.


As your loved one steps along the pathway of recovery after rehab, it is very possible that a few “friends” may disappear and drift away from them. Perhaps they used to party together and perhaps your loved one may feel overwhelmed or alone and just need you to be there. It is at this time that you need to be there, to show them the care they so desperately need.  Something as simple as taking up a new hobby or going for lunch on a Friday afternoon can be just what they, and you need.

Of course there are some things you should NOT do when your loved one comes home. Here are some of those things:

Avoid pressure.

This early part of recovery is an exciting time however it can also be stressful and even overwhelming.  The most critical times for your loved one are the months right after leaving rehab and as a result they can be quite difficult.  Move gently during this time after rehab and don’t try ask for too much. Let them find time to heal and put the concrete into the foundations of a solid recovery.

Stop thinking that you are a trigger.

Relapse happens – not just in addiction, but in many other diseases. I hate to say it, but you don’t have that much power over your loved one; nothing you do or say will be the cause of them drinking or abusing drugs again. And if they do relapse – it’s not on you. Remember that. You didn’t force him or her to use; they are the masters of their own fate, and they responsible for their own actions and recovery. Be honest about your emotions without the fear that they will relapse.

Don’t judge.

Recovery from addiction isn’t a baseball cap. One size does not fit all!  Some people take to recovery fairly easily and the process after rehab is quite smooth. Of course, there is hard work involved and a few rollercoaster rides between but they get the results with ease. Others may find the process difficult and extremely emotional and they may hit more walls than a wrecking ball. You need to practice understanding and positivity regardless of how they take to recovery and the lifelong journey which it entails.

Don’t blame yourself.

In the circles of addiction and recovery, there is a common saying which is commonly known as the  “3 C’s of Addiction.” These are

  1. You didn’t Cause it,
  2. You can’t Control it
  3. You can’t Cure it.

No matter how many times the fingers pointed at you while your loved one was in active addiction, it’s important to remember you as a family member, spouse or friend are not the cause of your loved one becoming an addict. Once you accept that you can relieve a lot of the guilt that you could be feeling and help you to realize after rehab your loved one needs to take responsibility for their own actions.coming home after rehab

Don’t Bring Up The Past:

Your loved one hurt you while in active addiction, we know this. They also completed an addiction treatment programme and they are taking the steps to heal and move forward. It’s time that you do the same. Don’t dwell in the past, look forward to a healed and renewed relationship after rehab with your loved one. One free of addiction, blame, and past transgressions.

You and your family may harbour the same fears you did before a  loved one went to rehab, that is life and there is nothing wrong with that.  It may be the worry about the 30 minutes later than usual arrival home from work or closing the door when they go to the toilet – it could be traffic and it could be because they are human and need the loo! Fears are real, but you need to remember the difference between fear and instincts. Trust your gut after rehab but also allow for growth and love and healing. For you and for your loved one.

How Can Al-Anon Help Me?


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
quit smoking

Tips to Quit Smoking Cigarettes

You know why you should Quit Smoking.

quit smoking

You know what happens to your body when you Quit Smoking. But still, as you read this your palms become sweaty and your anxiety levels are on par with your blood pressure levels. Imagine having to give up that packet of smokes lying in front of you. Maybe it’s been something you have done for years. Maybe you have tried to give up several times. It doesn’t matter. Let’s just focus on the right here and right now.

It can be said that possibly not enough recognition is given to the fact that nicotine dependency is a serious addiction! Smoking is often seen as a really bad habit, and smokers should be able to drop that and Quit Smoking in a much simpler way than say cocaine. Add to that the many gums, sprays and patches available to help you wean yourself off cigarettes and the general consensus is that it’s something you can ace alone. Right? WRONG. It’s not just a case of a bit of a struggle for a few weeks and you are good to go. There is, on the whole none of the medical and moral support and understanding given to other substance abusers (e.g. alcoholics, heavy drug users etc.)

So, then, what do we do about it? If you want to Quit Smoking Well read on. We may have a bit of a push, a bit of a shove and a bit of a helping hand for you if quitting is what you want to do. Disclaimer: It’s not going to make it easier – but if you are serious, the following tips and advice may help in a real way.

Firstly ask yourself. Why do you want to give up? Like all addictions you must be the person that wants to quit. Peer pressure, awkward family conversations and someone else telling you to quit equals a recipe for disaster because you need to do it for you.

Let’s talk facts for a second:

Facts about the devastating things smoking can and will do to you is a great motivator towards quitting. Ponder upon these facts for a moment:

– Smoking is the most important risk factor for cancer and heart disease. If you dont Quit Smoking you are about three to five times more likely to contract cancer or heart disease than non-smokers.

–  Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals and 50 of these have been identified as carcinogens. Gross.

– Smokers have increased rates of other cancers, including cancer of the mouth, larynx, throat, liver, kidney, bladder, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, stomach, colon and rectum. Smokers are also at greater risk for leukaemia.

– Smokers are twice as likely to die from cancer as non-smokers.

– Smoking contributes significantly to the development of high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

– Smoking causes chronic lung disorders like emphysema, asthma and bronchitis.

–  Smoking causes impotence and erectile dysfunction in men and low libido in men and women. It can also contribute toward difficulties in falling pregnant and birth defects.

And it’s not just medical:

here are some aesthetic issues you will have to deal with as if you are a smoker and you don’t Quit Smoking:

– Smoking causes premature wrinkling,

– Smokers have yellow teeth, and foul-smelling breath, hair and clothes.

– It costs a lot. But that’s obvious. Often our wallets are the loudest reminders that smoking isn’t a good idea.

Oh and smoking is quite selfish.  Smoking is bad for your family and those around you

  • Children of smokers are far more likely to develop asthma and other chronic respiratory infections than those of non-smokers.
  • They are also more prone to colds and flu and lose more time off school.
  • Exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke on a daily basis, children also have higher risks of developing all the cancers, disorders and other medical conditions mentioned earlier in this post.

So here are a few tips to get you started:

Get hold of Houghton House Addiction recovery Centres and chat to them about their Smoking Cessation Programme. Talking to a professional is half the battle. Remember, you don’t need to Quit Smoking and fight this battle on your own.

  • Think of a day to Quit Smoking. Make sure it’s around a month from when you decide to make a date. This gives you four weeks to prepare for nicotine withdrawal.
  • Make a list of all the reasons why you want to stop smoking and read this list every day.
  • Stick post its of these reasons everywhere. On your fridge, dashboard of your car, your computer screen, the mirror. Everywhere.
  • TELL PEOPLE. No really, tell a dozen people around you that you are going to stop and on what day that will be.
  • Find and make a note of the times and places which you associate with cigarettes. Think lunch breaks, first thing in the morning, after work etc. During the first four weeks leading up to your day when you decide to Quit Smoking don’t smoke at those times or at those places. This helps you to break the ‘habit smoking’ while still allowing you to smoke.
  • Get moving!  Start an exercise program and maybe find a new hobby.  The exercise will improve mood and motivation levels and also gets you feeling healthy and more confident.  Try doing it every day for at least 30 minutes. Take up an interesting hobby, preferably one that you can do with your hands but don’t be too fussy. Throw some money at it and remember, once you Quit Smoking you will have some extra cash!

We strongly advise that if you want to Quit Smoking seriously, get hold of us so we can guide you towards the best path for your new life. Smoking is a difficult addiction to quit, but it can be done with a little perseverance and help!

For help or more information, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 476 1223

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
designer drugs

Designer Drugs:  An ugly truth

What’s in a name: Designer Drugs and their effects

designer drugsDesigner drugs. You may have heard the term in passing conversation, or know someone who is on them. You may even be on them and need help getting off them but don’t know what they are. A designer drug is a synthetic substance that is sold (mostly) illegally as a way to get high. Bath salts, synthetic marijuana, and synthetic hallucinogens are examples of designer drugs. They are not classified as being the same as the drugs they are supposed to mimic and are much more variable, unpredictable, and as a result, dangerous. It is vitally important for anyone who uses these drugs to stop, and for those who cannot stop to get help before the adverse effects cause real and lasting damage.

What do we mean when we say a designer drug is synthetic? Well, designer drugs are man-made substances that people use to get high. Most are illegal, but some fall through the legal loopholes. The ingredients and potency in products like synthetic marijuana, bath salts, and others are impossible to know and result in dangerous, unpredictable effects on those who use them. Any use of a designer drug is risky and potentially life-threatening. The actual term “designer drugs” refers to substances that are made by a process of chemical synthesis – i.e., they are designed to mimic another drug. They are mostly made in a laboratory – but don’t let that fool you, a lab isn’t always a room full of scientists, it can be a back alley room full of dodgy drug dealers and manufacturers with no background in science or lab work.

They are created to be sold for people who want to get high, often mimicking natural substances and drugs. Take for instance synthetic marijuana products like K2 or Spice which are created in labs based on the structure of natural cannabinoids, the compounds found in marijuana.


Designer drugs are manufactured in a laboratory

But to say that they are the same or even similar to their natural counterparts is misleading and often a source of more headaches (and heartache) than you could ever imagine.  They are often very different and can cause a wide range of effects and adverse reactions. Because they are illicit, unregulated substances, and because they often change chemically from one product to another with the same name, designer drugs and how they will affect a user are highly unpredictable.

And here’s the catch. Some designer drugs are legal. Designer drugs are often referred to as legal highs. The substances created to make these products are new and not yet specifically listed as illegal.  Some laboratories make these products to tweak the compounds and produce something that is not technically illegal. This can make designer drugs particularly harmful because people, especially teens and young adults, may falsely believe that something legal must be safe to use.

So, how are designer drugs classified?

Did you know that there are said to be over 300 known designer drugs, each belonging to one of three types of new psychoactive drug (NPS) classifications. An NPS is, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes a “substances of abuse, either in a pure form or a preparation, that are not controlled by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs or the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, but which may pose a public health threat”. The term “new” does not necessarily refer to new inventions — several NPS were first synthesized 40 years ago — but to substances that have recently become available on the market.

Here are the three main categories that NPS drugs (Designer drugs) are classified under:

  1. Synthetic cannabinoids.

These are designer drugs that are supposed to mimic the natural compounds in the cannabis plant, also known as marijuana. There are many different street names for these products, including Spice, K2, Bliss, and Scooby Snax. They can cause a range of adverse effects, including anxiety, violent behaviours, seizures, hallucinations, and paranoia.

  1. Synthetic cathinones

Cathinone is a natural substance found in plant called khat. Designer drugs that are supposed to mimic this substance are stimulants, similar to cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine. The most common street name for these drugs is bath salts. Potential adverse effects of bath salts include paranoia, hallucinations, seizures, chest pains, suicidal thoughts, and violent outbursts.

  1. Synthetic phenethylamines.

Phenethylamines made in a laboratory are designed to mimic hallucinogenic drugs. N-bomb and smiles are two of the street names for them and they can be found as liquids, powders, and papers soaked in the liquid solution. These designer drugs may cause seizures, heart attack, and respiratory failure.

designer drugs containing synthetic cannabinoids.
Many synthetic designer drugs are sold semi-legally online with a wide array of names and labels. Credit: B. Christopher/Alamy Stock Photo

The adverse effects of designer drugs may seem glaringly obvious to some, but to others, they are not and need to be highlighted.

Designer and synthetic drugs are dangerous for a few reasons.

One of the most important reasons is that they are unpredictable. It is impossible for the user to know what exactly is in one of these products or how it will affect them. The actual compounds can vary as can the amount. There may even be contaminants, as was recently the case in hundreds of samples of synthetic marijuana, as dangerous as rat poison. Some of the potential effects these drugs have been reported to cause include:

  1. Psychosis, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions
  2. Violent and aggressive behaviours
  3. Depression and anxiety
  4. Muscle tensions and spasms
  5. Increased heart rate and chest pains
  6. Addiction
  7. Seizures
  8. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  9. Kidney failure and even death.

Final thoughts on designer drugs:

Any use of designer drugs, even just one time, is risky, at best.  Some people become addicted to these substances and they are at an increased risk of adverse effects.  It is possible to get help, though. The most important realisation you may need to make either for yourself or a loved one is that there is no real science behind these drugs, no matter what the reasoning behind the synthesis is. The drug is created to mimic an already devastating drug, and at the very best, you will feel those effects. The best advice we can offer is to seek out a professional to guide you through what is a solvable and dangerous maze.

Nearly all of the designer drugs in the world are addictive and can take a massive profound toll on the body and mind. If you or someone you know is struggling with designer drug addiction, do not wait to seek help.


For more information on dealing with designer drugs or any other substance abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
consequences of addiction

Consequences of addiction

Dealing with the consequences of addiction.consequences of addiction

If you have ever dealt with someone who has been involved in the world of addiction you will know that it is a complicated disease.  Addicts cannot stop taking a substance or carrying out behaviour which causes damage to themselves or those around them. It can set off a range of adverse effects on all that it infects, ranging from psychological, physiological, and personal.

The complications and consequences of addiction which come about often depend on the type of substance or behaviour. Take for example sex addiction. It greatly increases the risk of sexual behaviours that could lead to a range of sexual diseases. Using drugs intravenously (injecting) without using sterilized needles can lead to the transmission of, HIV, hepatitis C and a host of other diseases.

Let’s be quite clear here. It is very rare for a complication not to arise which doesn’t affect an addict. And the worst part? These factors often feed each other and work in tandem to create health risks.


Let’s delve into a few of these complications, shall we?


First off, let’s get into the physical complications:

  1. Overusing mood- or physiology-altering substances can cause damage in a number of ways.
  2. Injury can occur during the administration of a drug, depending on the method. For example, injecting heroin with a needle can lead to skin and muscle damage at the point of injection, and many people take drugs by smoking, causing lung damage and respiratory illnesses
  3. Snorting cocaine through the nose can damage nasal cartilage, and taking opiates can lead to opiate-induced constipation, a chronic and potentially fatal form of constipation if a person does not receive treatment.
  4. Some substances induce violent reactions in people and increase the likelihood of confrontational behaviours.
  5. Overdosing can lead to a life-threatening medical emergency, a coma or death.
  6. Regular tobacco use can cause a range of cancers and smoking methamphetamine might fuel a severe form of dental decay known as “meth mouth”.
  7. Injury can also occur while intoxicated. Often, drug use impairs coordination and balance and can lead to falls and injuries.
  8. Many substances lead to spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, placing a strain on the heart and blood vessels and increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack, and death.
  9. Addiction can become an all-encompassing feature in a person’s life, and reward systems in the brain can rewire to prioritize the substance or behaviour at the root of the addiction over nutrition, resolving stressful situations, and hygiene.
  10. Addiction can also mean that a person dedicates large sums of money each month to obtain the substance, increasing the risk of poor nutrition. In some cases, addiction can lead to homelessness, greatly reducing protection and resources and increasing exposure to the elements.
  11. Foetal damage: If a woman takes substances while pregnant, this can lead to congenital anomalies or even death in the foetus.
  12. Learn more about the consequences of addiction and symptoms of addiction.

And now let’s take a look at the psychological complications:

  1. Drugs have a two-way relationship with mental health. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, might occur ahead of addiction.
  2. Drug use can also set off the symptoms of mental conditions as well as causing them to develop when they were not present before.
  3. Anxiety, restlessness, guilt, and shame can also result from prolonged substance dependency and behavioural addiction.
  4. Many drugs directly cause hallucinations and longer-term psychological effects that can lead to severe mental health problems.
  5. A 2015 study showed that six times as many people who regularly misuse opiates attempt suicide as people who do not misuse opiates. The rate of death by suicide was two to three times higher in people who had a dependency on opiates.
  6. Addiction not only impairs a range of bodily functions but also changes the way a person thinks. Drug use alters how some brain circuits work Excessive use of LSD, for example, might result in a slipping handle on reality and drug-induced psychosis.
  7. A 2014 study linked lifetime use of a number of different substances to increased levels of depression.
  8. Drug addiction might lead people to financial problems, homelessness, criminal activity, and prison.
  9. Deteriorating personal circumstances increase stress levels, depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
  10. People with addiction tend to push away the people closest to them and this removes or drastically reduces an individual’s support network when they need it the most. This can fuel further drug use and push people with addiction towards the more severe complications.
  11. People use certain drugs as a way to attempt suicide, such as heroin. When the effects of the drugs themselves combine with resulting or underlying psychological difficulties, the consequences of addiction and negative results can be lethal.


And now let’s focus on the personal complications:

  1. Addiction can change relationships to the people closest to the person with the condition. These can compound the effects of addiction on the brain and body.
  2. A substance disorder can make a person feel isolated, which might fuel further drug use and impact on relationships.
  3. Not only can the costs of regularly purchasing substances or pursuing behavioural impulses mount up, but the consequences of addiction can also drive a person further and further from their place of employment and financial responsibilities. This can lead to difficulties that further compound the other health issues that can arise from addiction.
  4. Many psychoactive substances are illicit, and even possessing them can put a person in jail. However, people may also resort to crime to fund drug misuse, especially as drug addiction can lead to unemployment as the substance or behaviour starts to replace personal responsibilities.
  5. Often, obtaining the substance or enacting the behaviour at the root of an addiction supplants obligations to other people, even family and dependents.


SO what can we surmise from all this?


The consequences of addiction carry with them a range of serious and dangerous complications that can greatly impact the life of a person with the disease and the people around them.

Addiction to psychoactive substances often carries a range of toxic and destructive physical effects, such as the risk of physical damage, the consequences of addiction and side effects of the drugs or behaviours themselves, heart diseases including stroke and heart attack, and reduced nutritional intake. Taking too much of a substance can also lead to overdose and death.


Addiction can also set off depression, anxiety and psychosis and greatly increase the risk of suicide. It can also impair people around the individual, destroying relationships and finances, and even pushing people towards illicit activity and crime.


Find out what treatments are available and what support groups are in the area. Reach out, ask for help and recognise that the human spirit can endure even the toughest of battles.

For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
stay sober

Stay Sober in a Toxic Environment

Party Season … it can be a Toxic and unhealthy Environment for all us Addicts

stay soberPicture driving along in a car and you reach a fork in the road. You can go left or right and you cannot turn around once you make a decision. The road on the left loops you around back to this point, after a few potholes and a series of horrible and unnecessary turns. The one on the right is the road of your future, filled with forests and beautiful towns and colours and little streams.

The road on the left is relapse and bad decisions and will lead you back to the start of the journey. The road on the right is the stay sober good decision and it is your future.  This is essentially how you should view life after addiction. Going left is the road you don’t want to go down, going right is the road you should be travelling on. Once you make a commitment to stay sober and recover from drugs and alcohol, you must also make a commitment to remove yourself from the people, places, and things that once accompanied your drug and alcohol use.  They are the people telling you to go left and you really don’t want their advice anymore.

To Stay Sober can be quite the challenge especially if you happen to live with someone who is still active in their addiction. What you need to realise is that you will need to make adjustments and that you can do things even in the most difficult circumstances to reinforce recovery. When a person accepts the reality of their addiction, recovery becomes a comfort in any environment, even if a healthy living space is not available at the time. So despite you thinking that there may only be one road choice- I have news for you-you can still turn right and stay sober in an unhealthy environment, and this is how:

Change your behaviors to stay sober:

  • Don’t talk about things which romanticize drug use.
  • Change your mode of living in any healthy way possible. ( run in the morning if you didn’t before)
  • If posters, music or objects were around while you were going through addiction, change them to something positive.
  • If friends or family members are using in front of you and you don’t like it or cannot stand it –get out. Find a private space and call someone in recovery to help you stay grounded until you can find another place to go.
  • Learn to exercise.
  • Breathing is an essential part of stress reduction (stress is a major trigger for relapse.)
  • Keep reading material about recovery. Take inspiration from others.
  • Take advantage of today’s technology. (There are ongoing recovery groups on social media and you can remain anonymous).

Research has shown that the first month of attempting to stay sober and be in recovery is the most difficult however there is an upside! It’s called the “Pink Cloud” effect because of the joy of new found freedom from chemical dependency and the release of endorphins that were absent due to chemical poisoning. Build a foundation for yourself to remain clean and sober. Understanding the damage that addiction causes to your mind, body and soul are vital in helping stay clean and sober. Addiction is permanent and will not go away over time.

If you have an addiction and you return to the drugs or alcohol, you will always end up back where you started.  If you stay the course stay sober and remain free from drugs and alcohol – you will live a full and meaningful life.

For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa


Addiction and how families deal with addicts.

If there is one thing the world needs to shout loudly about addiction,
it is this: Addiction doesn’t only affect one person, the addict,
but also their entire family.

Being addicted to alcohol or drugs deteriorates the physical health of the addict. It spoils the spirit and impairs their mental activities. It also eats away and destroys relationships in their life and makes it quite difficult to maintain steady employment, meet financial obligations and participate in social activities. Genetics play a part in addiction, but there things which of course are role players in the disease. A single person in the family suffering from addiction can alter the family dynamics so you can imagine when two or more family members with addiction can do to a family, not just now, but for generations to come.

All the family members of an addict are affected by substance abuse.

This abuse affects the finances, health and wellbeing of the family. Families of the past were often directed by the grandparents but are now inclusive of multiple generations.  Single-parent households are more severely and adversely affected by an addiction than the larger family units more popular decades ago. Children exposed to addiction are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. They tend to begin using substance at an earlier age than other children and the substance abuse lifestyle is more familiar to them and seen as acceptable as it is seen as part of the family dynamic.

Every addict is different and has a different story and reason behind their addiction.

It can be difficult to assign a connection between alcoholism and family roles. For the most part, people who grow up in families of addiction are more likely to develop addictions themselves. You are not the cause of someone else’s addiction or alcoholism, you cannot cure it and you can’t control it but there are ways that you may be contributing to the problem. Before we place the blame for all the problems in your home at the feet of the addict, it might be wise to look at how the other person’s substance abuse may have affected you, and how you have reacted to it. How do we do this? We look at some of the roles we play while we deal with an alcoholic within the family unit.

Here are some of the roles we play while dealing with an alcoholic or addict:

The Hero: The rescuer doesn’t let the incident become a “problem”.  They will like, cover up and protects them from the world. They often deny that there is a problem at all.

The Victim: Many addicts feel guilt, shame and remorse for the pain they are causing their families. Some become angry and disrespectful. They can also blame the family for their suffering and live in  in total denial of their addiction and problems.

The Mascot: They use their humour to handle the uncomfortable nature of the house. They know their humour can bring a sense of comfort and relief to the family and use this role to accomplish that sense of comfort and balance.

The Head Enabler:  This person is usually closest emotionally to the victim and serves as the protector of the family. They appear self-righteous, super responsible, sarcastic, passive, physically sick, or even martyr like.  Beneath the surface they are however often full of anger, hurt, guilt and low self-esteem.

The Lost one:  Often alone and isolated from other family members, the odds of them developing big troubled relationships when they’re older is great. Often they feel awkward in social gatherings and find ways to escape family engagements.

The Scapegoat: They have a habit of misbehaving and showing unnatural and annoying tendencies in front of everybody. They also get into trouble at home and in school. When these youngsters move get older  they’ll most likely have issues with the law.


What you need to realize is that the enabler takes care of all things, makes sure to handle all social, financial and business issues. They work to hide the addiction so the addicted member of the family doesn’t feel bad. They make excuses and clean up messes and ensure the addict does not face any consequences. If you recognize yourself in any of these roles you should consult a professional for help in dealing with the addict. Remember, addiction is a family affair and if you are not stopping the problem, you could be contributing to it.


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
someone in recovery

Healthy holiday gift ideas for someone in recovery

Holiday shopping can be super tricky for someone in recovery.

someone in recoveryWe all have that someone who is difficult to shop for. Now imagine someone who is going through the journey of addiction recovery – it can be a HUGE hiccup when festive season shopping. If you happen to have a loved one who is on the road to recovery and you are unsure about the ideal Christmas gift, stress no more, we have a bunch of ideas for you to take inspiration from.

Remember that you want to choose a gift they will enjoy while also encouraging their continued sobriety and avoiding any triggers and emotions which could test their ability to stay sober. So what could you choose as a perfect gift that matches their interests and which is sensitive and supportive of their decision to make healthier choices and to remain sober?

Here are a few of our top picks of gift ideas for loved ones going through recovery:

  1. Music lessons.

Countless studies have proven that music is a great complement to therapy for men, women, and adolescents who are in recovery for addiction. Be it drumming or piano lessons or even the good old six string, there are many ways that someone in recovery could work music into his or her recovery.  Buy a loved one a musical instrument or lessons and if you don’t want to fork out cash for lessons – the internet is a great place for free instructional lessons on almost every single instrument known to man!

  1. A personalised gift.

Giving someone an acknowledgment of their sobriety and the efforts they have gone through to stay the course is never a bad idea. Think of keychains with powerful verses or messages engraved on them or a piece of jewelry with key dates of their journey etched on the inside. A gentle reminder of the power of their decisions is a beautiful thing. Gifts such as mug, notebook with the Serenity prayer are also great for someone in recovery looking for acceptance.

  1. Faith based Gifts

Studies have shown that faith in a higher power can actually stress, fatigue, anxiety, and depression while adding and improving overall quality of life. In addition, research has shown that religious faith or spirituality helps those in addiction recovery stay on the sober track. Why not celebrate your loved one’s faith or someone in recovery with a religious or spiritual gift?

  1. Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are great complementary therapies for those going through addiction treatment. It is well documented that  yoga, meditation, prayer, and other mindful, spiritual practices have incredible healing factors. Yoga and meditation can help someone in recovery learn to cope with triggers, cravings, and difficult feelings so they can stay clean, sober, and healthy and live a beautiful and happy life. Think of gifting your loved one a class package at a local studio or a DVD that will guide them through these incredible practices.

The holiday season can bring up seriously hard and difficult emotions in all of us. Healthy holiday can help your loved one celebrate the hurdles they’ve overcome and the amazing leaps in recovery they have achieved in order to get clean and sober. Just as importantly,  your well thought out gifts are a physical constant reminder that they have your support every step of the way as someone in recovery finds themselves walking down the path of rehabilitation.


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa


Tips for surviving a sober holiday

Sober for the Festive Season

sober bearIf you are newly sober, firstly congratulations, this is a marvelous and world-changing achievement, and secondly, don’t stress about the festive season, We have a bunch of great tips to make sure you go into the silly season sober, and you come out of it just as sober!


  1. Walk into the season with the confidence that you know you are not going to drink.

Highlight this in your mind. I cannot repeat it often enough because you have been sitting on the fence of festive season drinking, you are already planting the seed and that is the beginning of a battle you are going to be fighting. That battle could see wounds to your will, your guilt and it will most likely end up with you wounded on the battleground of sobriety. In other words you will probably drink. Make up your mind right now that you will not drink at all during the festive season. End of story. No ifs and no buts.


  1. Find the thrill in the action of being Sober.

Once you have made the decision that you will not drink, pump yourself up man! It’s a good thing! Be your own cheerleader and psyche yourself up! Visualisation is a great tool – see yourself drinking fizzy drinks while all around you people are getting drunk and feel the pride swell inside your bones as you remember and celebrate the self-control you have to stick to your own goal . Think of your health – and the fact that you won’t be hanging the next day, that you can remember the night that was and that you have a weekend of non-bloated fun ahead of you and a week of tired less work waiting for you on Monday!


  1. Get the tools!

Create a list of things which help you manage stress, make you smile and instill peace within you. Take that list (and the things which you need, your tools) with you on holiday.


Here are a few favourites:

Smellies:  incense sticks, lavender oils and other beautiful calming smells. Rub oil on your arms and hands and inhale the instant life-changing smell that can make you drift away from stress in that sensory filled boat of serenity.

Meditation: You don’t need to catch a flight to Bali to find balance through meditation. Stay sober  -simply go online and discover a few relaxing methods to find inner peace right in the comfort of your own space.

Breathe:  Take a dozen or so deep, long breaths. You can do it at the checkout counter of your local Spar or while you are sitting at the beach. Count for 5 as you inale, and five as you exhale. Don’t overthink it. Don’t worry if you think you are doing it right or wrong. Just breathe!

Drink tea: The British aren’t the only ones who advocate a good cuppa! Visit a local health shop and find some calming and soothing tea flavours and spoil yourself. It’s like having a cup of hugs!

  1. Be ready to roll your eyes at friends and family.

You will be chirped, you could be judged and you will be pressured. Think of this when you feel hurt by someone else’s words. What someone says to you or how they act towards you is not about you.  It’s about them and how they see the world. The way you react however is about you. Focus on that and only that. Consider everyone as a lesson.  Every person you meet is a potential lesson – one which you can use to learn from and to grow from. So every person is a free lesson in the class of life.

You don’t actually need to engage in a situation, you are safest in your willingness to be defenceless.   If you find yourself letting someone push your buttons, or find yourself defending something, you are adding and growing the problem. You are the one who can add to a fire with fuel or water. A way to handle these confrontations and stay sober is to just take your energy out of the equation. A target is only one that is in the line of the weapon. Dodge it by not being there and you cannot possibly be a victim. There is power in not having to use power to avoid confrontation!


That being said, you also need to set boundaries for yourself and put yourself first.

You don’t need to talk to everyone and engage in every single conversation and you don’t need to do everything that you are asked – especially things which could compromise your being sober. You need to just remember one thing. You matter and you need to take care of yourself. You are recovering from something that can kill you. Why mess around with that because of some conversation or for the sake of people pleasing?


  1. Spoil yourself!

Man oh man, you need a reward. Love yourself and practice the art of self-care, daily. It is so important to look after yourself, especially during the festive season, during travels, when you are out of your usual routine and when you are at places which could lead to a stress on relationships. Drink loads of water, have the bubbliest of baths, try out some yoga, write down things, eat, find something spiritual to do and relax. When I say reward yourself I mean it. Book a movie, get a back massage and eat the finest sushi you can find.  Watch a bunch of TV shows or just sleep in on a rainy day. Dedicate time to doing what you think is a reward and jot it into your calendar. The next thing you know you are back at work and life is GREAT. That is how you survive a sober holiday. Good luck!


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa
synthetic marijuana

Understanding Synthetic Marijuana (Spice, K2, Mojo)

Everything you need to know about Synthetic Marijuana

The chemicals in synthetic marijsynthetic marijuana k2uana are designed to have similar qualities to that of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Most commonly spice is ingested via smoking but it can also be added to drinks or added to food as an edible drug.

Marijuana is a drug which comes from a plant right? Yes. Well sort of.

There is a version of marijuana called synthetic marijuana and it is a far cry from the soil based drug you have heard of. Nicknamed Spice or K2, Synthetic marijuana is a chemically modified herbal substance that produces mind-altering effects similar to or more potent than marijuana. (link to Marijuana info on HH)

Now, although you may not have heard of it in SA, Spice is fairly common in the USA and the UK where it is sold in petrol stations, various shops and importantly, online. This is where you need to listen up. A person in SA can order Spice and have it delivered, in as simple a process as ordering a pair of shoes. As well as buying from other local channels within South Africa. In the USA and UK Spice is promoted as a “safe” and legal alternative to marijuana despite significant evidence to the contrary.

The drug is marketed as incense or potpourri. It often carries the warning “not for human consumption.” Worryingly, this marketing loophole allows the substance to be sold legally.
One of the issues that you should also consider is that the packaging, name and ingredients of synthetic marijuana are inconsistent and can change based on the seller. As a result of this the drug is a moving target for both health officials and police enforcement hoping to cut down on its negative effects.

What are the street names of Synthetic Marijuana?

Aside from the commonly used names Spice and K2 there are a range of other names synthetic marijuana goes by. These include: Mojo, Black Mamba, Genie, Cloud 9, Yucatan Fire, Moon Rocks, Skunk, Zohai, Bliss, Blaze and Fake Weed

One of the main reasons you are reading this here is that, along with the current discussions around marijuana, Spice is a drug that has found its ways into our country and you should know as much as you can about it as it creeps into our streets. Remember synthetic marijuana is not actually intended to be smoked or ingested and using it in those ways is considered abuse.

It is commonly understood that many teenagers and young adults are drawn to synthetic marijuana because they believe that it is safer than marijuana, or astonishingly that they won’t get in trouble for using it because it can be purchased legally. There is another danger. Synthetic marijuana doesn’t show up on most drug tests, making the drug an easy and obvious choice for those worried about getting caught.

What about the effects of synthetic marijuana?

Good question. The high associated with spice are similar to those of the drug marijuana.synthetic marijuana

The so-called positive side effects include:
• An altered perception of reality
• Feelings of relaxation
• Moods are good and happy.

The actual makeup ( ingredients) in synthetic marijuana differ in every batch. What you should realise is that the chemicals used to produce the drug’s effects were originally formulated to be used in anything from fertilizers to cancer treatment.

These chemicals have not been approved for human consumption, and there is no way to know what adverse reactions a user may have.  A user will literally be gambling with their life every single time they buy and use spice!

What about the negative side effects?

Minor side effects of synthetic marijuana are similar to those of real marijuana. There are however a few more effects which are worrying. They include :
• Rapid heart rate
• Paranoia
• Confusion
• Hallucinations
• Nausea/vomiting
• High blood pressure
• Anxiety
• Seizures
• Profuse sweating
• Heart attacks
• Kidney damage

Right now, synthetic marijuana ( spice) use is not at epidemic proportion. It is, however, a growing problem and should be on everyone’s radar… And people need to be thinking about it, and how we’re going to deal with it.

For more information on dealing with drug abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa

Stay Sober during Halloween

How do I stay sober this Halloween and more generally, over the festive period?

stay sober at Houghton HouseThere is a strange, almost eerie period after getting sober at a drug addiction treatment centre. It’s that first holiday after you reach sobriety.  With Halloween happening this week, and more relevantly, party season almost upon us, let’s try stay sober and delve into the not so spooky challenge of overcoming the urges associated with festive season fun. After all, you are on a journey to sobriety and a holiday should not be a break from that journey! Here’s our guide to staying sober during Halloween.

Firstly, remember that festive season fun like Halloween parties can hold many triggers. A trigger is often associated with compulsive stimuli, something environmental, social or personal that acts as a cue to turn to substance abuse. These triggers can enhance and negatively strengthen addictive behaviour.  So, as I just said, there are many triggers around Halloween, but you can overcome these challenges and stay sober during this spooky celebration. At Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres, we have a number of specialised programmes and a host of qualified people who will be able to give patients the support they need for lasting sobriety, even with holiday-specific triggers. Yes yes, the potential of relapse is by far the scariest part of Halloween, but you can, with a little help and some realistic tips, stay sober during Halloween.


Are you heading to a holiday party? It may be a costume party or ghost-themed ghoulish gathering – but one thing is almost certain – there is a good chance that alcohol will be served as part of the party. This is how we recommend you avoid the triggers and have a kick-ass (and frightfully fun, Halloween)

HAVE FUN and stay sober

For every booze filled scary Halloween idea, there are just as many sober Halloween party ideas you can incorporate at your next Halloween party:

  1. How about a dress party? Host your own one!
  2. Like treasure hunting? How about a scavenger hunt (think chocolates!)
  3. Have a pumpkin carving competition and what about the classic American trick of bobbing for apples?
    These are just a handful of ideas which don’t require alcohol to have a good time.

Family time … stay sober over party time.

If you feel that the party atmosphere may just be too triggering, take a look at trying other sober Halloween activities. You can (and it could be really good for your heart and mind) spend time with your family or take younger family members trick-or-treating. You can also have your very own scary movie marathon, which is a classic favourite sober Halloween activity. Remember, fright night is still a great night!

Think big! How about creating your own haunted house? You can take up quite a bit of time towards researching and executing a really good themed haunted house.  Think about candy floss cobwebs and rock candy cave icicles to start things off.

If you look outside, you can really have fun in your yard,stay sober and surprise those trick or treaters who are dying to get something sweet. Flip your front yard, garden path or driveway into a themed haunted house, or a zombie land – the real trick is to just think about it as a project. In doing so you will keep that mind focused on the work and away from the prospect of drinking and slipping of the path of sobriety.

To sum up, there is not really a single way to ensure that the temptation to drink during the festive season is avoided, but rather there is a method you can use to ensure you stay sober and that it doesn’t become a priority in your mind. Keep busy, distraction through hobbies, ideas and creativity is a wonderful way to be useful, be proactive and more importantly remain focused on the goal… You.

For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa

What Happens At Rage Stays At Rage


That’s in a perfect world. What happens at Rage goes on Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, Twitter the types of social platforms goes on and on. Pictures of you doing things that may embarrass you for years to come will be out there on the internet forever. Not to mention the live options that we are all using these days. When you’re intoxicated and feeling fab, live is the way to go, right? Wrong, you’ll regret it tomorrow…

You’ve waited 12 years of your school career to have this 10 day jam packed party paradise at Rage, don’t mess it up by not being able to remember any of it, or by being arrested using or selling drugs which will mark your future for years to come. Rather let this be a fabulous memory of your last days of Matric before the final results come out.

Be aware of guys with faces that are too hairy and muscles to Dac 4 Vac – this is probably their 4th time at Rage and they’re preying on the young innocent new Ragers.What Happens At Rage Stays At Rage

It’s too late to tell you about accommodation and passports, because that is usually done in January, so if you’re Raging in 2019 sort out your accommodation and passports now. The passports are a way of staying safe as your movements are tracked when you go in and out of the various gigs or jams or transport systems.

So Take Care

Have your wits about you all the time.

Don’t carry cash, rather buy the tokens offered by the organizers.

Keep your phone and room card safe.

Be sure to party with a buddy system.

Have your best friend there to hold your hair or man bun back while you throw up, rather than taking photos of you or doing a live video of you!

Even at Rage here is the possibility of your drinks being spiked… even if you knowingly spiked them yourself.

Always have an emergency contact number in your memory or safely stashed in your pocket, not on your phone, when you’re in that state you’re bound to have already misplaced or have had your phone stolen. Let this contact person be aware you will call at any time of day or night if there is a crisis, or you’re not coping with the reaction to alcohol or especially drugs are causing.

Don’t be afraid of crowds or smelly people – at Rage there will be loads of them crammed into a tent with mud underfoot. You will lose your shoes, don’t wear your Jimmy Choo’s, or your New White Nike’s. Trainers and flops are the way to go.

redfrogsBe on a lookout for the red frogs, they are there to help if you’ve had too much to drink or the drugs you’ve taken are having a bad effect on you, they will be outside all the  Rage events & venues to help.

Work on a daily budget and stick to it. Make sure food is a priority and not only booze and drugs are included.

3 things not to forget

Sunblock.  It’s gonna be hot in the sun in that pool – you don’t want to spend the next 3 days in agony. 

Toothpaste. After a night on the tiles  … a fresh mouth is the best!

Condoms. Yeah. 

Oh and the 4th thing not to forget.

Do your parents a favour by touching base on a daily basis, this is probably their hard earned cash you’re splashing around and they deserve to know that you’re safe and having a good time. 

Most of all Rage Safe and come home with magic memories… and epic photo moments.

Rage Out!

avoid alcohol

It’s the time of year where many people find it almost impossible to avoid alcohol.

Types of drinker you may encounter in The Festive season

avoid alcoholAvoid Alcohol – it’s that time of year. It’s the festive season and it has many ups. And downs.  As you sip on your next drink are you seeing it as simply a festive drink with family or is there a more sinister reason which could be behind it? We all know that the festive season is used as an excuse for overindulgence for many people and unfortunately alcoholics can often disappear in the fog of normality during this time because so many people around them are overindulging in alcohol. If you think about it – it is an ideal period for addicts because they can fade into the background and not be noticed or called on their addiction. Remember: An acceptable excuse to drink is the worst possible thing that can happen to an addict, as it leads to uncontrollable drinking with often serious consequences. According to some addiction counselors, there are 3 types of drinkers.

Before we get into the three types of drinkers, remember that excessive drinking comes with a number of health risks including liver disease and Cancer. You will notice that as a result there is a spike in the number of people seeking treatment services after the Christmas period.  This, of course, does not apply to many people who don’t have a problem  with how much they drink but to avoid alcohol for those who do have a problem, this can gradually worsen so caution is needed. Here are the three types of drinker you may encounter (or be yourself)

Avoid Alcohol -THE SOCIAL:

The social drinker only drinks on occasion and doesn’t usually see any negative effects from drinking, aside from the hangover of course. Many of us fall into this category of drinker, we like to drink but we know when to stop.  Generally this type of drinker doesn’t receive any negative results from drinking.  Their friends and family don’t have much to say about their drinking and usually, the social drinker doesn’t think about drinking or need to have a drink often. They can go out with the mates to have a few drinks and can handle their alcohol intake without experiencing a loss of control.  Extreme mood swings, fights and violence do not usually take place when they drink.

Avoid Alcohol – THE ABUSER

The alcohol abuser is a person who abuses alcohol and tends to push and break the boundaries far too often. They may have some problems with their drinking. The abuser takes alcohol consumption too far and takes their usual social drinking a step too far. They drink more frequently and the amount they drink can be considered “heavy to extreme”.

Their habit can actually become physically harmful to themselves and to others around them.  Alcohol begins to creep in and occupy their thoughts and they may begin to feel like they need to drink more often in order to get through the day. Friends and family will most likely start to notice their attitude and daily behaviour. The thing to remember here is that the social drinker has become an alcohol abuser but they cannot avoid alcohol but still have some sense of control and are not yet seen as alcoholics.

Avoid Alcohol -The Alcoholic:

The most devastating of the three types is the alcoholic Drinker. They can barely resist a drink and it begins to take over their life, which is already suffering from the alcohol use and abuse. Alcoholics have a serious drinking problem and they cannot get through a day without turning to drink for assistance. Most alcoholics start as social drinker and gradually shift to alcohol abusers before finding themselves down the deep dark hole of being an alcoholic. They would have built up a tolerance and will need more alcohol to get the same effects as they did before the tolerance set in.

Alcohol then begins to take over and control its victim’s life. Family, jobs, social circles and health are all in jeopardy…Despite all this, the alcoholic cannot quit drinking or avoid alcohol. They deny their problem and that can be devastating when it comes to addressing and helping the alcoholic seek out rehabilitation from their habit. Some short term problems from the alcoholic drinker’s heavy night include head injuries, fights and violence and even alcohol poisoning. Short term problems include heart conditions, stroke and liver disease. Chances of getting Cancer also increase and even the idea of death should not be forgotten. As well as those issues the alcoholic drinker can also see an increase in social problems, domestic abuse, family break ups and even homelessness.

Of course, there are more definable types of drinkers based on how they act while drinking and a recent study published from Penn State University, published in the Alcohol and Alcoholism journal, highlights how disordered drinking can vary from person to person.

While for one individual, it might involve falling over and getting into dangerous situations, for another it might not appear to interfere with their lives at all – at least for those watching them. The scientists found that certain drinking profiles were more common at different life stages, for example young adults might be more likely to experience to simply experience the adverse effects of drinking, like hangovers and withdrawal symptoms. Older drinkers, meanwhile, might struggle more with alcohol-relates injuries.

The research outlined the following five profiles in their research:

Alcohol-induced injury: In addition to drinking too much, people in this profile reported getting into risky situations during or after drinking that may have resulted in injury.

Difficulty cutting back: People in this group struggled with wanting to cut back on their problematic drinking but being unable to avoid alcohol.

Highly problematic, low perceived life interference: While people in this group reported experiencing many symptoms, they said their drinking did not interfere with their family, friends, work or hobbies.

Adverse effects only: People who fit this profile reported experiencing hangovers or withdrawal symptoms in addition to drinking too much.

Highly problematic: People in this group reported experiencing every symptom of alcohol use disorder.

All this research proves a valuable point. The festive period opens the gateway to any and all kinds of drinkers to over indulge and overdo it and get themselves into trouble unable to avoid alcohol. Whether you are a social drinker or an alcoholic, a highly problematic drinker or someone who has difficult cutting back, be aware of the dangers that the festive season brings with it. If you want to have a sober, alcohol free festive season read : 


For more information on dealing with alcohol abuse and getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

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Decriminalisation of Private use of Marijuana

South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court of South Africa recently decriminalised marijuana /cannabis (dagga) use and legalizes private cultivation

marijuana approved by south africas constitutional court reason behind the decriminalisation of recreational and medical marijuana? It said the ban was in contradiction to its constitution which gives citizens the right to privacy. But what does this mean to us? And more importantly, with South African Courts legalizing marijuana does this change anything when it comes to how we should view the plant in terms of addiction?

Well, sort of. Let’s first take a look at the business side of things. Marijuana is widely cultivated across South Africa for both domestic use and export.  A recent report by the US State Department revealed that South Africa is a large source of herbal cannabis for the United Kingdom and continental Europe. In KwaZulu-Natal, a strain of marijuana called “Durban Poison” has been rated among the “20 greatest marijuana strains of all times”, by the US cannabis publication High Times. So people all over the world know of and purchase the drug. It is important to also note that while law enforcement views marijuana industry sale as an “illegal drug trade”, cultivation of cannabis / marijuana is an important cash crop for South Africans rural communities, particularly in  Cape Town, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

The court ruled legalisation of private use of marijuana does not change the marijuana legal global outlook on it from a sales perspective and it is still widely prohibited in most countries.  It has been legalised for recreational purposes in Canada, Georgia, Uruguay, and 29 states in the United States of America. In many countries, particularly Spain and the Netherlands, a policy of limited enforcement has been adopted.

We know there is much to be gained from the use of hemp (a by-product from the plant) in terms of clothing and other materials, but what are the implications from a health perspective?

What is marijuana?

Marijuana, sometimes called dagga, weed, pot, the herb or Ganga, is made from the bud of the Cannabis hemp plant. The buds are dried and rolled up in a type of cigarette called a joint. It belongs to 3 categories of drugs. It is a depressant as it slows down communication between the brain and body, it has hallucinogenic properties ( some people see and hear and even feel things which are not real while high) and is of course a narcotic and can be used for medical purposes( which means it an addictive drug affecting mood or behaviour.)

Marijuana plants are recognised by their very obvious seven leaflets which are gathered in star-like shapes on a stem. They are usually a rich green. Cannabis may take two other forms:  Hashish – blocks of dried cannabis resin, which can be smoked or eaten. Hash oil – the oil extracted from hashish, which can be smoked, eaten, and vaporized. Hashish and hash oil pack a stronger punch than the dried marijuana leaves. THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that causes the “high.”

Effects of Cannabis What does it do?

Marijuana is used for the feeling of relaxation that follows any kind of consumption. The feeling doesn’t last that long (two to three hours) and the intensity varies according to the person, the atmosphere, the size of the dose, and the blend. Not all of the side-effects are pleasant, however, especially when it’s consumed in high doses.

Here are the various short effects, both positive and negative that a person may feel after using marijuana:

Pleasant side-effects include:

  • Feelings of relaxation
  • Alternative thoughts about the world
  • Feelings of enlightenment
  • Altered sensory perceptions
  • Excitement for life
  • Partial hallucinations
  • Munchies (severe hunger).

Unpleasant side-effects include:

  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Red eyes
  • Loss of coordination
  • Hallucinations

Those are the short term effects. There is debate around the effect that marijuana has on a person over the long term and some people who use the drug over the long term argue that it does no harm. Studies have shown however that prolonged use of marijuana does have an effect on body and mind. An in depth study on the adverse health effects of recreational cannabis use over the period 1993-2013 released at Through the Maze: The Cannabis and Health International Drug Policy Symposium held in Auckland, New Zealand in November 2013 as well as research from made some startling revelations:

  1. Marijuana can be addictive. About 10% of all personal consumption users seem to develop dependence syndrome, and for those who start in adolescence, the number is more like 1 in 6.
  2. Marijuana use is linked to adverse cognitive effects. In particular, the drug is linked to reduced learning, memory, and attention.
  3. Marijuana may change brain structure and function. There’s been an ongoing debate about whether marijuana actually changes the brain, but recent evidence has suggested that it is linked to changes in the hippocampus, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex.
  4. Regular use is linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms. Marijuana is linked to increased psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking) however it is difficult to sow whether causation is at play, and which way the connection goes.
  5. Marijuana is linked to lower educational attainment. When pot smoking begins in adolescence, people tend to go less far in school. Again, causation is hard to prove.
  6. Marijuana may (or may not be) be a gateway drug. Regular teenage marijuana users are more likely to use other drugs in the future – but again, researchers don’t know whether the link is causal.
  7. Marijuana is probably (but mildly) linked to schizophrenia. Studies have shown that marijuana is connected to a doubled risk of a schizophrenia diagnosis in the future. On the upside, they point out that users who quit using the drug after a first psychotic episode have fewer psychotic symptoms and better social functioning moving forward, compared to people who have a psychotic episode but continue using.
  8. Marijuana may be linked to testicular cancer. Its connection to other forms of cancer is not very consistent, but there’s some evidence of an increased risk of testicular cancer in long-term marijuana users.
  9. Regular users may have cardiopulmonary issues. Regular marijuana users have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis. Marijuana “probably” increases the risk of heart attack in middle age, but it’s hard to know for sure, since many users also smoke cigarettes.

Look, the chronic effects of marijuana may seem to be clearing up, however there is a lot of work that still needs to be carried out and far more studies need to be done to validate or vindicate the use of marijuana. What is clear, however, is that like with so many things on this planet, abuse can lead to addiction. This is where we step in.

Some regular users of marijuana will argue that dope is not as addictive as other drugs and that use does not lead to physical or psychological dependence. The contrary however has been proved and it is widely accepted that the plant is indeed addictive and can produce physical and psychological dependence. In addition, users have shown an increased tolerance to the drug, which means that have consume more of it to get the same results, a tell-tale sign of addiction.

Marijuana, like any substance can quickly become addictive. The first step to recovering from an addiction is recognizing that you have a problem. Be it alcohol, gambling or in this case, marijuana. Remember, just because something is made legal does not make it non addictive.  Realising that you may be addicted to marijuana may nip the addiction in the bud. Here are 10 signs of addiction to marijuana which, if you recognise in yourself or a loved one, may prove that an addiction to marijuana could be present.

  1. Tolerance and withdrawal:

Like any drug, regular use of marijuana leads to a tolerance for it. You will need more of the drug in order to achieve the same high. If you experience withdrawal symptoms or tolerance you could be addicted to marijuana. Signs of withdrawal include loss of appetite, irritability, insomnia or anxiety.

  1. Using more than you said you would:

You may start out saying to yourself “I’m just going to have a few hits.” But end up smoking the whole joint.  If this happens often it’s a sign of addiction. 

  1. Hard to cut down or stop using:

You tried to give up but you have found yourself unable to even when really making an effort. Not being able to stop means you need help to get clean. (Rehabilitation and recovery)

  1. Time flies by getting high:

What you do with your time speaks volumes about you. If you spend most of your day and night getting high, wanting to get high or looking for marijuana it’s a big red warning sign.

  1. You spend less time on the things you love:

If your calendar of events and activities has slowly been wiped clean and replaced with hanging out with mates to get high, you are sacrificing your real self for the addicted self and may be addicted to marijuana.

  1. Still getting high despite the consequences:

One thing addiction does which is obvious to others is change the way you conduct yourself in social situations, particularly work. Often this behaviour can be in contraction of set rules and regulations set up for that place. For example: You have been warned not to arrive late for work or go to work high on dope, but you continue anyway, you are basically committing self-sabotage and that is a sure sign of addiction.

  1. Escaping life’s problems with a joint.

If you think you can only deal with bad grades, stress, relationship problems and other issues by getting high, you are relying on the drug to separate you from the real world and that is a key sign of addiction. 

  1. You need marijuana to relax or be creative:

Can’t be creative without getting high first? Need a joint to unwind and feel relaxed? You could be addicted to marijuana if you need it first to continue with tasks such as being creative or wanting to simply relax.

  1. Can I still use marijuana if I choose this?

If you base the choice of events and who you want to hang out with based on whether or not you can use dope or if you can get high, you are using the drug as a standard for decision making, and that is a sign of addiction.

  1. I can’t function properly and attend to my responsibilities:

If you start to consistently fail to complete your daily tasks and responsibilities because your mind is focussed on getting high on dope, it might be a motivation problem OR it could just as easily mean you have a psychological addiction to marijuana.

In conclusion.
Marijuana is now legal to use in a personal capacity in South Africa. This does not change the fact that like any other thing that humans use, it can be abused and lead to addiction. It may not be considered by the average person as serious as other drug addictions, like heroin or crack cocaine, but the effects are still serious enough that some people require help getting through withdrawal and rehabilitation.

For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.

contact Rehab in South Africa



legalizing of cannabis in private marijuanaFurther info  on Marijuana Decriminalization

Worldwide the decriminalisation and legality of Dagga for health and pleasure use varies by country, in terms of its ownership, delivery, and crop growing, and how it can be taken or consumed for differing medical conditions is different across the world. Policies in most countries are directly related and held by the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs that is from 1961, and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances and 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

The use of marijuana/ Dope/ Dagga recreationally is prohibited in most countries; see map Many have adopted drug policies of decriminalization to make possession of self-use amounts a non-criminal offence similar to a minor traffic violation. Other countries have much more severe penalties like certain Asian, North Korea and Middle Eastern countries where ownership of even small amounts can be punished by imprisonment for several years and other drugs remain illegal and have the death penalty attached.
Countries that have legalized recreational cannabis are Canada, Georgia, South Africa, and Uruguay, along with nine states in the United States as well as the District of Columbia. Though it seems a policy of partial prosecution has also been adopted in many nations, in particular, Spain and the Netherlands where the sale of marijuana is tolerated at licensed shops.
As far as the medical use of marijuana is concerned countries that have legalized it are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, and the United Kingdom. More constricting laws permit the use of certain marijuana-derived drugs, such as Sativex or Marinol. In the United States, 31 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana, but at the federal level, its use remains prohibited for any purpose.


after drug rehab continuing care

Life after Drug Rehab – the Inpatient Programme

 After Drug Rehab What are your options

Continuing Care Programme / Residential Inpatient Treatment Programme

(No. 2 ongoing from the previous article – “What to Expect when you get to Rehab“)

Your last day at a drug and alcohol rehab at residential treatment facility can be just as unnerving as the first one. After drug rehab having been successfully rehabilitated in a safe environment, you are now ready to enter back into the real world. At a residential treatment center your life outside will have been assessed and you will have been given the necessary suggestions on how to enter back in without alcohol or drug abuse, in such a way that you maintain your recovery. But the truth is, it is hard and therefore of utmost importance that you take responsibility by instilling long lasting support structures that will keep supporting clean living.

Continuing care programme after drug rehab

Here are some suggestions for addiction treatment After Drug Rehab:

  • Secondary Care
    Continuing Care programme for sober living after substance abuse recovery.
    Even after rehabilitation and treatment if you feel that you are not yet ready to leave the safe haven of the drug rehab facility, Houghton House offers an extended stay programme, further addiction treatments  and recovery process in the form of its secondary care facility, The General Addiction Programme – The GAP  further encourages the addict and alcoholic to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle that is conducive to a lasting recovery after drug related or alcoholism rehab. It is an inpatient facility based in the same area as Houghton House, where friends and family are welcome, in the peaceful suburb of Ferndale in Johannesburg.
  • Tertiary Care
    Houghton House offers tertiary care in the form of Halfway Houses to continue long-term support as you re-integrate into normal life. A Halfway House is a house where recovering addicts and alcoholics live together in order to be with like-minded people who have broken the ties of addiction and alcoholism. Residents are held liable to actively participate in a culture of recovery by taking part in therapeutic activities, attending 12 step programme and drug relapse prevention meetings.
  • Continuing Care Programme
    Houghton House’s Continuing Care Programme is suitable for those that have been through a primary, secondary or outpatient alcohol or drug addiction treatment programmes. Clients are encouraged to retain a connection with the treatment facility for at least their first year of recovery. Addicts and alcoholics attend regular aftercare and relapse prevention meetings, even the family program which take place on weekday evenings as part of the addiction treatment program.
  • 90/90 – Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous
    By the time you have left primary treatment you will have been introduced to AA and NA meetings. And a 90/90 will most likely have been suggested to you. In essence, as the name suggests, it is 90 meetings in 90 days and helps you form a thorough foundation within the fellowship reducing the risk of relapse during and after drug rehab. The fellowship of NA and AA plays an integral part in your recovery. Often times an addict or an alcoholic needs to break ties with people they were doing drugs and alcohol with before. Attending meetings gives you the chance to meet others who have chosen a new way of life. This is an exceptional place of support, as meetings will offer you the safety of sharing with acohol and drug addicts that suffer from, and have overcome the struggle of addiction and alcoholism. This is also the ideal place to find a dependable sponsor to help your life challenge program.
  • The importance of a sponsor – developing healthy relationships
    After drug rehab getting a sponsor is highly recommended as he or she will guide you, show you the ropes and have a map for your recovery that they will insist you stay accountable to. A sponsor is someone in the programme that has at least one year of clean time. You will learn to be accountable to this person, who will most likely be encouraging you to keep working the 12 steps, and who will direct you through them and the daily health issues struggles and even a bipolar disorder which an addict or alcoholic new in recovery often struggle with.
  • Service
    After successful substance abuse treatment it is of great value to give back to others in recovery. Sometimes it is as simple as giving a fellow addict or alcoholic a lift to a meeting as a sober friend. You may want to volunteer at your home group by being in charge of refreshments or literature. This will give you a sense of purpose and strengthen your sense of responsibility in helping others and attending regular meetings.
  • Therapy
    It is important to keep having regular sessions with your counsellor from the treatment centre, the rehab facility, or a psychologist. Trained professionals are able to point out depression and anxiety, relevant personality disorder ,destructive and addictive patterns and will continue to help you with lifes challenges and make lasting changes in your life. Staying in touch with your counsellor or psychologist from the treatment facility means building on an already existing relationship with someone that began the journey of recovery with you.

It’s up to you

The biggest part of a successful recovery comes down to you. After drug rehab it is your responsibility to make sure that you stay accountable;
deal with

  • pain management;
  • sleeping pills;
  • prescription drugs ;
  • avoid dangerous situations;
  • that you reach out.

It is of paramount importance that you are honest to those around you about what you are going through, so that they can be of support and more importantly, be enabled to point out signs when you might be heading for a relapse and avoiding a potential drug overdose. It is important that you surround yourself with safe people, and only with those that have your best interest, and vitally, your lifelong recovery in mind.

Choose the right rehab

The most essential thing is that you choose the right addiction center rehab and keep in touch with safe and healthy individuals throughout your recovery. And that you use the individual therapy, health solutions and treatment therapies and help that is at hand as a stepping-stone to a new life, free from abused drugs, addiction, alcoholism and relapse.

For information on NA and AA meetings:

Narcotics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous

Link to: Medical Aid and Hospital plan info

Get in touch with Houghton House

For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.


contact Rehab in South Africa


South Africa’s Leading Rehab in Johannesburg

Houghton House Rehab in Johannesburg – Saving Lives since 1995

Founded by Alex Hamlyn 23 years ago. Houghton House Rehab in Johannesburg has grown from its modest beginnings. From a halfway house started by Alex Hamlyn and Russell Unterslak in 1995 to the group of treatment centres it is now.

Rehab in Johannesburg Alex recovery videoAt the time Alex had moved to South Africa from London and was in the early phases of his own substance abuse recovery. Discovering that residents in recovery from drug addiction and alcohol addiction that were coming from the rehab centre to the halfway house had experienced subpar primary care treatment. Provided the impetus to establish Houghton House and the primary care programme in 1996. Russell and Alex also discovered a large number of professionals in the field that were similarly frustrated with the state of current treatment centres at the time. They were excited to become involved in this new venture. Houghton House was first featured in Carte Blanche in 1996

From its early days starting out in a house in Houghton. From whence the organisation gets its name. Houghton House built a reputation for trying harder, being firm but fair. Taking the lives put into their hands seriously and with care. “Often circumstances are akin to a life or death situation.” says Alex “This is not something to be taken lightly.”

One of the most Innovative and Effective Addiction Rehabilitation Organizations in Southern Africa

At present Houghton House is run by Alex and Dan Wolf a qualified psychologist.  Dan is a well-recognized authority on the rehabilitation of addicts and alcoholics. They partnered in 2006 with Dan’s secondary treatment program, the GAP (General Addictions Program). Which was merged with Houghton House in 2009.
Subsequently, Houghton House is one of the most innovative and highly effective rehabilitation organizations. Working with individuals, companies, communities, local and international partners. To help, educate, inform and reintegrate addiction sufferers of all nationalities. To live life as a sober and valued member of society.

Alex freely admits if he had not gone through the rehab system and been fortunate enough to have found decent addiction treatment and recovery, he would probably have not made his 33rd birthday. He maintains recovery statistics in South Africa were pretty much all over the place but most definitely edging on the ”way too low“ side.“I really wanted to do something to help and to make a difference. To attempt to repay the huge debt I felt I owed” says Alex “If anybody understood what addicts go through in their darkest hours. I felt it was me. I could at least lead the way and show them the door to some respite from the malevolence of addiction and a life not well lived.”

Through the years Houghton House has had its fair share of Excitement, Mad Moments, Successes, and Celebrities.Rehab in Johannesburg lindewi hani

“We have been very fortunate in many ways.” says Dan Wolf Co-director of Houghton House. “The mad moments have been containable.” He comments with a wry smile. “ I can’t disclose which other celebrities have been treated by us. However Lindiwe Hani felt so strongly about her recovery, She worked with us doing a motivational video to help people in active addiction.
Our profile and success rate makes Houghton House the place to come to if you need help. It’s obvious we are doing the right thing and that our staff and processes are focusing in the right places”

Rehab in Johannesburg Dan Wolf

He continues, “You need to control your life choices when dealing with drugs and alcohol abuse, the odds of positive treatment for substance and successful rehabilitation treatment and recovery are greatest when all approaches  are considered and combined.”


Treatment at Houghton House is a well-practised mix of a number of effective programmes. All based around the Minnesota model combining the expertise of medical and therapeutic professionals. Other programmes include the classic 12 step process from Alcoholics Anonymous. Adapted to deal with drug addiction. With a number of other proven effective remedies and rehabilitation techniques. Tried and tested by Alex and Dan over the subsequent 23 years, which have been found to add value and substance to the recovery. Services at the rehab centre including medical assessments, individual, family and group therapy. One on one counselling extended to supervised patient recreational activities are incorporated into each of our addiction treatment outpatient rehab and inpatient programmes

The Houghton House focus is to stop drug dependency and addiction. With treatments targeting the broad range of addictive issues. Including alcohol, street drugs, prescription medications, sex and gambling addictions. With specific treatment and medical drug detoxification programmes in a controlled environment. Rehab in Johannesburg

Professional Addictions Counsellors

The team which includes registered medical professionals, nurses, doctor’s, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, addiction and occupational therapists. Oversee the process of treatment programmes ensuring a smooth experience and a positive outcome. Options offered at Houghton House include full access to recovery and behavioural therapy for dual-diagnosis patients. Those struggling with mental illness and bipolar disorders as part of the addiction problem.

The Houghton House alcohol abuse and drug abuse centre has:

  • Integrated medical aid and hospital plan system.
  • Relationships with all South African and international medical aid covers.
  •  Sophisticated rehab process with access to medical professionals and addictions counsellors.

Rehab in Johannesburg

“It’s a tough business.” says Dan “Helping people struggling with their demons can often be taxing. A real uphill battle. That’s why taking control of your life and the celebration of any success and the beginning of the next phase in your journey to recovery. Even birthdays! Birthdays are important!”

So. Thank you  Houghton House!

May you have many more years of successes and many more Recoveries and reasons to celebrate!

Houghton House Rehab in Johannesburg!

For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life, call Houghton House now:

office hours:  011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line: 079 770 7532

Click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.


contact Rehab in South Africa
to rehab

What to Expect when you get to Rehab

So the question is always “what can I expect when I get to rehab?”

(First in a series of what to expect –  No.2 – Life after Drug Rehab – the Inpatient Programme)

Leaving your comfort zone for the treatment centres of a rehab facility is an unnerving prospect, but it is often the only solution for addicts and alcoholics trapped in the claws of addiction. It’s not unusual to wonder about what exactly lies on the other side of the rehab doors, especially if you are facing residential treatment programmes that will last between 28 and 42 days. So, here’s a little about what you can expect when you get to Houghton House.

 Checking Into Rehab

to rehab

The first thing that happens upon your arrival at our addiction treatment centers is an addiction assessment. The purpose of the assessment in intake process is to decide whether addiction exists, and what the extent of addiction is. This is done in order to evaluate whether detoxification will be necessary and to what degree. It is important to be honest during the assessment, especially when it comes to drug abuse and what drugs were used, when last you used and what quantities, as this determines the kind of detoxification that will be implemented. A trained professional conducts mental health and drugs and alcohol assessments. This information given by the addict is kept confidential and used in constructing a unique treatment plan. During this process financial considerations, as well as the relevant medical aid cover, is addressed.

Detox in Rehab

Once the client is admitted to the recovery center the detox period begins immediately. Based on the assessment as well as a consultation with a medical practitioner, medication is given in order to assist with a safe detoxification process. The detox is the hardest part, but Houghton drug and alcohon rehab do everything during addiction treatment to ensure that the addict receives the utmost care and comfort. It is important for substance abusers to understand the dangers surrounding detoxification. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous and can leave lasting damage, or even be fatal. It is of paramount importance to detox under professional medical supervision. In cases like heroin addiction, the addict can suffer from hypertension and muscles spasms, as well as potent effects on the brain. In severe alcohol withdrawal lie the possibilities of Delirium Tremens, which can lead to death or lasting psychiatric issues.

The schedule

Rehab is a life changing experience that requires a lot of hard work and engaging in achieving that. 28-42 days is a short amount of time to change behaviours that may have been part of your life for the biggest part, so Houghton House does not waste a single moment. During the week clients begin their day with a lovely walk and a healthy breakfast. The day is packed with readings, lectures, therapy sessions and 12-step work time. In the evenings clients attend NA and AA meetings which come to the house. Hearty and healthy food is served at mealtimes and clients can relax around the pool or in the lush gardens.

Weekends are made up of meetings, group therapy, relaxation and family time. The client’s family is encouraged to visit during visitation hours.

Exercise is included in the daily programme, and Houghton rehab has an on-site gym, a swimming pool, and a yoga teacher who comes in from a local studio.

Caring in sharing

Clients at Houghton rehab share a room with at least one other person. Rooms are stylishly decorated and each client has their own nightstand and lamp. Once a client is admitted they are assigned a buddy, who will usually also be their roommate, and is there to help them get used to the schedule and assist with settling in to rehab. Clients are discouraged from isolating and rather encouraged to engage with those around them. Houghton rehab believes in individuality while at the same time trusting in the therapeutic value of one addict helping another.

Entering Houghton rehab means shutting the doors to the outside world and your life of addiction. This means that you will have limited contact with friends and family on the outside in order to assure that your focus is primarily and without distraction, solely on your recovery.

Understanding addiction

During your time in the inpatient treatment facility at Houghton House you will receive a lot of education around addiction. This takes place in the form of workshops and lectures. It is an insightful experience as the addict and alcoholic builds an understanding of the disease called addiction. It is of fundamental importance to understand what you are dealing with and these lectures and workshops form an integral part of your road to recovery.

Counselling and group therapy

One on one counselling sessions happen once a week, while group therapy takes place daily. During group therapy sessions clients are encouraged to share their experiences with the group, as addicts can relate to each other’s stories, and in doing so are able to reflect and gain insight into their own behaviours. Group therapy is lead by the trained professional counsellors of Houghton House and is an essential part of understanding one’s addictive behaviours and patterns, and the road to sober living and breaking free of them.

Clients are also asked to journal daily in a diary, which is read each morning by their assigned counsellor. This is so that the counsellor can have constant awareness of their client’s state of mind and anything they may be struggling with, in order to offer them continuous help and guidance.

Luggage checks

One of the uncomfortable experiences upon being admitted is the fact that your luggage will be checked and some items may be confiscated for the duration of your stay. This is to assure that no one brings anything into the rehab facility that could be harmful to themselves or those around them. Clients are not allowed to have any medication in their rooms. Clients that are on chronic medication will be administered their medication at specific times by a medical professional.

What not to bring to Rehab

During your time at Houghton House you will be focusing specifically on all things recovery. Anything that could be distracting to this process should be left at home. You can request a full list of items that you should not pack during your intake session, or by requesting a list from Houghton House before you go to check in to rehab.

Examples of things you should leave at home include:

  • Over the counter medications
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Pornography
  • Linen
  • Weapons
  • Electronic devices
  • Expensive jewellery
  • Food or drinks
  • Herbs
  • Revealing clothing
  • Clothing items that promote drugs or alcohol
  • Cash
  • Radios
  • Mouthwash or any other products that contain alcohol

Houghton House makes it their number one priority to use every moment to pave your way to a successful and sustainable recovery. You will never regret your stay in Houghton House’s residential inpatient programme treatment facility and you are guaranteed a solid foundation of recovery, individual therapy and a life free from addiction upon completing your stay and leaving rehab. It does, however, remain the client’s responsibility to grab onto the tools and lifestyle changes that you will be offered at Houghton House’s world-class luxury rehab rehabilitation facility, in order to ensure a lasting and successful recovery maintaining abstinence.

On a typical day Families Loved Ones and Friends are allowed  visits at the residential rehab after the first week of intake. Family therapy sessions are also held at the Houghton House addiction center

Get in touch!

Office hours: +27 11 787 9142

24 hour emergency: +27 79 770 7532

Alternatively you can click on the green envelope below and fill in a contact form. One of our professional staff members will get back to you, either by phone or via email, this is your choice. We will respect your privacy every step of the way.

Info on our rehabilitation programmes includes intensive outpatient programme aftercare programme and more info on our drug recovery programmes addiction center and treatment process.

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Kick the Drinking Habit – 6 Reasons Why

Why sobriety leads to a better life.

DRINKING HABITThe Drinking habit – It’s a pastime that many South Africans take part in. For some it’s considered an ‘ice breaker,’ while for others it’s a way to find a connection in a crowd of strangers. One thing is for sure, it has become such a common pastime around the world that to abstain from drinking is called, almost negatively, “teetotalling.”

What you may not be aware of is that there are real and significant life enhancing benefits to kicking a drinking habit.  Sobriety can literally lead you to a better life.  Here are a few of the things that make sobriety a lifestyle worth pursuing, not just for the sake of conquering an addiction, but for anyone!

Look great, feel better – lose the drinking habit

  1. There are countless studies which prove the point that a life without alcohol is actually better for you overall. Let’s start with cardiovascular health. Putting aside the claims that red wine is good for your ticker, there are studies which show that alcohol weakens the heart.  Take into consideration the following risks which our North American counterparts have revealed:
  • According to the American Heart Association, too much booze can raise the levels of certain fats in the blood (triglycerides), which have been associated with higher risks of heart disease.
  • If you drink too much you stand a chance of overloading your caloric intake and in turn finding yourself at the risk of becoming obese and even being diagnosed with diabetes.
  • Binge drinking or heavy drinking can lead to incredibly dangerous medical conditions. You could suffer a stroke, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia and even sudden cardiac death.

Putting down that glass of alcohol can also increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Alcohol is a sedative and a depressant and it interferes with one of the most important components you need for healthy energy levels and mood, sleep! Getting rid of alcohol from your diet can therefore improve your health and overall well-being.

We all know that feeling better is half of the battle towards looking healthier. Cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink is great for your skin. Drinking can cause premature aging and wrinkles. The more it advances, the worse the prognosis is for your body. Advanced stages of alcoholism is often characterised by jaundice (your skin turns yellow). In addition, because alcohol is high in empty calories, quitting can also help you get rid of that pesky beer belly! The result? A trimmer, fitter, better life.

  1. Less booze more cash.

Depending on just how severe the situation is, having a daily drinking habit can quickly empty your bank account. Even two drinks a day can add up to R1400 a month (at R25 a drink).  That is money that you could be putting towards a host of more important things – like retirement, a holiday, your child’s education or paying off debt. Do yourself a favour. Calculate how much you are spending on alcohol a week and compare it to what you owe in debt. The results may shock you. You could be drinking your financial freedom away!

  1. Time for all your hobbies

Quitting the drinking habit frees up your time, it frees up your energy and it gives you more financial freedom to pursue healthier types of personal enrichment.  No one lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office. Similarly, I challenge you to find anyone who wishes they had consumed more alcohol or regrets their sobriety. Turning away from alcohol typically opens up a whole new world, filled with opportunities to learn, to have fun and to find adventure that were not options when drinking shadowed over your time.

  1. Strong mind. Stronger focus

Abusing alcohol can wreck your brain. There is no better way to describe it, sorry.  Excessive alcohol impairs key functions like cognition, problem solving, memory and decision making. The damage occurs at a neurobiological level. Here’s how. When the alcohol enters your brain it disrupts the white matter connections, those are the information pathways between the regions of your brain which governs those all important functions. On the bright and sober side, within just a few weeks of abstinence, your body begins to repair and reverse alcohol-related damage to those very same pathways. By quitting drinking. You can strengthen your attention span and improve your mental clarity.

  1. Rebuild deep connections.

Alcohol numbs your capacity to feel. This is one of the reasons people become addicted to alcohol, they are drinking to self-medicate the pain and ease the otherwise difficult and negative emotions they cannot deal with.  Over a long period, heavy drinking can in fact decrease your ability to interact and empathise with others. But, there is a bright side.  Sobriety is a chance to wake up to a healthier, happier, fuller relationship with the people who matter to you and that is just another reason why sobriety undoubtedly leads to a better life.

  1. The science behind sobriety

Chronic alcohol abuse will lead to severe damage of the nervous system, including a change in cerebral metabolism and brain morphology.  When you severely abuse alcohol there is a Global volume reduction of grey matter and white matter. In addition, there is an increase in cerebrospinal fluid. After stopping their consumption of alcohol, however, alcoholics also demonstrate a brain volume recovery. A recent study on aimed to investigate whether improvement within the human body can take place within the first 2 weeks of abstinence.  In the study, 49 alcohol-dependent patients were scanned twice. One within the first 24 hours of detoxification and then the second after 2 weeks of supervised abstinence.

The recuperation and recovery of the affected brain loss in alcohol-dependent patients was investigated and then compared 55 healthy control subjects.  The results were incredible. After only two weeks of abstinence, a significant albeit partial recovery of grey matter volume occurred in several brain regions proving that your brain begins to recovery soon after you stop consuming alcohol.

In closing, when you make the decision to kick a drinking habit, the positive and life-altering outcomes are exponential. They compound one another and paint a clearer future. An alcohol free lifestyle is worth looking at for you if you wish to live a happier, more fulfilled and healthier life.

For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life for yourself and your child or children, call Houghton House now:

office hours:                            011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line:    079 770 7532

Alternatively you can click on the envelope bellow and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you either via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.


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4 Tips for Single Moms in Early Recovery

4 Tips for Single Moms in Early Recovery

Maintaining long-term sobriety particularly in early recovery

This is a challenge for anyone struggling with alcohol and/or substance abuse. As addiction spreads rampant across the globe, many renowned scientists and psychologists have been huge advocates in identifying the illness as a disease of the brain rather than an issue of morality. For seemingly hopeless addicts such as myself, this discovery has proven to be vital in relinquishing the stigmas and promoting recovery rather than disciplinary responses to the epidemic. From experiences in my own recovery, I’ve learned that each addict has their own journey, ultimately leading to the preservation of their own sobriety. As a single mother in recovery, I’ve come to the realisation that sustaining abstinence takes discipline rather than “will-power” and a simple 12 step program. I’m going to share my tips for single Moms in early recovery, with you.

4 Tips for Single Moms in Early Recovery

When it first came to light that I was struggling with substance abuse, as a single mother, I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt and shame. How could I continue to indulge in my vices when I had a child to protect and provide for? This concept kept me sick and running from the truth. Without hesitation, my father offered to take care of my son and gave me the opportunity to attend treatment for my addiction. It wasn’t until someone explained that if I was not well mentally, physically, and spiritually then I could be of no use to my son, that I willingly accepted the help I was offered. One of my last, most painful memories was kissing my son goodbye before I left on a plane to start my recovery. Little did I know, this would be the hardest but the best decision of my life.

Take Full Advantage of Rehabilitation

This idea seemed impossible and insane at first. When I arrived at the treatment centre, I remember every fibre of my being fighting the rules. I thought the limited “three minute phone calls… twice a week” to my son were inhumane. Looking back I realise how necessary this was to focusing on myself and healing from the pain I had been self medicating. As a mother, it’s so easy for us to wrap our identities into “single mom” or “so and so’s mom”. The idea that I was nothing more than a mother raising a child, on her own, had to be smashed. Getting down to the root of who I really was became the foundation for becoming the woman I was truly created to be. When I started to submit to the process, I dove head first into taking advantage of every second I was away from my son, taking any and all suggestions I was given and turning them into requirements for the process. I spent most of my time journaling, being as vulnerable as possible in my therapy, and surrendering to prayer and meditation.

Acting As If

Leaving treatment is when application becomes a priority. Taking everything I learned in treatment and living it. I personally think this is “what separates the men from the boys” or “women from the girls” if you will. in my early recovery period I instantly got caught up in making friends and running towards this newfound freedom without the responsibilities of being a mother. I noticed my friends and family growing concerned with my lack of effort in reuniting with my son. I was making up for lost time and felt completely justified in not setting up a home for my child to return to. This was short lived and unfulfilling. “You need to act as if your son is with you, maintain a schedule and provide structure and a safe place to be reunited with him. He needs you.” This hit me like a ton of bricks, I never provided any of those things to him in active addiction. I found myself in women’s meetings, avoiding going out during weeknights, and dedicating my free time to building a life for me and my son. Eventually “acting as if” became second nature and I was finally reunited with my son.

Get Connected to Strong Women

Coming from a place of complete mistrust of other women, due to my lack of self love and deep resentments, I gravitated towards the boys constantly seeking validation and running on empty. It wasn’t until I started connecting with strong women, that I got a taste of early recovery and the promises started to come true. I began finding women that had common goals, responsibilities, and displayed the characteristics of the woman I desperately wanted to be. Naturally the grace, compassion, and loyalty these women shared with me restored my faith in real friendships with other women. When I come across challenges and I feel discouraged, these women literally carry me when I cannot carry myself.

Find Discipline in a Schedule and Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

Over the last year, I have found myself grounded in planning out my week and asking for help when needed. For as long as I can remember, I would pride myself on “doing it all on my own.” Little did I know this was a mirage, shackling me to the bondage of victimization and unnecessary stress. I have a list of friends that don’t chastise me when I ask for help with the kids to make a meeting or meet with my sponsor. They rise to the occasion and I get to suit up and show up to do the same for them. Early recovery , indeed all recovery is all about extending a hand to help the next addict. I sit down Sunday nights and plan out my week. I find that making a to-do list and executing it weekly encourages a deep sense of accomplishment and eliminates chaos. Studies have proven that children thrive in discipline and structure. I get to make living amends to those that matter most and myself when I continue to do the things that harvest peace and ultimately long-term sobriety.

For more information on getting yourself into rehab to start a new life for yourself and your child or children, call Houghton House now:

office hours:                            011 787 9142

24/7 emergency help line:    079 770 7532

Alternatively you can click on the envelope bellow and fill in our contact form, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you either via email or phone, respecting your anonymity at all times.


contact Rehab in South Africa



need rehab

Tell-tale signs that you need rehab right now

Do you need rehab right now?

Repeat after me, you need rehab. ADDICTS NEED HELP. Say it loudly. And proudly. Most rehabilitation centres offer exclusive treatment for addicts which sits on a level tucked between the intensity of inpatient medical care and the more independent level gained from outpatient treatment.

need rehabWhat needs to be made very clear is that being actively involved in a formalised drug rehabilitation programme is a prerequisite and fundamental stepping stone if you will, for many people who are looking to find a way forward to recover from substance abuse. Unfortunately, there is a hitch. Although addicts need help, many avoid the formal care that a rehabilitation centre can offer. Instead, they will prefer to take on the dragon of addiction alone. Whilst this is a brave and noble idea heed this warning: Realistically it is almost overwhelmingly difficult, dare I say it, almost impossible to break free from the shackles of addiction without seeking out assistance – more so if the addiction has grown to a certain level.

There are some unmistakable tell-tale signs which show that drug use has taken over and Pandora’s Box has been opened.  You may want to start the journey of recovery by looking into a recovery programme if you recognise the following signs. And remember, you are not alone. Addicts need help and we can help you.

It’s just you and your fix? do you need rehab?

Man o man! This is something which slaps you in the face when you realise it has happened. You go from a life filled with work, love, life and hobbies, to one determined by the substance you are using. It absorbs your thoughts, your ideas and everything you do revolve around ‘Planet Fix.’  If you can see that you are spending more time, money, effort and resources to get your next fix then you may be addicted and you need help.  As the shadowy monster of addiction creeps up and slowly takes over your life, the light you once shone so brightly on your hobbies, interests and past times falls dimmer. The passion and willingness be around loved ones and friends fizzles out and you find yourself battling to take part in things you once enjoyed so much. If this is something you can associate yourself with, if this is your story right now then you may have a problem and could probably do with the immense benefits gained from enrolling in an addiction treatment programme.


Your body has seen better days. do you need rehab?

It’s no secret – drugs and your body don’t mix well. The effects substance abuse has on your health is a book filled with MANY pages, most of which can, if unchecked lead to dark and devastating endings. Think of some of the more ‘well-known’ links such as alcohol addiction and the effect on your liver and the abundance of Cancer cases so horrifically documented with its abuse.

If you think about it, substance abuse batters the mind and the body relentlessly, causing a spectrum of issues. Here are some of the worst:

Physically, drug abuse effects on your body range from mild to deadly. Yes, deadly. Depending on factors such as the length of use, the type of drug and the amount taken, you can wind up with stomach cramps or die. I am sorry, but it needs to be said. Abusing a drug is essentially like taking a gun and playing Russian roulette. It is only a matter of time before your luck runs out.

Mentally, the toll on an addict is almost certain. Most drugs on the market change the way a person’s mind works. The mental state is altered not only by the drug and its effects, but by damage to the brain and all the cogs inside. These changes can lead to anxiety and agitation, states of depression and sometimes, psychosis.

If you see this happening to you and you can tell that your mental and/or physical self is changing, you may need help in the form of rehabilitation. Addicts need help and if your body or mind’s symptoms are serious it is going to end badly and you may want to look at finding a professional to assist you.

** A HUGE plus of enrolling into a programme such as those offered at Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centres is the incredibly effective usage of monitoring of patients. As you work through your recovery you are looked after and monitored closely – enabling you to stay clean, focus on your new path and rest assured that you are in the safe hands of a professional.

Addicts need help to open the floodgates

Remember that first time you took a drug? It was overwhelmingly powerful, new and strong. It was because your body and mind was not accustomed to that drug and sadly it will be the only time you feel that way when taking that amount of the drug.  As the dam of addiction fills and you pump your body with bigger amounts of the drug to feel the same way you did before, the walls begin to crack under the strain of a forced progression. It’s called tolerance and it is a dangerous place to be.  As you take more of the substance to get the high you are chasing, you put yourself in a precarious position: Will the dam wall hold or will the dam wall burst?  Or, will the floodgates of your life, in the form of rehabilitation open in time and see you empty your life of substance abuse through the proven lifesaving methods offered in a treatment centre?  There is not a single drug on the planet or in space that is worth dying for. If you are using a drug in a large amount and your dam is filling up fast, you are in danger and you need rehab and should look immediately into an addiction treatment programme.

You are dealing with a mental illness! You need rehab right now!

The statistics don’t lie. Studies show that millions of people throughout the world and indeed here in South Africa are dealing with a mental illness. Many millions are dealing with a substance use disorder and more importantly – millions of people are dealing with both of those at the same time. Basically, there is a good probability that if you are already dealing with a mental disorder you are probably also trying to deal with a substance abuse disorder at the same time.

There is no single reason why someone will abuse a substance.  Self-medication to deal with a mental illness is one factor. Another reason is that people use a drug to alter the state of mind that they are in, and that leads to it becoming a coping mechanism. There is a massive danger with this. Using a substance can set off or worsen a mental health symptom or issue and this can have a domino effect where the drug is used to depress the any new or existing symptoms that pop up.

It is not an easy fix. Helping a patient who has a co-occurring condition is a complicated process, far more than someone who is battling with the effects of substance abuse only. Professionals need to address both the substance use disorder and the mental health condition simultaneously – no easy task. These addicts, just like any other addict need help and probably more than we can even think so that they do not venture into the dark realm of relapse – a very real and terrible possibility when the treatment doesn’t correctly address the mental health issues which are present. Thankfully, there are organisations such as Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centres who offer world-class  Dual diagnosis treatment options, which provide specialized care to get you onto that all-important road to sobriety. You can live your best life with the right care.


You tried to swim to shore but the distance was too far.

Being an addict is a condition that is visited by events which act like big waves in your swim to safety, to sobriety and to recovery. These ‘waves’ are called relapse and they come and go like any tide in the ocean. When you falter through exhaustion and you restart your swim there is an important recommitment to abstinence needed in a new way to make sure that you are headed to the shore. Think of it as learning a different type of stroke because the previous one made you tired and yielded fewer results than you wanted.

Every single day there are people like you who are trying a range of different ways to end their addiction. The most common methods are self-help groups such as AA meetings and outpatient treatment. Sometimes people need a little more help as these methods may not be strong enough to get you over that riptide and through those barrelling waves. Rehabilitation centres may be the float you require to see you reach your goal of a new, happier and clean YOU. If you have been stumbling and relapsing with no sign of the cycle ending perhaps you need rehab and it is time to look into a rehabilitation centre like Houghton House.

Addicts need rehab – Rehabilitation is the solution!

Maybe you are sitting here right now and struggling to comprehend what it must be like to be clean and happy again. Worry no more. Finding your way to Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centres will see you answering that very same thought with a smile on your face. If you need rehab here are some of the services you can expect to be given when checking into a rehabilitation centre:

  • Screening and diagnosis of substance use disorders.
  • Screening and diagnosis of co-occurring mental health disorders (dual diagnosis).
  • Drug and alcohol testing.
  • Medication management.
  • Substance use and mental health education.
  • Substance use and mental health treatment.
  • Transitional services that include discharge planning and aftercare services.
  • Case management to provide connection to available resources.

There is a classic saying, different strokes for different folks. This also applies to rehabilitation.

Every rehabilitation centre will provide a different level and form of care. Some may focus on dual diagnosis conditions while others will have varying degrees of cost and programmes associated with those costs. Entering into outpatient treatment programmes will, in general hit your wallet less than inpatient treatment but again this varies from centre to centre.  Your best advice right now is to pick up the phone and chat to a professional who is waiting to help you. If you are an addict and you need help, or this article has hit home and you want to break free from addiction call Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centres now on 011 787 9142 or the emergency (after hours) hotline on 079 770 7532.




Is Drunk Me the Real Me,

Is Drunk Me the Real Me, Taking a Deeper Look at Yourself

Alcohol is an omnipresent part of the society we live in. But if you can’t stop after just one or two drinks, you may eventually fall down the rabbit hole of a blackout, only to wake to the harsh reality in the morning, laced with the ugly, embarrassing truths of the things that you have done the night before. And can’t remember. Thinking to yourself “is drunk me the real me”?

Is Drunk Me the Real Me,Psychologists say that there are four ‘drunk personality types’ and this is based on how you handle your liquor.

According to a study published in the journal Addiction Research and Theory ( there is science that proves “drunk types” really do exist.

This research was conducted on around 200 undergraduates form the University of Missouri-Columbia. The students were divided into subgroups, based on a five-factor method, the fields psychologists use to establish personality, which include:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

The following guide is not just useful in finding out what your ‘drunk personality type’ is, but also a guideline for determining if you might have a serious problem with alcohol.


  1. Hemingway

Members of this group represent people who do not experience any alcohol-related consequences, or undergo radical character transformations. This group can drink what they want without anyone batting an eyelid, just like Ernest Hemingway.


  1. Mary Poppins

Like the cheerful nanny with her sunny disposition, this group shows more of an increase in extraversion than others. This group of drinkers is the sweet, responsible types who experience few to no alcohol-related problems.


  1. The Nutty Professor

This essentially, is the shy guy who becomes the life of the party after some liquid courage. However, this personality would not go as far as blacking out or behaving in such a way that regret would be on the cards the following morning. Just like the Nutty Professor, people in this group are transformed, chemically, into the extroverted “Buddy Love”.


  1. Mr Hyde

Taking after the evil alter ego of Dr Jekyll, members of this group experience the most negative drunk transformation. Behaviour include lack of responsibility, intellectuality and minimal to severe hostility. This is the only group that is statistically more likely to experience harmful consequences from their drinking behaviour. Members in this group often drink to the point of blacking out. If this is you, you might want to seriously reconsider if drinking, and the consequences you and those around you suffer from your drinking, is worthwhile.

The dreaded blackout

Alcohol affects the prefrontal cortex, the area in the brain that is responsible for judgement, impulse control and decision-making. The moment you overdo it, drinking too much and too quickly, your brain loses its ability to organize your emotional processing centre. During a blackout it is impossible to control your actions and thoughts, simply put, there is no reasoning around whether what you are about to do is a good or bad idea; you have become a loose canon.

Due to a shutdown of the storage process in the brain, which is part of what occurs during a blackout, you no longer catalogue memories either, which leaves you with the awkward anxiety, once you wake up, of figuring out what happened the night before.

Is drunk me the real me?

You may be any of the four ‘drunk personalities’ in your lifetime, but one stands staunchly alone against the rest – Mr Hyde. The inebriated horror that throws a dark shadow over any kind-heartedness that may have been exhibited when sober. The one who wakes up in the morning, and have to listen to the pain they caused, with no recollection, but faced with the horrific consequences of a drunken night.

Dr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

The profound mental change that occurs in this ‘drunk personality’ can affect your life, and those who stand in the path of your destruction, with huge devastation. Never knowing which drink will flip the switch to blackness is a indisputable clue to avoid the very first drink, and evade the wreckage all together.

Seek treatment

Are you Mr Hyde? Alcoholism is a serious disease; do not hesitate to ask for help. Houghton House offers expert advice on alcohol addiction treatment options.

For more information do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Office hours: 011 787 9142

24 hour emergency: 079 770 7532

Alternatively click on the envelope below and fill in the contact form and we will get back to you by phone or email, respecting your anonymity at all times.


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Mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol, and Why it's Bad for you

Mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol, and Why it’s Bad for you

There is a very specific reason why you will see alarmingly bright warning signs on the sides of prescription bottles. Like a poisonous fish,  the colours are a warning to be careful before you consume and to be careful about what you consume when taking the medication.  One of those warnings relates to mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol and it’s something you should take extra heed of.

Benzodiazepines and Alcohol … a bad mix

Mixing Benzodiazepines and Alcohol, and Why it's Bad for youThe warning, which often reads as plainly as ‘Do not drink alcohol while you take this medication.’ You don’t need to have a white coat and the word Doctor before your name on a business card to realise that mixing any form of prescription drug with alcohol is a silly idea, but what you should realise that mixing benzodiazepines and your favourite tipple is INCREDIBLY dangerous. If right now you or someone you know and love is abusing themselves by mixing these two items possibly only a really good a drug and rehabilitation treatment centre can help and most likely could be the all-important life vest to rescue from very choppy waters of substance abuse.

Benzodia… what?

Alright so we have been throwing this vowel saturated, super consonant endowed word called “Benzodiazepines” around, but what is it and where are they found?

Benzodiazepines are medications that slow responses in the central nervous system, thus producing a feeling of calm and relaxation. They have many nicknames and street names, often called “Benzos.”  Discovered by accident in the 1950s, they were welcomed with open arms by the medical world as a safer, more controlled substance than barbiturates.

Fast forward a few years later into the 1960s and these trusty medicines were being used to treat a school bus of human problems including anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia, muscle spasms and seizures. Here’s the all-important bit of medicinal guidance about them, they are only to be used short term because, yep you guessed it they are extremely addictive.

Um, so which prescribed medicines are benzodiazepines ?

Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), Klonopin (clonazepam), Serax (oxazepam) and Rohypnol (flunitrazepam)

Why is it dangerous to mix benzodiazepines and alcohol?

So don’t get us wrong, used correctly, Benzodiazepines are actually a relatively effective medicine to use, as directed. The moment you bring uncle alcohol to the party though, that’s when things go south. Both alcohol and benzodiazepines are central nervous depressants and they both have a sedative effect on the user. Now, you use both together and guess what, yep, the effects intensify. Are you starting to see why you are moving into the realms of substance abuse and alcohol abuse and this is a very BAD idea?

What will happen to me if I mix the two?

Unfortunately unless you are handy with a crystal ball, it is almost impossible to predict exactly how mixing benzodiazepines and combining alcohol will affect you. Why? Because there are a number of factors that affect the situation such as food consumption, how you absorb alcohol and how much of both alcohol and benzodiazepines you have taken and their potency (alcohol content etc). Your age, your weight and health situation including the state of your kidneys and liver are also key factors.

Let’s be very honest for a second

When you mix benzodiazepines and alcohol the side effects can result in some serious physical and mental issues. Here are few of the big ones that can and most likely will happen if you don’t listen to that big warning label:

  • Delusions
  • Issues with co ordination
  • Confusion
  • Impaired gag reflexes
  • Psychosis
  • Mania
  • Agitation
  • Amnesia
  • Dizziness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Respiratory depression
  • Mania
  • Aggression

If you feel you need addiction treatment and you or a loved one find you’re unable to stay away from benzo’s and or alcohol, please call Houghton House and arrange an assessment with one of our professional staff members. Alternatively, you can click on the green envelope below and fill in our contact form and we will get back to you via email or give you a call – respecting your anonymity at all times.

011 787 9142 (office hours)

079 770 7532 (24 hr emergency)


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help for addiction

Do you have a friend who you think needs help for addiction?

Are you an Addict who needs Help or does a Friend need help for Addiction?

There are many forms of addiction, and it covers a wide range of obsession and dependence. From enjoying something as apparently innocent as shopping or working – all the way to alcohol and hard drugs, they are all degrees of enslavement.

help for addictionI enjoy my work, and my wife loves shopping. Does that mean we’re addicts? No, not necessarily, but the devil is in the detail… if we consistently seem to be enjoying those activities over and above all others, then I believe we would need to take a good hard look at the possibility of being addicted.

You may have heard the horror stories of having to share a life with an Alcoholic, but please understand that an obsessed Shopaholic in the family can be just as devastating and need help for addiction.


  1. Dependency
  2. Habit
  3. Obsession
  4. Passion
  5. Infatuation
  6. Mania
  7. Love
  8. Enslavement

Addiction – a variety of choice.


  1. Alcohol
  2. Drugs
  3. Inhalants
  4. Medication
  5. Tobacco


  1. Gambling
  2. Sex
  3. Internet
  4. Shopping
  5. Working


Each item on these lists has sub-categories, so there are many ways to lose yourself and those closest to you.

I consider cigarette smoking to be a relatively benign form of addiction. I was sucking down 3 packs a day when I quit years ago, yet today I still unconsciously reach for a smoke after enjoying a good meal. So I’m an addict who probably still needs help for addiction.

Help for addiction  -with your family and loved ones?

So, what behavioural characteristics should one look out for to understand whether you or a loved one or family member has a benign or malevolent form of addiction? The more serious the addiction, the more prevalent the mood swings. It’s difficult to spot because addicts can be quite cunning at concealment, but if you suspect an addict needs help, keep an eye out for these give-away signs

of personality changes:

  1. Activities that were once enjoyed are no longer of interest
  2. Missing appointments and other dates
  3. Chronic fatigue and changing sleep patterns
  4. Ignoring friends and neglecting family and loved ones
  5. Taking days off work for no apparent reason
  6. Over-reacting to helpful comments from others
  7. Becoming secretive and devious.


and signs of changes in health:

  1. Red tired eyes
  2. Bad skin & hair
  3. Weight loss
  4. Forgetfulness
  5. Sweating
  6. Irritability
  7. Aggressiveness
  8. Depression


So what’s next?

Once you’re convinced that the addict is indeed in need of help, it’s best if you can have a one on one discussion with him or her in a quiet area with no distractions or disturbances. Address the problem as you see it, showing understanding, compassion and an honest desire to help, offering to share your genuine concern for their wellbeing.

Ask them to share their burden. If they are receptive to this, gently endeavour to steer them toward seeking professional help. Be kind and sympathetic always, never hard and argumentative, even if their response is sometimes quarrelsome.

Houghton House help for addictionShould this first attempt be unsuccessful, don’t rush it. Suggest you chat again another time. Meanwhile. make contact with a professional at Houghton House addiction centre to talk with a counsellor. Discuss the problem and ask for guidance regarding the feasibility of getting a small group of concerned friends and loved ones together socially – ostensibly for a meal . More of a love-in, really, with all participants groomed to play it cool and easy, but concerned.

If this proves successful in at least getting an agreement from the addict to talk to a counsellor at a reputable rehabilitation centre, like Houghton House and arrange an introductory meeting – with yourself attending.

For more information and advice and help for addiction for yourself, a loved one or a friend call Houghton House now – to speak to a qualified professional who can guide you further – or click the green envelope below to fill in our contact form.

Office hours: 011 787 9142

24 hour emergency: 079 770 7532

Alternatively you can click on the green envelope below, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you – either privately via email, or if you request a telephone call.


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The connection between addiction and mental health

The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Health

What if I told you that the substance abuse may not be your only problem? What if the drug and/or alcohol addiction you have was preceded by something else? A mental disorder? Or the other way around? There is a strong connection between addiction and mental health. For many years, it was suggested that you would need to beat or overcome one disorder before you were able to take on the other. As Bob Dylan once said, “The times they are a changing,” and there is now a real connection between addiction, mental health and treatment of both at the same time. It’s called dual diagnosis.

The connection between addiction and mental healthThe idea of dual diagnosis or what is often called co-occurring disorders can be described as having both a substance abuse problem and a mental illness experience at the same time. It is not uncommon for someone who has a mental illness to turn to a drug or a drink to try and get a hold of and control their symptoms and this often leads to addiction. Here are some scary facts to your head around: In the USA – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) found that of these people struggling with dual disorders, the majority—55.8%— don’t receive any treatment for either disorder. A mere 7.4% get treatment for both issues. In addition, those who are mentally ill are more likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol. According to SAMHSA, 26.7% of people with mental health issues abused illicit drugs in 2012. In the general public, only 13.2% of people abused drugs.

The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Health

In the past things were not clear cut when it came to dual diagnosis. Mental health and substance abuse organisations did not always work together so the curating of vital statistics did not always occur. This also meant that getting treatment as a dual diagnosis patient was not always possible.  Patients were often instructed to get clean first then the door to mental health treatment would be opened. Now even the most basic understanding of substance abuse and mental health issues reveal that there is often an undeniable correlation between substance abuse and an underlying mental illness or disorder, treating one before or without the other would often lead to failure more than success.

The first step

In order to understand the connection between addiction and mental health and treat both, you must recognise that is a person is suffering from two things ;a mental health issue AND substance abuse – and this is why people are often now dual screened in order to pick up the presence of both disorders. Your treatment centre professional will look for mental health warning signs despite you entering recovery for the purpose of finding a solution to your substance abuse issue. These warning signs vary but can include mood swings, strange or confused thinking patterns,  issues with friends and interactions on a social level, problems with focus and concentration and even thoughts of suicide.

Being dual diagnosed

If you are diagnosed with a mental health disorder or illness such as bipolar, anxiety or personality disorder or schizophrenia or depression AND an addiction disorder whether it be substance based like alcohol or drugs OR behavioural such as gambling  or sex addiction, there is a possibility that you will be classified as a dual diagnosis patient and you will receive an integrated treatment programme to lead you along the road to recovery. This treatment programme will integrate both a mental health and substance abuse treatment approach.

So what happens in a dual diagnosis treatment?

That’s a good question! Treatment may vary depending on the centre you visit but there are some common methods used now that you have discovered the connection between addiction and mental health and your treatment professional is helping you recover.

Here are some top methods used:

  • detoxification,
  • inpatient rehabilitation
  • supportive housing
  • psychotherapy
  • medications and self-help groups

Receiving Inpatient detoxification is often seen as being more effective when it comes to initial sobriety. These treatment centres like Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres will provide medication and the health services you need to manage and treat the substance abuse and all the underlying causes.

Centres which offer residential treatment could help you if you have recently become sober and want to avoid a relapse. Remember that there are certain medications which can help treat mental health illnesses and make withdrawal and detoxification easier and less strenuous.

The use of self-help and support groups give members a place to share and talk about their problems, celebrate the wonderful breakthroughs and successes as well as discuss and share experiences with people who specialize in the field. One of the most important things to remember about using a self-help group is that it is a safe space where you can form great friendships which are not only healthy but can encourage you to remain on the clean and sober journey.

Recovering from addiction to a substance is already challenging. To have to deal with a mental illness makes the road to recovery even more of a challenge but fear not, once you have been diagnosed correctly and get the correct assistance and treatment from professionals who are fully trained to deal with both illnesses, the lights on the road to your recovery shine brighter than ever before.



What you should know about addiction support as an outsider.

What you should know about addiction support as an outsider.

Addiction Support. The words are thrown around by the media, by your friends and by almost everyone in some form. Joe is addicted to ice cream. Mary is addicted to exercise. But what about when it comes to substance addiction? If you have never been addicted to a drug or alcohol can you understand what it feels like? Fret not, come take a trip down addiction lane and find out what you should know about addiction support as an outsider.What you should know about addiction as an outsider.

Let’s start at the beginning. What motivates someone to pursue their addiction, despite the costs, monetary, social and relationship wise? Remember , this article is about understanding addiction from an outsider’s perspective and isn’t here to stigmatise or represent any individual or a group.


The beginning

So sit back for a second and imagine. Imagine that you had this niggle. This niggle that made you feel like you were not comfortable with being you as you are now. Maybe it’s because you think you failed at everything you attempted or because you were restless and not satisfied with your level of success you achieved. It could be because in your mind you had thoughts and feelings which made you feel apart, even different perhaps from others. Maybe these feelings were not good and they made you feel like you were not as good as someone else or a group of others. Or perhaps you were actually told that you were no good and that you were worthless and really only existed to as a means to an end for other people’s needs. Despite having positive feelings from those who loved you,  it didn’t matter – you either denied them addiction support – or it was not satisfying to you.

The first step

Now with all those feelings of despair inside imagine you have an experience. You sip on a drink or you take a drug and all of a sudden you feel wonderful. No more sadness, no more hurt. Just happiness. You are feeling successful and good and worth something. It feels good and right to be alive. Something has come into your life to make you feel okay. It may not be cheap, and it could be dangerous to get hold of that thing that makes you feel good but it is worth the risk, the pain, the dangers and the cost just to feel that same way you did before. If there is any chance of feeling alive and happy again, you will go for it.

Walking through the forest alone

No one understands you, not the ones who aren’t on this trip with you anyway. How can they possibly see how beautiful the forest is, the happy place you are in. There are people who know what you are feeling, and you want to hang out with them because they get you. These are the people who also feel like you do when you are high. Your addictions have the same pursuit.

What you should know about addiction from an outsider’s perspective is that the person who feels this way is wholly and completely seeking a different reality from the one they are in, and regardless of the reason or cause, it is a journey they are on and the destination is not one that has a happy outcome, irrespective of the vehicle they are using.

A price to pay

Now, back to the journey you are on as an addict.  With every journey, there is a price to pay. Whether it is a physical one, like losing or putting on weight or suffering from health issues or a monetary cost or worse, relationship or love cost, there is a price. None of that matters to you though, because it never made you happy back then before you found your drug, your escape and your reason to live. Or so you think. And the more people point and stare, criticizing you and judging you and your habit, the more you want to seek comfort and safety in the safe cradle that is your addiction. The longer the lectures about your life, the more you think and convince yourself that they don’t know what they are talking about and only you know the truth. Look, you wish they were telling the truth but underneath this protective blanket of addiction you see that normal life was never for you.

But you actually want a regular life.

You want that normal life. You want the satisfaction that you see others getting from a job, a career, a family however in order to get any of those you need self-belief and unfortunately self-belief has always dodged you and slipped from your hands.

You want the cure but the quicksand has you.

Generally, people with an addiction leave a double life. On the one side you try and hold the secret under a jacket, keeping the information and true identity of your abuse hidden from most people, even when it is quite obvious to those near you. You look in the mirror and even then find it difficult to admit to the man staring right back at you that being an addict is a real problem. Why? Because when you are high, no matter for how long or little, during that time you feel like everything is going to be okay. You want that magical elixir called a cure for your addiction but you don’t want to deal with everything the addiction has left in its wake.

The fork in the road, what you should know about addiction support as an outsider.

The cure is there, on a different path to the one you are on now. It is possible for every single addict. It means however that you stop walking that route that you are on and veer off . This means confronting the addiction head on, before it was an addiction. That’s right, you need to find out what the cause was and face the problems that caused the addiction in the first place. Then you need to start taking responsibility for your behaviour and actions and realise what it has done to others, particularly those close to you. It means starting to appreciate the smaller things in life, and breaking down the hard challenges into manageable pieces.

In summary what you should know about addiction support is that there is a whole world that is thinly disguised by addiction. This article showed you that it is a journey, albeit a false one, which requires diligence and the will to be better, to do better and to fight for yourself. Not an easy task, but next time you hear the word ADDICTION being thrown around you will realise just how heavy that word actually is.

For help for yourself or a loved one in the throes of addiction,  reach out and contact us now.

office hours: 011 787 9142

24/7 emergency: 079 770 7532

or click on the green envelope below and one of our professional staff members will get back to you on addiction support, either by email or by phone, you let us know. Your anonymity is always respected.


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Addiction in the Workplace

How to Deal with Addiction in the Workplace

How to deal with addiction in the workplace

We spend a good amount of our life at work.  We deal with deadlines, stress and other issues which affect our emotions right there at our desk. Another issue you must be aware of like it or not is drug abuse at work. Do you know how to deal with addiction in the workplace? If not, we can help.

Gone are the days where the picture of an addict was a homeless guy under a bridge. No, it can be Peter the admin guy with the ‘Don’t talk to me until I have had a cuppa’ mug staring at you over the printer. In fact studies show that around seven out of ten people suffering with an addiction have a job. Now look around at how many people you employ. More than 10? Guess what, you probably have an addict in your workplace. Now before you dash over to Peter and make him spill his Coffee, there are a few things you need to know about how to deal with addiction in the work place.Addiction in the Workplace

Your employees’ addiction could be costing you money in a variety of ways.  Although they are working, a functioning addict is more than likely to be less productive than they should be. One of the main issues when figuring out how to deal with addition to workplace is the question of safety.  An employee with an addiction is more than likely to suffer an injury while on the clock and you know that means health care and possibly lawsuits. Again, before turning into Donald Trump and shouting “You’re fired!” exercise a bit of restraint and perhaps consider helping your employee or colleague so they can recover and overcome the addiction and keep their job. That way they win, the business wins and you don’t add unemployment and addiction to the list of issues he or she has to tackle.

So how do you deal with addiction in the workplace? Here are some tips and tricks to help you help an employee or colleague who is affected by substance abuse:



Create a list of rules and regulations which will govern the use of alcohol and drug use in the workplace. Educate your employees about the dangers of using substances at work . Enforce drug tests. NOTE:  You will need to give employees notice of these new policies before they come into force.


As a manager, when asking yourself “ How am I going to deal with addiction in the workplace all by myself?” stop and remember you have managers, use them! But first, train them up. I am sure you have a crack management team who are great at their jobs – how familiar are they when it comes to spotting the signs of addiction? Not great? Educate them then. If your managers are trained to spot the signs and detect addiction early it allows you to help employees and colleagues before this problem is allowed to advance.


Got your team trained to spot signs of addiction? Good. Now get them to keep records of any incidents which may be linked to addiction. That way, when it comes to confronting or approaching an employee there is more evidence which can help convince them that a problem does exist.


If you think you know someone at work who is suffering with an addiction, you must address it as fast as possible.  Do it privately, and don’t try and victimise the person in question. Feelings of embarrassment and shame could be felt by the person in question, so be gentle, kind and discreet. The outcome of the intervention is directly linked with the job they undertake. If they deal with people directly or handle heavy machinery you may need to move them out to a place less likely to impact the brand or harm them .


Look, just because you spoke to the employee in question it doesn’t mean that they are now substance free and on their way. In almost 9 out of 10 cases of this nature , the person will require addiction treatment .  You can assist them by offering them guidance towards suitable treatment centres which offer programmes suited to their individual needs.


Call now and speak to one of our professional staff members

office hours 011 787 9142


emergency hours 079 770 7532

alternatively fill in a contact form and we will get back to you


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residential rehab

How to use your time in residential rehab to the best of your ability

How to use your time in residential rehab to the best of your ability:

The prospect of having to be admitted into a rehab facility is daunting for any one of us. While rehab gives you the opportunity to escape everyday life to focus on yourself and your recovery, it still carries many challenges. Truth be told, this might be the most courageous thing you will do in your life!

The idea that you live in close quarters with unfamiliar people for anything from 30 – 42 days is enough to make anyone feel uncomfortable. However, as unnerving as it may seem Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre has witnessed the astonishing success of residential rehab in many of its patients, since opening its doors in 1995.

residential rehab

When you begin your treatment the initial focus is on safe detoxification and stabilisation. Once this is complete things get considerably easier.

Here are six ways in which you can better prepare yourself for both before you begin rehab, and whilst your programme at Houghton House residential rehab is in action.

1.Trust the process

Alex Hamlyn, founder and director of Houghton House, walked out of 23 years of harrowing addiction in 1994 and has remained clean since. This means that you are treated and understood, first of all, by another addict.

The treatment centre is further staffed by highly trained professionals including:  medical doctors, social workers, certified addiction counsellors, nursing staff, consulting psychologists and psychiatrists. With them you are in safe hands and treated with dignity, care and empathy. With over 22 years of experience Houghton House is South Africa’s most established private addiction treatment centre. Following the multi-disciplinary Minnesota Model of treatment it provides a high success rate of recovery and rehabilitation. Thus, in order to utilise these tools to the best of their abilities, it requires simply from you to trust the residential rehab process.

2. Be willing to change

Change is why you are here, the reason you are considering going to a rehab. Remember that what you are willing to put in is what you will get out. The more willing you are, the more successful your treatment will be. Your willingness to be challenged, to be taught and to change will be met with our utmost dedication to change your life and free you from addiction.

3. Rehab rules

Rehab clinics are under absolute professional duty to safeguard the vulnerable patients that are in their care. Often times, rules may seem irritating, or childish, especially because you are suddenly faced with instructions you’ve never had to adhere to before. It may make you feel rebellious when certain things are confiscated for the duration of your stay, but everything that is done, is done in order to keep you safe.

4. Be honest

As addicts we are conditioned to deceive others and ourselves. We often minimise usage or experiences out of a place of shame and guilt. When attending rehab you will benefit from individual and group therapy sessions. It is vital that you are as honest as you can be, in order to fully utilise this platform to discuss your experiences as an addict. And in turn allowing those around you to be the best help they can be to you.

5. Apply yourself

Having successfully completed a residential programme you will have fully detoxed and stabilised. You will have met some incredible people and have formed a trusting relationship with your counsellor, psychologist and peers. You will feel safe and have experienced the freedom of life without addiction. However, if you are unable to translate recovery into the real word, then everything you would have learned and experienced in treatment will be in vain. Fortunately Houghton House will prepare you for this, but it is ultimately up to you to apply what you have learned here.

6. Follow suggestions

In the 30 – 42 days that you will spend in residential treatment your counsellor, psychologist and peers will get to understand and know you and the life that you will be returning to upon leaving. Suggestions will be made to keep you clean and these may often be difficult recommendations to follow. Nonetheless, it is paramount that you take these seriously if you want to stay a recovered addict.

7. Strengthening your foundation – Secondary and Tertiary Care

The General Addiction Programme (GAP) is the secondary care facility, located in Ferndale, Johannesburg. The duration of this programme is on a month-to-month basis, with a suggestion of a three-month stay. The programme provides guidance on establishing a new lifestyle, which is conducive to sustained and successful recovery. It facilitates greater education, goal setting and lifestyle changes in each client.

Houghton House’s Halfway House provides, in the form of tertiary care, a safe living environment for those who are fully re-integrated into the working environment or are looking for jobs.

We Can Help

We offer expert advice on being placed in our treatment facility, as well as guidance on intervention processes. Houghton House is aligned with all major medical aid schemes. For more information do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Office hours: 011 787 9142

24 hour emergency: 079 770 7532

To speak to our Admissions Coordinator residential rehab on please click on the link


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rehab centre near you

Everything you need to know about finding a drug rehab centre near you

Everything you need to know about finding a drug rehab centre near you

There is always hope.We are going to tell you everything you need to know about finding a drug rehab centre near you. It does not matter your age, financial situation or length of addiction, there is a safe and trustworthy treatment option near you.  As with most decisions in life, when deciding on which course of action you want to take to deal with your addiction, you should consider the following points which will help in choosing the right programme for you.

  • What personal circumstances am I dealing with?
  • What do my finances look like?
  • How severe is my addiction?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself, but don’t get bogged down by the answers too much, rather see them as a way to define the parameters needed to make sure you get the individualised treatment you need to enhance the chances of sobriety and ultimately create a stable and fulfilling recovery. The road to your own success will be determined by the directions YOU choose to create.

rehab centre near you

One of the most important questions to ask when seeking out treatment for a drug and/or alcohol addiction is location, location, location.  Some treatment programmes may be a short distance from home while others may require a lengthy drive across the province. Some may even require cross country movement.  Depending on the severity of your addiction, inpatient treatment (staying at the treatment centre) may be required, you should think carefully about the pros and cons of each treatment centre. Remember, this is your journey and you are the captain of your recovery ship!

Here are a few common questions you may be asking:

  1. Is it better to get treatment close to home or at a remote centre?

To be honest, there isn’t really a straight forward answer to this. Your own personal circumstances and finances will play a factor in the decision.

Here are some arguments FOR treatment near home:

  • It may be financially cheaper than travelling
  • It may assist with an intervention, particularly if you desire to get a person to treatment quickly and easily.
  • Family situations may be less affected.

Here are some arguments FOR treatment at a rehab centre:

  • You remove the person from the people and scenarios which could be relapse triggers
  • Rehab centres are protective places offering supportive, drug free environments
  • Out of sight, out of mind. If a person is far from the lure of drug or alcohol access, there is less exposure to the thought of access to the substance.
  • It is about you. Often a person who is near loved ones may focus on them rather than themselves which can hinder progress towards recovery.

Will individualised treatment help me recover and find sobriety?

When you send your car in to be serviced, the mechanic will look at your specific model and work on it specifically , a BMW will have different parts to a VW and so on. Similarly, individualised treatment is specifically tailored to each person’s own needs and requirements.

Not only is this important, but in addition individual treatment can also deal with physical and mental needs as part of the treatment. This is of particular importance to those who have co-occurring mental health issues.

Did you know : Impatient rehab centres that have individualised tailor made programmes see a higher rate of retention and observe better treatment outcomes when compared to regular non personal programmes?


Why should I consider a medical detox?

Firstly let’s define a medical detox. When you are aiming towards the goal of a sober state, there are certain drugs which will require that you address the physical addiction before you can conquer the psychological one. A medical detox aids and eases the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Here are some of the drugs which often require a medical detox:




It will benefit you the most if you can get treatment for both physical and psychological addiction at the same place – which is the case for inpatient treatment.

Does my family play a role in my decision?

This depends on you. In certain circumstances having little or no contact with certain people particularly those who may accentuate or perpetuate your addiction is beneficial to your road to recovery. No temptation , triggering or encouragement towards a drug is best.

In other situations, the support of family and family therapy can play an integral part of your treatment. This also is something to consider if you are going to a centre near your home, where your loved ones can visit or if you are going to be far from home and visiting will require much time and effort.

How long is treatment?

This is a question with many factors leading to an answer.  Inpatient programmes often require shorter treatment times due to the positive and intense nature of the treatment. It can vary from as little as 30 days to as long as several months or longer.

Here are the most basic factors which will impact the treatment duration :

The drug of abuse

The severity of the addiction

Your financial situation

Family matters, especially if someone is dependent on you


If you have a co-occurring disorder

 Where is a reliable treatment centre which will look after my needs ?

I personally recommend Houghton House Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation Centre.

With 23 years of experience,  Houghton House Group has offered high-quality Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation in South Africa.

They offer specialist treatment for those suffering with alcoholism and or drug dependency and is  the leading treatment centre authority in drugs and alcohol as well as substance abuse treatment.

Working with the multi-disciplinary Minnesota Model of treatment,  Houghton House provides a high success rate of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation.

What is the Minnesota Model?

The Minnesota Model has evolved to become a holistic treatment model. It deals with substance abuse treatment. This combines the expertise of medical and therapeutic professionals. The Counsellors have hands on experience with the twelve steps, addiction treatment, dependency and recovery processes and techniques. 

Why choose Houghton house?

  • Houghton House offers a full spectrum of care for individuals from all walks of life including substance abuse evaluations, educational services, outpatient treatment, residential care, halfway house accommodation, relapse prevention and recovery support, encompassing long-term treatment.
  • Houghton House offers substance abuse and addiction and alcohol treatment programme phases that address the different stages of addiction that the individual may be in.
  • There is an experienced multi-disciplinary team of experts at Houghton House Drug & Alcohol Addiction Recovery & Rehabilitation.
  • Treatment options offered include access to recovery and behavioural therapy for dual-diagnosis patients.

Contact details:

24 hour emergency helpline:

079 7707532 (local) +27 79 7707532 (international)

Office hours: 011 787 9142 (local) +27 11 787 9142 (international)


contact Rehab in South Africa
Alcoholism and its Devastating Effects on South African Society

Alcoholism and its Devastating Effects on South African Society

Alcoholism and its devastating effects on South African society

Throughout the world alcohol and its abuse causes devastation with far-reaching socio and economic effects. Alcohol is the primary drug of abuse in South Africa1 partially due to its accessibility, legal status and social acceptability. From the high-powered businessman who enjoys Friday cocktails with clients and colleagues, the impoverished beggar on the corner all the way to children and learners as young as seven years of age, alcohol addiction affects people across all levels of South African society. Whether the person affected is a social drinker, a binge drinker or functioning alcoholic, alcoholism does not discriminate and occurs across all races, genders, ages, socio-economic boundaries and professions.Alcoholism and its Devastating Effects on South African Society

As an example of how easy it is to obtain alcohol, in my low, middle income suburb (Albertville, Gauteng) with its approximately 4700 residents2 of all ages, races and genders there are four bars, three bottle stores and two shebeens in an area of 0.88km2  – all in close walking distance of each other. Alcohol is responsible for nearly half of all motor accidents in our country and it is estimated that it affects 17.5 million South Africans1. Studies further show that children who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics1.

Apart from its detrimental impact on an alcoholic’s health (liver damage, pancreatic, brain “shrinkage”, memory loss, depression and anxiety, to mention but a few), alcoholism also leads to higher incidences of drunk driving related accidents, increased traffic fatalities, public and private property damage, higher insurance premiums, decline in health and development of chronic health conditions, decreased workplace productivity (due to absenteeism), impoverishment, homelessness, increased work related accidents, violent crimes, theft, domestic violence, child abuse and, hence, increased criminal justice and law enforcement expenses3.

The following are some staggering facts on the ravages of alcoholism on the youth in SA:

  • 122 out of every 1000 Grade 1 pupils in the Northern Cape town of De Aar have FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome – caused by mothers who drink during pregnancy) , the highest incidence of the syndrome in one population anywhere in the world1.
  • Children who have one alcoholic parent have a 60% chance of becoming one. This percentage rises to 80% if both parents are alcoholics1.
  • 60% of Grade 8-11 learners in Cape schools that misuse alcohol had to repeat their grade1.
  • By the age of 18 more than 60% of teenagers has become drunk. 30% had used school time or work time to drink4.
  • According to research done in May 2008, 20% of 14 year old boys and nearly half of 17 year old boys drank in the previous month. The figure for girls was a bit lower with 18% of 14 year olds and 35% of 17 year olds in the same period1.

With these shocking facts facing us and on the increase we must remember that alcoholism is a diagnosable disease that slowly develops over time and is in no way indicative of an individual’s moral standing. As with drug addicts and drugs, people turn to alcohol to escape, relax or to reward themselves. Users feel that they are in control but over time the alcohol creeps up on them and makes the user believe that he/she cannot cope without alcohol.

Fortunately, as a disease, alcoholism can be overcome like any form of addiction recovery, preferably at a registers drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre. While it is extremely difficult for an individual to beat alcoholism and alcohol addiction alone, together with the support of loved ones, professional medical and therapeutic experts as well as qualified counsellors the chances of recovery improve drastically. This is why at Houghton House, with our over 20 years’ experience, we remain committed to assisting alcoholics and those close to them to take the first steps to going back to leading normal lives.


For more information or assistance, for yourself or a loved one, please do not hesitate to contact us.

office hours: 011 787 9142 (local) +27 11 787 9142 (international)

24 hour emergency helpline: 079 770 7532 (local) +27 79 770 7532 (international)

Helping people to regain their lives, since 1995.


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  3. WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol, 2004
  4. The Lancet Medical Journal, 2009








Alcoholic Parent

Is the Child of an Alcoholic Parent at a Higher Risk

Is the child of an alcoholic parent at a higher risk of becoming an alcoholic due to genetics or exposure? 

Unfortunately the answer to this is, “Yes”.

Children who have one alcoholic parent have a 60% chance of becoming one. This percentage rises to 80% if both parents are alcoholics1.

Is the Child of an Alcoholic Parent at a Higher Risk ? To answer that question,  apart from leading to higher incidences of drunk driving related accidents, increased traffic fatalities, public and private property damage, unemployment, impoverishment, homelessness, violent crimes, theft and domestic violence2, alcoholism has a hugely negative impact on families and especially the children within them.Alcoholic Parent

Alarmingly, the first victims of alcoholism have not even been born. Out of 187 countries, a study found that South Africa has the highest prevalence rate of FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders), at 111 per 1,000 people. FASD is an umbrella term used for a group of permanent, life-long and irreversible conditions caused when mothers drink during pregnancy and the effects this has on a foetus. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe of these disorders with at least two characteristic facial features: growth retardation in terms of height and weight, a smaller head circumference and central nervous system damage with neurodevelopmental delays3.

For those born without being affected by FASD, research shows that the risk of becoming future alcoholics is greater for children raised in alcoholic homes. This fact holds true whether children are biological children of alcoholic parents or adopted children who grow up with the daily influence of alcohol in the home. Therefore it can be assumed that future alcoholism in a child can be influenced by environment and genetics, or by a combination of both4. It is estimated that children who grow up in an alcoholic home are four times more likely to develop a substance abuse problem than children who did not grow up in an alcoholic household5.

Children with alcoholic parents are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, antisocial behaviour, relationship difficulties, behavioural problems, and/or alcohol abuse. A recent study finds that children of drug-abusing fathers have the worst mental health issues6. The signs that a child is experiencing alcoholism at home may include poor results in school, lack of friends, withdrawal from classmates, delinquent behaviour, frequent physical complaints like headaches or stomach aches, abuse of drugs or alcohol, aggression towards other children, risk-taking behaviours, and depression or suicidal thoughts or behaviour6.

To escape their own guilt some parents constantly scold and criticise their young children leading the children to believe that they are bad and the reason why their parents drink. This is why one of the most important messages that affected children must hear is that the alcoholism is not their fault. It is not possible to create alcoholism in another person (i.e. in their parents) 5.

The good news is that many children of alcoholics from even the most troubled families do not develop drinking problems. Just because alcoholism tends to run in families does not mean that a child of an alcoholic parent will automatically become an alcoholic too. The risk is higher but it does not have to happen7.

If you are worried that you may be prone to become an alcoholic due to your family’s history of alcohol problems you should:

  • Avoid underage drinking – Research shows that the risk for alcoholism is higher among people who begin to drink at an early age, perhaps as a result of both environmental and genetic factors.
  • Drink moderately as an adult – People with a family history of alcoholism, and who have a higher risk for becoming dependent on alcohol, should approach moderate drinking carefully. Maintaining moderate drinking may be harder for them than for people without a family history of drinking problems. Once a person moves from moderate to heavier drinking, the risks of social problems (for example, drinking and driving, violence, and trauma) and medical problems (for example, liver disease, brain damage, and cancer) increase greatly.
  • Talk to a health care professional or counsellor – There are many dedicated people who can help and advise you. Remember, alcoholism is not a stigma or reflection of your morals, it is a diagnosable and, fortunately, treatable disease.

For more information or assistance, for you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to contact us and talk to one of our professional staff members, alternative click on the link and fill in the contact form and we will get back to you.

You can call

office hours on 011 787 9142 (local) +27 11 787 9142 (international)


24 hour emergency helpline: 079 770 7532 (local) +27 79 770 7532 (international) or reach us during

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  1. Additional information:
  2. WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol, 2004
  5. › Alcoholism and Alcohol Addiction









Drug Addiction South Africa Leading SA Rehab Centre

Drug Addiction South Africa – A Leading SA Rehab Centre Takes A Look

Drug Addiction South Africa Leading SA Rehab Centre Takes A Look: No one can ignore the fact that alcohol, drug abuse and drug addiction are on the rise and that not only in our country but throughout the world.

While the latest, accurate statistics are very difficult to access (the latest local stats we managed to source were dated 2016) government and NGO’s cannot be outrightly blamed for this due to the clandestine nature of the epidemic and the stigma imposed upon those affected by the disease of addiction.

Let’s be clear that substance addiction does not discriminate. Addiction and alcohol or drug including prescription drug addictions treatment is prevalent across all races, genders, social strata and affects everyone from teachers, scholars, fire and policemen, single parents, artisans, musicians, lawyers, accountants, the homeless, brick layers, investors, chefs, property magnates and everything else in between. But why is this?

In this fast-paced, pressured, competitive and technologically fervent world individuals turn to drugs to escape their reality, relax, reward themselves or fit in with those doing the same.Drug Addiction South Africa Leading SA Rehab Centre

As it is legally and socially acceptable alcohol remains the primary drug of abuse in South Africa and alcohol is reportedly responsible for nearly half of all motor accidents in our country. It is said to affect 17.5 million SA citizens1 but we will have to deal with this problem in a future article. Back to the drugs.

As mentioned before no one is immune to the, often euphoric, effects of drugs or alcohol. In South Africa, as in all over the world, there is a myriad of addictive substances leading to drug abuse which include dagga (or marijuana – some statistics state that in 2006, South Africans spent R3, 5 billion on dagga1. According to a report in 2007 by the Gauteng Drug Awareness Team, the youngest drug dealer apprehended was an eight year old boy within an affluent suburb of Gauteng), mandrax (methaqualone – of which South Africa is the largest user in the world), ecstasy (it is estimated that one ton of ecstasy is produced in SA every year with close on 110 000 users who pay R610 million for it every year1), cocaine (The number of South Africans in treatment for cocaine addiction increased from 1.5% in 1996 to 17.5% in 20081), crack, methamphetamine (tik – the drug of choice for 42% of Cape town users), heroin (In 1996, 1% of the South African population were in treatment for heroin abuse while in 2008 those in treatment for this addiction increased between 8 – 24%1) not forgetting, or ignoring prescription drugs, dissociative drugs, hallucinogens and inhalants.

It is clear that substance abuse and addiction is real and on the rise and that’s why drug rehabs like Houghton House provides addicts with addictions treatment and therapy by trained counsellors that have gone through the experience of moving from active substance abuse to recovery and are able to personally relate to patients’ challenges. At our treatment facility we have embraced the Minnesota Model which is an affective holistic treatment model in drug rehabs encompassing the twelve steps approach. Together with the expertise of therapeutic alcohol or drug medical professionals, our counsellors have hands-on experience with the twelve steps, addiction treatment, dependency as well as recovery processes and techniques. Our dedicated care also covers the dual diagnosis of any other psychiatric conditions that often accompany alcoholism, alcohol addiction, drug addiction or prescription drug addiction such as depression or other anxiety disorders.

Should you think that someone close to you is battling with alcohol or drug addiction download the “Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use Chart” .

Call our 24 hour emergency helpline: 079 7707532 (local) +27 79 7707532 (international)


office hours on 011 787 9142 (local) +27 11 787 9142 (international)

Helping people to regain their lives, since 1995.


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Leading SA Rehab Centre

Addiction, Recovery and Rehabilitation – A Leading SA Rehab Centre

Houghton House is the leading SA Rehab Centre. It is estimated that 15% of South Africa’s population suffer from some form of substance abuse but this is very difficult to verify due the clandestine nature of the problem and the stigma attached to it. Statistics are dated although it is claimed that drug consumption in South Africa is twice the world norm1. While we may not have accurate statistical data numbers will help to identify the scale of the problem but certainly will not help in solving it. There’s no denying that substance abuse is a huge societal issue and it’s time to address it even more vigorously, head on. At Houghton House we believe that curbing the effects of addiction and assisting those affected by it is not only possible, it’s crucial.Leading SA Rehab Centre

As we are all too aware substance abuse results in illnesses, crime, accidents, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness and unemployment2. The negative effects of addiction not only affect the user but all those around him/her and, ultimately, society as a whole.

Before we explain how Houghton House can help you or a loved one we need to take a closer look at the nature of addiction. Drug or alcohol addiction or addiction to both is a complex disease with two basic qualities: the first being that the user sometimes uses more than he/she would like to use. The second is that the user continues to use despite negative consequences3.

The majority of addicts start using drugs or alcohol to escape from or cope with their problems or realities, to relax or to fit in with their peers. While thinking they are in control and that the alcohol or drugs are actually helping them deal with their situation or needs, over time the substances take control of the users; making them feel that they cannot cope without them. The effects are devastating with users withdrawing from normal human interactions and becoming ever more willing to do anything to support their habit. Additional consequences are tolerance whereby the users requires more and more of their chosen substance to experience the same euphoria or relief they initially experienced as well as damage to their self-esteem. At Houghton House we believe that addiction can be effectively prevented, treated and managed by healthcare professionals in combination with family and peer support.

With over 20 years of experience the Houghton House Group is the leading treatment centre authority in substance abuse treatment, in South Africa. We have achieved this by adopting the multi-disciplinary Minnesota Model of treatment which has been proven to provide a high success rate of alcohol and drug addiction recovery and rehabilitation.

The Minnesota Model is a holistic treatment model encompassing the twelve steps approach. Together with the expertise of medical and therapeutic professionals, our counsellors have hands-on experience with the twelve steps, addiction treatment, dependency as well as recovery processes and techniques. Experience shows that the odds of recovery are greatest when all approaches are considered and correctly combined. Medical and psychiatric care covers the dual diagnosis of any other psychiatric conditions that often accompany alcoholism and drug addiction such as depression or other anxiety disorders. We provide therapy by trained counsellors that have gone through the experience of moving from active substance abuse to recovery and are able to personally relate to patients’ challenges. These exceptional counsellors also provide living proof of the new life that can be achieved in recovery and are the embodiment of our commitment to beating and providing drug and alcohol addiction recovery in South Africa.

For more information or for assistance for you or a loved one please do not hesitate to visit Alternatively you can call our 24 hour emergency helpline: 079 7707532 (local) +27 79 7707532 (international) or reach us during
office hours on 011 787 9142 (local) +27 11 787 9142 (international)

Helping people to regain their lives, since 1995.


  1. CDA – 2009



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you need rehab

Tell-tale signs that you need rehab, now!

There is always help for a person suffering with an addiction. The choice to admit to yourself that you need rehab is not always as clear as we would like to think however once checked in, a rehabilitation centre gives a person a form of treatment which sits between two important levels, the intense care offered in inpatient hospitalisation and the more “independent” level that is outpatient treatment. Here are the tell-tale signs that you need rehab, now!

Getting involved in a rehabilitation programme is the all-important first move for many people who are looking to find the light at the end of the addiction tunnel in the form of recovery from substance abuse but many people who are addicted to a substance dodge the formal care these programmes provide and choose to battle the addiction alone. Although a strong and proactive gesture, it is hard for many to break the shackles of addiction without a helping hand especially when an addiction has reached deep waters. There are a few red lights to take heed of which will show you that perhaps your drug use has moved away from your control. Here are five signs which should tell you that you need rehab, need rehab

1. Nothing else matters but the drug

 One of the surest ways to tell that you have an addiction is when you see that the substance you are using becomes the focal point of your life. If you think about it all day, you spend time, effort and money as well as any resources at your disposal to get your hands on the drug, you may have an addiction.

The stronger your addiction gets, the weaker your desire to participate in your usual activities and past times becomes, and you slowly remove yourself from the front seat, no longer driving forward with any passion. You don’t spend time with the loved ones you usually hung out with when doings things and you lose interest in events you once enjoyed. If this sounds like you then you may have a problem which needs attention in the form of an addiction treatment programme.

2.Your health is on the decline

The abuse of substances and a decline in your health and wellbeing go hand in hand. All drugs differ in their effect on your health and therefore there is no blanket comment or effect that you can say will or will not occur. An addition to alcohol could affect your liver and is associated with a few types of cancer, whereas cocaine abuse can affect your septum and affect your mental wellbeing as well as sleeping patterns.

One thing is certain; substance abuse beats your body and your mind into a negative state and can cause a number of mental and physical symptoms. Here are a few things that happen to your body when you are addicted to a substance:

Your body fails: The levels of failure can range from small and mild to severe and deadly, it all depends on the time span of drug usage, the type of drug you have taken and the amount of drugs you have taken.

Your mind fails: Drugs, it can be said are almost always responsible for a change in a user’s mental state. It can be as small or big and it can range from agitation, angst and anger all the way to depression and even psychosis.

Ask yourself this question: “Am I changing the way I think, the way I behave and the way I feel, and not in a good way?” If you or your loved ones can answer that with a “YES” and you are taking a substance, you may want to look at seeking professional help by going to rehab. A major bonus of going to rehab is that you will be monitored and cared for in both the physical and mental arenas of your life.

3.It takes a lot to get high

Remember how much of a drug you took when you first got high? Notice how after a while you needed more to feel the same intensity that you first felt? It’s not unique. There is a reason why many addicts call that first high the best high of all. It’s a downhill slide from there as your body builds up a tolerance and you need more of that drug in order to get the same result as you did when you first got high.

The more you take the more you increase your risk of an overdose. Drugs such as Heroin are downers, or depressants, so taking large amounts of the drug can slow your breathing and pulse down, which is a dangerous bodily function to mess with. Abuse of these functions can lead to a coma and even death. There is not a single drug in the world that is more valuable than your life and if you are finding that you are using a high quantity of drugs and/or taking a drug quite frequently, then we have bad news for you: YOU ARE IN DANGER OF AN OVERDOSE and it is a tell-tale sign that you need to find rehab, now.

4.You Have a Mental Illness

There are many reasons why people abuse substances.  One of the reasons why a person goes down the route of addiction may in fact be as a result of self-medication for a mental illness.  An example from SADAG (The South African Depression and Anxiety Group) is telling. Around 9.7% of South Africans suffer from depression. If even half of those are on some of medication and have an addictive personality, it could lead them to initiate and continue substance abuse. Remember, almost all drugs alter the mind and as a result are used as a coping mechanism to change the way a person is feeling, thinking and often, behaving. Another point worth thinking about is that abuse of substances can act as a negative trip wire to a ticking time bomb which, when activated, can lead to an activation or intensification of a mental health issue which in turn will lead to continued use of a drug to dull the symptoms.

In order to treat a condition which is co-occurring to the abuse Is no easy feat. The mental health condition will need to be looked at and treated in conjunction with the substance use. There is more bad news. You have a good chance of relapse if you don’t have the mental health issue seen to while having the addiction treated.

5.Trying to quit has been a swing and a miss

You gave it your best shot. You even saw the light of recovery but it was soon darkened by the terrible shadow of relapse. Sound familiar?  Addiction is not a simple problem that has a simple solution; it is a chronic condition which is littered with times of relapse and recovery. When a person goes back to a drug or relapses,  a new vow, or recommitment to abstaining in a different way will be needed to aid recovery. One of the tell-tale signs that you need recovery now is the recurring nature of the drug usage.

There are countless avenues people go down in order to end substance use, but the most common are definitely outpatient treatments and of course self – help groups. An issue with these methods may be that they are just not intense enough based on your needs and past results with addiction and recovery. If you have a history of less than successful outcomes when it comes to giving up a substance , either by solo or low levels of care, it may be a tell-tale sign that you need rehab now.

You want help with an addiction – now find it!

Find Help for Addiction

There are a number of benefits for seeking out assistance for substance abuse in an inpatient rehab programme. Here are a few key reasons why a programme may be just right for you:

  • They test and diagnose substance disorders.
  • Co-occurring mental health disorders are also tested for and diagnosed.
  • They test for alcohol and drugs
  • They manage medication
  • Education and treatment of mental health and substance use issues.
  • Post treatment services such as planning your discharge and aftercare
  • Management of cases in order to provide connections to available resources

Every rehabilitation centre will have different forms of care. Some for example focus specifically on mental issues which co-occur with substance abuse and if this fits your situation you may want to consider looking into that centre for treatment. Remember also that different programmes will vary in cost. As a general rule. Outpatient treatment is less expensive than inpatient. The cost varies as a result of the different services generally offered, with inpatient treatment adding medical and psychological care, 24 hour support, sober housing and meals etcetera.

Although the idea of finding a programme specifically tailored to your needs may seem a bit overwhelming, do not despair you are not going to do all the work alone. We can help you get back on track.

Call Houghton House on 011 787 9142


contact us on the emergency line (after hours) on 079 770 7532.


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how to spot drug abuse in a loved one


Determining or how to spot drug abuse in a loved one, whether it be your offspring or a sibling, spouse, friend or colleague, is difficult given the emotional investment you’ve probably made in the relationship. Part of you is reluctant to believe such things of the person involved, and social stigma might have its way with you. People close to addicts – be they behavioural (eating disorders, gambling or sex) or substance use (pharmaceutical or recreational, ‟street‟ or fitness drugs) addicts – will, over time, develop a pathological set of coping behaviours to deal with the chaos that “your‟ addict brings with him or her. To this end, short and long term support organisations and services exist alongside primary addiction treatment to assist with this very problem – coping with an addict in one’s life.
how to spot drug abuse in a loved oneBut how to spot an addict with some degree of certainty? The first option would be to look at one’s own behaviour. Are you being uncharacteristically dishonest to “protect” an addict close to you? Is the suspected addict’s behaviour embarrassing to you? Are you suffering abnormal financial loss due to an addict’s presence in your living environment?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, there’s a good likelihood that your loved one has an addiction problem. How to spot drug abuse in a loved one: conduct a regular audit of your thoughts and behaviour in relation to the person concerned, asking yourself “Is this what normal people do?” If it isn’t, it’s time for a closer look at your suspected addict’s behaviours and attitudes.

Firstly, you will notice so called “track marks” on syringe addicts. You will also notice unusual burns and quantities thereof on the hands and forearms of smoking addicts. Then, do you notice a change in diet, excessive eating or eating less, quick spurts of weight gain or loss? Either pharmaceutical and recreational drugs, or the associated sedentary lifestyle, may cause an addict to gain weight, whilst a finance-draining drug habit or an appetite-suppressing side effect may cause weight loss. Notice the palour of the skin. Is the face drawn, skin showing a greyish tinge? Are the eyes bloodshot and the pupils enlarged, even in bright light? Does the addict look drowsy? Is there a foul, sour or smokey odour coming off of the addict? Is the addict not making eye contact with you anymore? Is he or she avoiding family or other social settings? Is speech slowed or slurred?

Then look at the company your possible addict is keeping? Can you see any of the above symptoms presenting across a spectrum of your loved one’s friends? Has he or she acquired a new set of friends lately? Is he or she being covert about his or her movements? If any of these present as a new and unusual set of behaviours, it is necessary to examine the situation further.

As for the addict him or herself, he or she will demonstrate social and psychological behaviour changes that will contribute to your determinations. The addict will demonstrate increased social discomfort marked by uncharacteristic aggression, irritability, lethargy and depression. In addition, he or she will demonstrate dramatic changes in habits and/or priorities, will present money problems and will be found to be dishonest to the point of involvement in criminal activity and complex lying patterns in social interactions.

Regrettably, if you can identify some of these questions as having positive answers, there is a good chance that your loved one has a problem with substance use or behavioural addiction. Nevertheless, you are to be congratulated for having the courage to ask the question and, furthermore, to seek answers.

Call the office now 011 7879142
The 24 hour emergency line 079 770 7532
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Place of Hope

A Place of Hope for South African Substance Abusers

Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre is making it even easier to find help no matter where you are with an emergency line which makes help and treatment more accessible than ever, offering  a place of hope for South African substance abusers.

Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre in Johannesburg is fast becoming the place to recommend when it comes to rehabilitation for substance abuse in SA and with a 24 hour emergency line 079 770 7532 you or someone you love can get that all important attention needed to begin the road to recovery. Whether you need advice, support or to check in yourself or a loved one, Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre‘s hotline is the number to have on your phone.Place of Hope

Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre, Gauteng’s premiere private rehab centre is ensuring that this month in particular you are aware of just how simple it is to get help. June 26 is International Day against Abuse and illicit trafficking, and now more than ever you should know that help is a mere call away. Director of Houghton House, Dan Wolf said in a recent interview regarding help “Get the support from professionals who can contain the situation, who can assist in accessing an individual who can actualise their potential and reclaim their life.” Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre is the place of hope for South African Substance abusers wanting to find a way out.

It is no secret that abuse of drugs and alcohol is a massive problem in South Africa and those who are using are getting younger with every passing day. It is also important to realise just how big of a problem drug abuse in South Africa is becoming. Statistics released by the South African Community Epidemiology Network on Drug Use (SACENDU) are alarming. The average age of experimentation in South Africa is 12, and it is going down. Although the treatment ages of users in Gauteng ranges from as young as 9 up to 82, there is a majority of users between the ages of 10 to 19, in fact it has increased to 29 per cent, according to a 2017 report by SACENDU.

Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre is a light at the end of a very murky tunnel. By calling the emergency line on 079 770 7532 you can help someone take that first step towards recovery or make that first step yourself.

You can also call our landline 011 787 9142


Fill in the contact form below and one of our professional staff members will get back to you.

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Addiction Recovery Rehabilitation

Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation

Unravelling Addiction, Recovery and Rehabilitation – Learnings from a Leading SA Rehab Centre

The sad reality is that in modern society drug and alcohol abuse are becoming more and more prevalent and impact not only on the users but also those close to them; family, friends and loved ones. Drug and alcohol addiction does not discriminate and spares no one regardless of race, age, gender or financial status. Addiction is a diagnosable disease and addicts need to be supported by loved ones to help them overcome their problem and feelings of low self-esteem commonly experienced by those who have been caught up in substance abuse. Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation is the way to go.Addiction Recovery Rehabilitation

One of the first questions that should be asked when determining whether you or someone close to you needs addiction recovery and rehabilitation is whether the issue of drug abuse is out of control. Individuals who are not able to control their use of prescription medications and/or illicit drugs may require drug rehab services. In many cases, those who have a drug abuse problem will go to extensive lengths in order to hide their addiction. A person with a drug abuse problem may also exhibit the following symptoms1:

  • Glassy or red eyes.
  • Withdrawal from family and/or friends.
  • Mood swings.
  • Irritability.
  • Sudden changes in behaviour.
  • Careless in regards to personal grooming/hygiene.
  • Runny nose.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns such as being up at night and sleeping during the day.
  • Lack of interest in favourite activities.

It’s almost impossible for a user to get sober alone and entering into a treatment programme can be very intimidating. If you or someone you love needs help with substance abuse, rehab is the best way to recovery. Getting professional help can mean the difference between becoming and staying sober rather than the constant draining of health and money and feeling of helplessness associated with addiction.

The truth about rehab is that it works, with programmes for addiction recovery and rehabilitation that cater to users’ specific needs and situations. There are affordable rehab options but all it take commitment. Professional substance abuse treatment can actually make a difference. When a substance abuser checks into rehab, they are making a conscious choice to work toward a substance-free life. This choice is the beginning of a users’ journey to recovery and will help equip him or her with the right tools to avoid relapse and resist future temptations.

For over 22 years and as a leading treatment centre in drugs and alcohol as well as substance abuse treatment Houghton House Group provides affordable and professional alcohol and drug addiction recovery and rehabilitation in South Africa. Our experienced multi-disciplinary team of experts includes doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, certified addiction counsellors (some of whom themselves have gone through the experience of moving from active substance abuse to recovery are therefore able to personally relate to the challenges faced by patients), nurses and other medical professionals. Houghton House offers access to recovery and behavioural therapy for dual-diagnosis patients. Because, more often than not, addiction occurs with other pre-existing psychological issues, such as anxiety and/or depression, we provide a clinically integrated approach that addresses these underlying issues

It’s never too late for you or a loved one to embark on the journey to an alcohol or drug free life. At Houghton House we are passionate about helping people, young and old, to resume and enjoy healthy, meaningful lives.


office hours: 011 787 9142 (local) +27 11 787 9142 (international)

24 hour emergency helpline: 079 770 7532 (local) +27 79 770 7532 (international)

Helping people to regain their lives, since 1995.


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my son is an addict

My Son is an Addict.

My son is in jail. I love him. He is 24 years old and a drug addict.

I know him better than anyone else. He is beautiful, kind, caring and smart. He is also an addict and is going to spend half a decade in prison because he was convicted for possessing with intention to distribute drugs. My son is an addict and this is our story.

The tragic rollercoaster began when my son was 20 years old. He had been in and out of rehab so many times that I lost count. In fact you could probably say it was a year in total. He tried to get sober; in fact he was winning the battle but fell off and succumbed to substance abuse once again less than a year after going sober.

Ambulances?  A monthly occurrence. In fact, he has bled out, almost died from an overdose and had several seizures. He has literally died on the operating table and come back. I am no stranger to the thought that my son may die tonight. He has been to a psychiatric ward – losing the battle against drugs often brings with it the loss of will to live. He found God, and lost him too. He has spoken to the brightest minds, psychologists, doctors and therapists. And so have I. The law knows him well. AA knows what his favourite food is and he has scraped his knees falling and getting up so many times he has callouses on the palms of his hands. My son is an addict and the battle for his sobriety is bloody.

It is not easy being the son of an addict. Less so when you are fighting the battle alone. My ex-husband, an alcoholic and substance abuser was taken out of the picture when my son was young enough to move away from his father and those inevitable footsteps.  I made a promise to make a better life for him, to nurture him and create a better world for him. I didn’t take drugs or drink. I tried my hardest to be a good parent and put them first. Sometimes I wonder if I could have done more for my son. It doesn’t matter now. All that matters is getting him back. Back from the sharp and poisonous claws of addiction.

 So how did my son become an addict?

High School. Don’t for one second think that there is a stigma attached to drugs and only a select few of outsiders are taking them. No. Drug experimentation, especially with alcohol and dagga are almost the norm at school. Obviously I didn’t think that he would elevate his drug usage to uncontrollable levels, which parent does? But he did. And it opened a door to heroin, cocaine and meth.

my son is an addictAs the days rolled on by, so did my boy’s spiral into a dark well of addiction. It took over his life, like a filter across his eyes, a shade of despair and pain, only relieved by the pathetic false promises offered by the next high. And don’t think I sat by and let him just go through it alone. I was right there, in the passenger seat, telling him to slow down, put his foot on the brakes. I felt the same ups, the downs; I have clasped my hands and pleaded with god, with my boy, with anyone that would listen, to save him. I don’t even know what a good sleep is anymore. I have offered myself as a substitute for my boy, as any mother would. I went to sessions for family members and I gave up my free time, my weekends for visitations. I opened my mind and absorbed new ways of thinking, of living and doing. I can write a book on recovery, how to approach drug abuse survival and can tell you about every paragraph in every book written about working through drug abuse. All to try and find a way to save my boy.

Gut instinct is real. Trust it. My Son is an Addict.

If you are reading this and you have a teenage child and you are getting that feeling that only a parent does, a slight niggle, a second thought about a change in behaviour or processes , it is your gut instinct. Do not deny it. If you are sitting there, on the side of your bed and thinking, “oh my God, my son is an addict,” and you are wondering if you should act, stop doubting your instincts. Do it.

Be more attentive about what your child does. It’s more than just his or her words that count. It’s actions that can out the demon lurking below a smile and a nod and the all assuring words from your child, “everything’s cool mom, stop worrying.” Being able to keep that trust bond between your child and yourself is obviously paramount, but remember that your love for your child should not keep you from simply discarding the facts. If you see a problem, and your child is not old enough to make their own decisions, or they still live with you, act. Now.

There is a time for you to be lax, but not now, now you need to be the parent your child really needs, with an unbroken set of rules. Look, the way you approach the situation may be different to the next parent, but you need to be straight up and direct. I know you may think that your young adult child may see you as a friend but you need to make sure that they are completely aware that what they are doing, their addiction and the behaviour associated with it is becoming noticeable to others.

 Like it or not – here are some truths about having a son who is an addict.

I can imagine that you are sitting at your desk, reading through this right now because you are just becoming aware of the road that lies ahead. Or maybe not, maybe you are hurtling along the highway of drug abuse and recovery and you are desperate for some clues, some answers and some relief to this whole hazy situation. You won’t find them here – but you will find a few things that may guide you towards that final destination. If you have said to yourself “my son is an addict,” and you want to know some truths about what lies ahead, read on, it may save your sanity and more importantly, save the life of your child.

Stop thinking you are the reason for your child’s addiction.

  1. Maybe you could have done some things differently – but you did what you thought was right. Stop throwing energy and thoughts at a pointless idea. Focus on the now and the future.
  2. You are not the cure. You probably cannot stop your child’s addiction. Only they will be able to find solutions to their quest for sobriety. You can help by giving your child literature on self-help, getting them to rehab and organising support groups for them from within your own community. None of that will work however until they smash rock bottom and make the turn themselves to get on that road to recovery.
  3. There is a massive difference between what you think the bottom is and what your child believes it to be. You may think failing school and dropping out may be horrific and tragic, they may see that as a mere knock on the shoulder. You may even think that night you held their hand after an OD was enough; they may not see it the same way.
  4. Do not emotionally bribe them. Telling them that true love from them would be getting sober is not the solution. Remember, they are an addict, they love you regardless, but they are swimming in deep and murky waters which could be clouding their judgement.
  5. Your child will lie to you. Stop thinking that they are saints will only make it easier for them to steal and lie to you. Don’t be naïve.
  6. You are not your child’s lawyer. Getting them out of trouble every single time they do something wrong as a result of their addiction actually enables them to continue using without fear of consequence. Coming face to face with the result of their actions early on in the addiction could be the lesson they need to assist them in facing their problem. Sometimes the idea of tough love may be what you need to come to terms with before simply reaching for a quick fix solution to a problem caused by their behaviour.
  7. Referring to my previous comment, this applies to jail time too. If your child is arrested, think twice before bailing them out. I know it hurts, I know that your entire body is fighting to free them and that you cannot bare to see them behind bars BUT, and it is a very important BUT, they will most likely survive the experience and possibly use that as a key pivot in turning away from the drug abuse direction they are heading towards. Also remember that hiring an expensive lawyer may or may not minimize the charges that your child has against them, but it is certainly not going to do anything really towards getting your child away from addiction and into recovery.
  8. You can never tell your child that you love them enough. You should also be firm in your commentary about never supporting their habit or reminding them that their behaviour while using is unacceptable. Drug users can be sly, they can be underhanded and cunning and most of all you cannot possibly comprehend what they will do to get what they want. You can ban them from using things, like your car or expensive items, and you can even ban them from home should it get to a situation where their actions are jeopardizing your health, lifestyle and others around you.
  9. Sometimes love isn’t enough. It’s okay. They can get to the point where they are hurting others, themselves and cause untold heartache – and love simply cannot prevent it. It is okay. You could lose loved ones, burn relationships and even cause irreparable damage all in the name of protecting or loving your drug addicted child. As long as you never give up on your child and believe that they can recover, all is not lost.
  10. In the darkest hours remember this . There is always hope. A candle shines brightest in a dark room. Always believe that your child will get through this. And so will you.

 In closing, regarding my son is an addict.

My son has turned a corner. In fact it has been six incredible months since he last had a run in with the law, his demons and is becoming more of his former self daily. He is in rehabilitation and when we talk he tells me that all his legal issues, his time behind bars and the things that have happened to him since his guilty conviction have changed his mind set and allowed him to be more freer than before. He is working towards a clean mind set, he studies and focuses on building himself and his education and is more courageous than ever when it comes to fighting his demon. I woke up recently for the first time after having a full night’s sleep, happy and aware. I sat on the corner of my bed and instead of saying to myself “My son is an addict,” I said, “My son is a warrior.” I won’t give up, and neither will he.

Your turn.

Are you like me, the parent of someone with a drug addiction? How did it affect you?

For advise from one of our professional staff members please click on the green envelope below and we will get back to you, or you can call in to talk to somebody.

office hours 011 787 9142


emergency 24/7 079 770 7532 


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drinking is out of control

How Can I Tell if my Drinking is Out of Control

With alcohol being a legal and socially acceptable mind altering substance, it is sometimes difficult to know if your relationship with drinking is unhealthy. In the society we live in where alcohol flows freely at any get-together, how can I tell if my drinking is out of control?

Six serious signs that your drinking is out of control

Here are six warning signs to help you determine if your social consumption of alcohol has developed into a drinking problem:

  1. Hiding or lying about alcohol consumption

  2. Drinking to relieve stress, anger, anxiety or hardship

  3. Lapses in memory, or blackouts

  4. Unable to stop at just one drink

  5. Unsuccessful attempts to abstain from alcohol

  6. Responsibilities take the back seat

drinking is out of control

  1. Hiding or lying about alcohol consumption

People who drink heavy amounts of alcohol frequently, are often unable to admit that they have a problem. This however is the first step to breaking the hold alcohol has over you. Fear of judgement might be at the top of your list, but often times it is fear of interference that keeps the alcoholic from admitting they are drinking too much. Behaviour around denial include:

  • Drinking alone
  • Saying you drank less than you did
  • Binge drinking
  • Convincing yourself that the problem is under control, contrary to the evidence.
  • Saying that you can stop anytime, yet fail to do so.
  1. Drinking to relieve stress, anger, anxiety or hardship

Consuming alcohol to cope with negative emotions is a very common prelude to addiction. This behaviour forms an association between relaxation and alcohol use, creating the risk that over time your consumption of alcohol will increase as you become physiologically dependent. Using alcohol as a stress reliever is a sure sign of problem drinking.

  1. Lapses in memory, or blackouts

A dangerous sign that your drinking is out of control is if you suffer from lapses in memories or blackouts. Large quantities of alcohol have adverse effects on memory, essentially causing episodes of short-term amnesia. Blackouts are often the result of drinking large quantities of alcohol in short periods of time. Alcohol inhibits the brain’s ability to commit new experiences to memory, if you can’t remember what happened when you were drinking, or only have a hazy recollection it’s a definite sign that your drinking is out of control.

  1. Unable to stop at just one drink

People with a drinking problem find that they are often unable to drink alcohol without imbibing to excess. Being unable to control your alcohol consumption, or what the outcome of your drinking will be is serious cause for concern.

Over time you will developed a tolerance to alcohol, meaning that it takes more alcohol for you to feel drunk. You may drink faster, or drink with the sole purpose of getting drunk, rather than to just enjoy the social experience.

  1. Unsuccessful attempts to abstain from alcohol

A definite sign that your drinking is out of control is if you cannot forgo alcohol consumption without the following:

  • Hesitation
  • Physical discomfort
  • Psychological distress

If you are finding it difficult to go a significant time without drinking it is a clear indication of a more significant problem with alcohol.

  1. Responsibilities take the back seat

When you start to neglect things that are important to you for the sake of alcohol you are already in the danger zone. This might be that you are normally a dedicated parent, but the alcohol buzz has allowed carelessness to creep in. Or waking up with a hangover means less productivity at work, or skipping a morning workout. When alcohol begins to affect a healthy lifestyle there is no doubt that your drinking has gotten out of control.

Be honest with yourself, find out if your drinking is out of control 

If you are unsure about the control of your drinking, seeking help may be the only choice.

If you feel that you can no longer control your drinking. You constantly drink much more than you should, you seem think about drinking all day, yo start wanting to drink at inappropriate times. You have serious withdrawal symptoms as a result of not being able to get drink when you want to.
You need more and more alcohol every time you drink in order to feel happy or good, and you realize that you cant manage your actions when it comes to your alcoholism.

If these issues are ones you are aware of, your alcohol intake is out of control. There are several thoughts you should consider as well as understand. Uncontrolled drinking causes the same issues as drug and substance abuse, and you should remember, above all else, that you need help.

If a loved one has voiced that they are worried about you, it’s time to cut back. Thinking that you may need to ask someone else if you are overdoing it might be enough of a sign that you clearly are. Similarly, if you are honest in admitting to your doctor the amounts that you are consuming, and if your doctor comments that the amount is excessive, you should pay attention. High alcohol consumption can cause major health problems.

Seek treatment once you’ve realised your drinking is out of control

Alcoholism is a subtle, progressive disease that starts out innocently with just a couple of drinks a few days out of the week, to full alcohol dependency. If you find that you cannot stop, reach out for help. Houghton House offers expert advice on alcohol addiction treatment options.


For more information do not hesitate to get in contact with us.

Office hours: 011 787 9142

24 hour emergency: 079 770 7532

Alternatively you can click on the green envelope below, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you – either privately via email, or if you request a telephone call.


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My friend the addict

My friend the addict, what should I do?

My friend the addict, how can I help?

It can happen in an instant. You wake up one day and realise that your friend of 20 years has a substance abuse problem. So what is next? How do you, his best friend react? What do you say? What do you do?  Firstly, before you blow gasket overthinking it all, take a deep breath. You are already in first gear and it is going to be alright. If you find yourself telling yourself in the mirror “My friend is an addict, what should I do?”  Then read on.

We have some advice on drug addiction and treatment you could use.

My friend the addictSubstance abuse, both alcohol and drug have this uncanny ability to make their victims both physically and mentally addictive to their drug of choice, which makes it difficult to make clear correct choices about recovery and getting clean. You as a friend or as a family member may want to help and the first and most important step should always be to consult an addiction professional for advice. If you want to find out more about the strategies used to help an addict or alcoholic call Houghton House Group of Treatment Centre’s helpline on 011 787 9142 or in an emergency on 079 770 7532.

When a friend shows signs of substance abuse, abusing alcohol or other drugs

it is hard to know what to do or say. Research has revealed that addiction is a brain disorder and can be just as life-threatening as heart disease, diabetes or emphysema. The way an addict behaves and the social symptoms of the addiction can harm friends, family or co-workers BUT you as the friend may very well be in the best position to help your friend to recognise the need to seek help in the form of treatment.  It’s a well-known fact that many people in recovery say that they sought out help because a friend or relative was honest with them about their situation.

So …My friend the addict- and you just want to help the recovery

what do you do? When you are deciding whether you want to speak to your friend there may be some concerns which start swimming around in your mind. These could include:

Mixed feelings and fear:

Is it right for me to get involved in someone else’s affairs?

Answer: Remember – addiction can lead to death.

Someone else will speak up:

I am sure his other friends will talk to him about it.

Answer: Not everyone may be looking out for your friend’s best interest and it’s important not to wait for someone else to take the lead.

You care and you are hurting:

He hurt me in the past with his actions and/or behaviour.

Answer: Remember the person may have not been their normal self and you need to also take responsibility for your feelings, too.

My friend the addict.

Here is a guide to what your friend may do or say if they have a psychological or emotional craving for a substance.

  • Socialises with others who abuse drugs
  • Has mood swings
  • Has problems at work and at home
  • Has difficulty with relationships
  • Engages in dangerous behaviour like driving while drunk
  • Physical symptoms
  • When a person’s body becomes dependent on a drug, you may see some of the following symptoms:
  • Sleeping problems
  • Sees drugs as the solution, not the problem
  • Takes the drug in larger amounts or over a longer period
  • Is preoccupied with getting drugs
  • Steals or sells possessions to buy drugs
  • Feels anxious, irritable, depressed
  • Withdrawn
  • Has lost interest in school, work, or hobbies
  • Needs more drugs for the same effect
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Has physical withdrawal symptom when not taking the drug.

My friend the addict

So how do you talk to your friend when you realise that they are an addict? What can you do, or say? Here are some tips which can help you talk to your friend:
  • Don’t try to talk when your friend is drunk or high. It is also a good idea to meet in a neutral place, but avoid bars or places that serves alcohol and can promote use of the substance.
  • Talk about the effect your friend’s drinking or drug use has on whatever the person cares about most like career or children. Your friend may not be concerned about his or her situation, but may care deeply for the children and what the problem may be doing to them.
  • Become aware of treatment or recovery resources available in your community.
  • Give your friend the number of a treatment centre, such as Houghton House Group of Treatment Centre’s helpline on 011 787 9142 or in an emergency on 079 770 7532.
  • or click on the green envelope and fill in the contact form and one of our professional staff members will get back in touch with you, to discuss the best way forward.
    Contact Rehab in South Africa
recovery from drugs

Our Extended Inpatient Care Programme for Rehab

The first and most difficult step of breaking free of addiction is to ask for help. You might begin with a simple search on the Internet with the words: find a rehab near me, or you might reach out to a loved one. However you do it, know that this is the best decision you will ever make in your life. Especially if you consider going the route of our Extended Inpatient Care Programme for Rehab once Primary Care has been completed

When you first arrive at a rehabilitation centre, you are walking out of several years spent in addiction. While under the influence of alcohol and drugs you have been conditioned to live a certain lifestyle, and for the greatest part of your life this existence is all you know. The importance of investing serious time in your recovery, in order to change your life permanently, cannot be stressed enough.recovery from drugs

Primary Care

The process of change begins at a primary care treatment centre. Houghton House offers a residential programme situated away from the stresses of your outside lifestyle, so that you can focus strictly on your recovery. The programme is between 30 and 42 days long and the initial focus is on safe detoxification and stabilisation. It focuses furthermore on therapeutic and recreational activities, lectures, counselling and an introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The wonderful thing about primary care is that by the time you have completed it you are experiencing what life free from addiction feels like. The most challenging part at the end of primary treatment is to integrate what you have learned into your life outside of the safe confounds of a rehab. It is highly suggested by Houghton House to go onto secondary and tertiary care in order to create a firm foundation for a successful and sustained recovery.

Secondary Care at The GAP (General Addictions Programme)

The GAP is the Houghton House Group’s extended inpatient care facility, which presents you with a serene space where you can continue to establish your new lifestyle. It is an essential stepping-stone enabling you to become responsible and able to deal with the difficulties of real life, without the use of drugs. Facing life on life’s terms is one of the hardest things newly recovered addicts struggle with. The GAP equips you with the tools you need to cope with life’s challenges and gives you the opportunity to learn and practice in a safe environment.

Relapse prevention forms a key element of the treatment programme. It arms you with the knowledge and tools to assist you in identifying and preparing for situations that might put your recovery at risk.

The GAP facilitates greater education and goal setting. Great emphasis is placed on building self-confidence and self-worth, which is paramount to your recovery. While at the GAP, you are encouraged to work on relationships in a setting where you are continuously supported and guided. You are encouraged to build a long lasting support structure and to engage in a culture of recovery.

The GAP affords you gradual integration into a better way of living, ensuring that you are able to deal with the hardships upon returning to your life outside of this safe environment.

The duration of your stay at the GAP will be monitored on a month-to-month basis, but the suggested time spent in this facility is three months.

Based upon the progress you make at the GAP tertiary care in the form of a Halfway House might be suggested, empowering you to further strengthen the foundations of your recovery.

Additionally Houghton House offers an outpatient programme, as well as a continuing care programme for addicts in recovery.

Secondary care at the GAP includes:

  •         Daily group therapy sessions
  •         Individual counselling
  •         Educational workshops
  •         Exercise
  •         Family workshops
  •         Re-integration activities
  •        The 12-step process

The GAP is located in the peaceful suburb of Ferndale, Johannesburg. It offers beautiful green gardens, cosy common areas, large enclosed verandas, lounges, comfortable and attractively decorated shared bedrooms, onsite parking, satellite television, a braai area and swimming pool. Healthy meals are served in the communal dining room.

Contact us on: 011 787 9142   


079 770 7532 (emergency number 24/7)



fill in the contact form and one of our professional staff members will get back to you


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Suckers for Pain – Lean

Why Lean is Uncool – Downright Dangerous – and will Kill You

lean Cough syrup contains codeine Last September rapper Lil Wayne once again had to cancel a show when he was hospitalized for multiple violent seizures. While Weezy has struggled with epilepsy throughout his life, it’s no secret that his addiction to Lean (also known as “Sizzurp” or “Purple Drank”) is largely to blame for his repeated seizures. It’s not the first time either: the star was also hospitalized in 2012 and 2016.

In a 2011 interview, Lil Wayne admitted to abusing Lean, a mixture of cough syrup, sweets and cooldrink, which was popular on the New Orleans scene, partly to emulate his hero Pimp C.

Pimp C died of an overdose in 2008.

In spite of the documented dangers of Lean, it’s still considered cool in some circles, especially on the South African hip hop scene. Artists like AKA sing about “Coming to you live from the third world. Getting high on the purple.” Youngsters who are easily influenced by their heroes make the mistake of trying it for themselves, often with disastrous results.

So, what is Lean? And why are so many people – especially school kids – using it?

What’s in it?

Cough syrup contains codeine (an opiate that is used as a painkiller) and promethazine (a neuroleptic with sedative effects). Used according to a doctor’s prescription, it can be an effective medicine. Unfortunately, when it’s mixed with cooldrink and drunk as Lean, it’s a dangerous cocktail with potentially lethal effects. Typically, half a bottle of cough syrup is mixed with 2 litres of fizzy cooldrink (Sprite being the most popular). Local brands that contain codeine include Broncleer, Myprodol and Mybulin, Benylin C, Syndol, AdcoDol, Tensodol, Sinutab C and Sinumax Co. As abusers become used to the mix, typically they will opt for stronger concentrations. In some cases, they may be ingesting doses exceeding the prescribed dosage by up to 25 times, putting their health at major risk.

What does Lean do?

Drinking Lean produces a somewhat euphoric state – you feel a bit dizzy and extremely laid back. This is the combination of the painkiller and sedative effect of the codeine and promethazine. In Jamaica, where Lean/Sizzurp abuse has become a major problem among young people, it’s also known as “Liquid Heroin” because of the way it dulls your mind and impairs your motor function. After drinking it, you’ll be drowsy and lethargic. You will struggle with coordination. In fact, a user has pointed out that the name Lean can be tied the way it “dampens” your walk.

The side effects of Lean are far less “chilled.” Excessive doses of codeine can damage the liver and may cause heart and respiratory problems.


Risk of Seizures

Promethazine affects the central nervous system. Consuming way more than the recommended dosage can put a person into a hyper-excitable stage which increases the odds of potentially suffering a seizure. Promethazine alone is risky enough, but if you combine it with other narcotics, including alcohol, it’s a recipe for trouble.

How Addictive Is Lean?

The trouble with Lean is that abusers start off using it for its anti-depressant or de-stressing effects. But when the effects wear off it can lead to depression and anxiety – which causes a craving for more Lean. Codeine is one of the most commonly used opiates and can lead to serious opioid addiction. How serious is opioid addiction? Deadly serious. In the US, between 1999 and 2015, 183,000 people died from overdoses related to prescription opioids – 59,000 last year alone.

The School Epidemic

The Lean craze has spread quickly in South Africa, with reports of pupils as young as 10 addicted to the mix. One of the reasons Lean is so popular is it’s relatively cheap and very easy to get hold of. Prescription cough syrup is readily available and winds up in medicine cabinets in homes everywhere. Over-the-counter cough mixture is even easier to get hold of. It contains lower doses of codeine but still creates a similar high – which teenagers in the US call “robo-tripping” after the popular Robotussin brand. As regular users become used to the effect, the chances of them seeking a more powerful high (prescription cough syrup or other opioids) become more and more likely.

Symptoms of Lean abuse

Parents and family members are urged to keep a lookout for the following warning signs:

  • Drowsiness and lack of coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Regular, continual use of cough medicines even when the user is not sick

Other indications of abuse are behavioural changes brought on by craving codeine. Teachers have noticed that pupils may display hyperactivity, irritability, lack of concentration and aggression.

Don’t be a “Sucker For Pain”

As Lil Wayne battles with his addiction, keep in mind the rapper’s own words: “I don’t do this to be cool. I did it because I was sick.” If you, your family members or your friends are drinking Lean, it’s important to know exactly what you’re in for –  and to get help right away.


More info on  Houghton House  Halfway Houses Halfway Houses link

If you or a loved one wants the best chance of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Houghton House provides two outstanding Halfway Houses – both within close proximity to their Inpatient and Outpatient facilities.

We recommend this as a continued form of reintegration back into society.

 Contact us for more info.

Office: 011 787 9142   Emergency:(after hours) 079 770 7532

Why halfway houses help keep addicts clean

Life is Tough

Especially when you’ve had your crutch taken away.
That’s why halfway houses exist: to offer the support and structure needed to rebuild your life post-addiction.

All names have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Houghton House halfway Houses.

Shaun couldn’t shake his addiction to cocaine. “I tried. Multiple times. Was in and out of rehab for as long as I can remember. Kept relapsing every time. Sometimes, after a few weeks. Sometimes, a few days. The last time, pretty much the moment I got out the gate.”

Relapsing after treatment for drugs and alcohol is relatively common. There are many Shaun’s out there.

Treatment in a rehab center may help hinder the cycle of drug and alcohol abuse. But this is largely from being confined in an in-patient programme or being regularly tested in an outpatient programme. Going back into the real world can be tough: suddenly an addict has the freedom to do what they want… just being aware of that can cause cravings for drugs or alcohol.

“It got me every time. Knowing I could call the merchant [colloquial for drug dealer] whenever. I was never accountable to anyone,” says Shaun. “Well, yeah, I was, I guess, to family, to my boss, but never immediately, never ‘right now’. Living at home, being able to cut lines [preparing powdered drugs for inhalation], with no one looking over my shoulder… [it was] too easy to get away with stuff.”

It’s not that rehabs are ineffective. Rehabs like a Houghton House use techniques considered by medical science as pivotal to addiction treatment.

Such as psychotherapy, in the form of individual and group settings – which help uncover the issues that led to addiction. Lectures give the addict an understanding of the nature of their addiction, to allow them cognisance into their self-destructive behaviors.

Rehabs also use the principle of ‘one addict helping another’, as found in various Recovery Fellowships, like Alcoholics Anonymous. This principle is about forming a community of people who aim to achieve the same goal: staying clean.

Humans are social animals: who we spend time with impacts our thoughts and, consequently, our actions. This can be destructive, as in ‘a mob mentality’, or positive, as in a charity organisation where members bring out each other’s best qualities.

A philosophy of kinship is best expressed by ‘sticking with the winners’. Simply put, if you spend time with bad influences, you’re likely to relapse on drugs or alcohol. Conversely, through developing strong bonds with recovering addicts dedicated to keeping clean, your chances of relapsing drops drastically.

“Things changed for me when I went into a halfway house,” Shaun says. “Suddenly I was in a place where I was accountable. To everyone there.”

A halfway house is a community who look out for each other and encourage each other to keep clean.

Harry, a current resident at Houghton House’s Aspen, says, “Living with other addicts [and alcoholics] who understand your plight and won’t take your bull has helped me a lot. While here, I had a [romantic] relationship end in a bad way. If it wasn’t for the guys and their support, I might have started drinking again.”

A halfway house helps in another way too: it provides firm structure to the daily lives of its residents.

Such as set times the residents have to be out the house. This ensures productivity. Especially necessary for an unemployed addict or alcoholic. It’s easy for anyone, but particularly someone with an addiction disorder, to slide into despair without structures in place. Before they know it, they’re sleeping late, not taking care of themselves, and deep in depression. But structures keep them moving one foot in front of the other. And with the continued support of the house, it isn’t long before they’ve gained traction in their lives.

Then there’s regular testing. “I have to admit, there were some dicey moments when I first got back to the big bad world,” says James. “Like, times I just wanted to call the dealer and pick up a bag of cat [a methamphetamine-like drug]. But knowing I’d come back to the okes wasted, that they’d spot me a mile away… hahaha, yeah would’ve been awkward.” Because it’s harder to deceive other addicts, and halfway houses know the most efficient way to administer tests – to prevent cheating – they’re able to provide a stronger incentive for addicts to keep clean.

This could be the one thing that keeps an addict from using drugs at their most desperate time.

So, it’s no surprise that there’s a massive disparity of clean time counts between halfway house residents and non-resident addicts. The rate of halfway house addicts still clean after six months is 68%, up from a baseline of 11%, according to a study called What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here? []

Another reason is this support system has an authority figure who cares. A house manager, who ensures residents do the minimal amount required to stand a chance of recovering.

For instance: going to NA or AA meetings; doing step work; finding a sponsor and maintaining contact with them, etc.

Many house managers are recovering addicts themselves, with multiple years of clean time behind them. As such, they’re able to provide emotional support guided by personal experience.

“I see myself as more than just a house manager. I’m their on-site sponsor: whenever they need any help, my door is always open,” says Tamara.

This culture of kindness is one of the many reasons rehabs recommend halfway houses.

Because day-to-day, halfway house residents receive a scaffolding of support, one that finally allows them to rebuild their post-addiction lives.

More info on  Houghton House  Halfway Houses Halfway Houses link

If you or a loved one wants the best chance of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Houghton House provides two outstanding Halfway Houses – both within close proximity to their Inpatient and Outpatient facilities.

We recommend this as a continued form of reintegration back into society.

 Contact us for more info.

Office: 011 787 9142   Emergency:(after hours) 079 770 7532

Halfway Houses contact

Porn Addiction

Porn Addiction – The XXX Factor

Is porn addiction such a big deal?

The arrival of the Internet has not only changed the way humans communicate, study, do business and shop; it’s also changed our sexual behaviour dramatically. In fact, the consumption of porn online has mushroomed beyond control with more Porn Addiction sufferers that ever before.

A study in 2016 showed that a whopping 35% of ALL internet downloads consisted of “adult” material.

On the world’s largest porn site, people watched 4, 599 million hours of porn. That adds up to a staggering 525 000 years’ worth of hardcore porn viewing on a single web site in one year alone!

But, isn’t everybody else doing it?

Porn AddictionPornography is nothing new. For literally thousands of years, people have created erotic images – paintings and statues – for titillation and entertainment.

As humans, we are sexual beings, with a complex range of emotions and thought processes that dictate not only how we go about achieving procreation (a basic condition for the survival of any species), but also how we can enjoy sex for its own sake.

In the late 1880’s the first known soft-core erotic film was produced in France. Fast-forward to roughly 100 years later: Modern porn has been consumed world-wide in books, magazines, film and video.

Then the internet arrives – and the ease of access to porn (previously self-limiting) sends consumption off the charts.

In 1997 there were around 1 000 porn sites. By 2015, that figure skyrocketed to over 2,5 million. It’s estimated that around 65% of people aged 13-25 seek out porn at least once a week. With mobile devices as well as computers, it’s literally at your fingertips within seconds.

So what’s the harm in watching porn?

Attitudes towards porn have changed over the years. Many less conservative people see it as essentially harmless, a “victimless” crime (although the back-story of “actors” being badly exploited is no secret). The trouble is, excessive porn viewing has been shown to have many negative spin-offs that mirror the side-effects of severe addictions like alcohol or drugs.

What are the side-effects?

The most critical damage is seen in the breakdown of interpersonal relationships – with spouses, family members and at work.

Excessive porn viewing has been linked to stress, irritability and depression.

Desensitisation to pornographic images can result in real-life sexual problems: dissatisfaction with partners; a compulsion to experiment with different sexual practices and/or partners; difficulty with maintaining intimacy and increasingly, erectile dysfunction in men. Failure to reach orgasm is not uncommon.

Ironically, the initial sexual thrill of watching porn becomes subverted to a compulsive need that can destroy your sex life!

That’s scary stuff; how can addiction happen?

Our brains can be our own worst enemies. In the case of addiction – any kind of addiction – the brain follows a similar pattern of reprogramming itself to seek and prolong a “high.”

We know that drugs and alcohol produce a pleasurable rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine, along with other biochemicals, such as oxytocin, serotonin, adrenaline and endorphins.

However, substance abuse isn’t the only way to achieve this rush. In fact, sexual stimulation to the point of orgasm results in a massive release of dopamine etc. The brain craves the pleasurable sensation and so it demands more stimulation. The more it gets, the more it wants. But, as with substance abuse, the addict builds up a tolerance over time, which requires increased doses to achieve the same thrill.

Eventually, the addict is no longer watching porn for pleasure; he or she is simply trying to avoid the depression and stress that accompanies the craving. That’s where their online addiction negatively spills over into real life.

Does it qualify as a real addiction?

In the US the jury is still out when it comes to porn addiction. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, some authorities don’t recognize it as a “proper” addiction. In more tech-savvy countries like South Korea, China and Japan though, where “tech addiction” is already recognized, pornography addiction is listed as a subcategory. Interestingly, Online Gaming addiction is also listed, as the neurological effect is virtually identical.

Among the defining factors of any type of addiction are, the development of tolerance to the addictive substance, resulting in an irresistible compulsion to increase the frequency and amount of dosage.

 On that count alone, porn addiction is as real as any other type of addiction out there. 

How do I know if I’m addicted to porn?

 In this day and age, it’s nearly impossible to avoid porn completely. It’s not just out there, it’s everywhere. Popular culture, including music, film and advertising, has always thrived on sex. And the line between what’s acceptable titillation and porn has become increasingly blurred.

That said, here are some signs that you may have a porn addiction:

  • Do you feel powerless to stop viewing porn?
  • Do you spend more time or money on porn than you intended?
  • Have you tried unsuccessfully to cut down/stop viewing porn?
  • Do you spend a lot of time viewing porn, thinking about porn, or engaging in activities that will give you access to porn?
  • Do you neglect family, social, or work obligations to view porn?
  • Have you experienced negative consequences (e.g. getting into trouble at work, fighting with your partner, sexual dissatisfaction) as a result of watching porn?
  • Have you continued to use porn in spite of these?
  • Do you consider giving up other activities up opportunities to have more time to use or view porn?
  • Do you go to great lengths to conceal your porn use?
  • Do you feel anxious, stressed, or irritable if you can’t access porn?
  • Do you find you seek more and/or harder porn to get aroused?
  • Have you found yourself wanting to act out porn, e.g. by seeking out other relationships either online or in real life?

If you answered yes to two or more of these questions you may be addicted or becoming addicted to porn.  

Kenneth Wilson on Workplace AddictionKenneth Wilson ( shown Left ) is currently the Director of Houghton House Outpatient Services.

As a registered Counselling Psychologist he deals with Love addiction and sex addiction. Which are seen as are intimacy disorders and needs for control, power, love or affection. Like all addictions, intimacy disorders like sex addiction and love addiction are progressive in nature. More Details at 

The good news is, your addiction can be reversed.

Just as your brain can be programmed into addiction, you can reprogramme it to overcome the addiction.

The first step in getting help is admitting that you have a problem. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s one of the most difficult things – porn may be everywhere but it still carries a social stigma. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed. Rest assured though, you are not alone.

Find a therapist who is familiar with porn and sex addiction. These professional counselors are there to help you, not to judge you. Individual and group therapy is recommended, depending on the individual (you might feel uncomfortable discussing your addiction with others at first – that’s perfectly normal). They will also be able to offer the most effective

effective methods of reversing porn addiction, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

  What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

CBT is different from other types of therapy that typically examine how your past experiences are affecting your present.

CBT focuses on the immediate problematic behaviour. You’ll look at what is triggering emotional discomfort and the desire to escape through porn and sexual fantasy. Together, you’ll figure out how to short-circuit the patterns that result in you acting out your Porn Addiction.

There are so many possible triggers: boredom, stress, loneliness, unexpected arousal (seeing an attractive person in the street or on a TV show), travel, relocation, relationship problems, substance abuse (which lowers inhibitions), financial worries… the list goes on.

The main thing with Porn Addiction is to be aware of your personal triggers and train your brain (the old dopamine seeker) to derive pleasure from alternative sources. This could be simply talking to a friend, working out, building or fixing things around the home, meditating; basically anything that keeps your brain focused on something (besides porn) that will make you feel good. As these good behaviours are reinforced over time, your neurological patterns reset themselves and they become your norm.

How do I know if my partner has Porn Addiction

It’s in every addict’s nature to conceal their addiction – often until their condition is critical. You might be totally unaware that your partner, friend or family member is a porn addict.

So, here are a few warning signs of Porn Addiction to watch out for:

  • Personality and behaviour changes including, aggression and irritability, loss of interest in hobbies or pastimes, decreased enthusiasm for things they used to enjoy.
  • Secretiveness and anti-social behaviour including, spending more time alone, changes in money spending, covering up devices, erasing browsing histories, blocking access to phones, laptops etc.
  • Acting hostile or defensive when asked to stop. If you catch your partner watching porn, it might not be anything to worry about. However, if they get upset when asked to stop or denied access to their device, that could indicate a problem.
  • Inability to stop, even after getting into trouble. If your partner has been disciplined (or worse, fired) for porn in the workplace but still keeps using it, seek help.
  • Increased usage. If someone is spending more and more time viewing porn, and especially if they seem to be seeking out harder or kinkier porn, this may indicate that they are building up a dangerous tolerance to porn.

Act now

If you think you may have porn addiction, or are becoming addicted to porn, or you are concerned about someone close to you, it is important to act fast. Porn addiction can have disastrous effects on a person’s emotional and physical health, but it can be overcome.

Professional therapy and support is available on either an outpatient or on a full-time basis. For more information, contact Houghton House addiction rehab in jhb


Article: written by Alistar Mathie 

Happiness is a choice.

Happy people know that happiness is a choice

Happiness is a way of life and they have made the decision to be happy, no matter what.
According to studies “even trying to be happy can boost our emotional well-being” making a case for thinking yourself happy.


Nothing will make you happy… Until you choose to be happy.”

Kindness and respect.

Really happy people treat others with kindness, respect, and sincerity. Kindness is contagious and proven to make you happier. Treat people the way you want to be treated.

 “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama.

Happy people are positive.

Positive thinking can help to maintain happiness,  know how to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Use positive affirmations.

“Positive thinking produces more energy, more initiative, and more happiness.”

Gratitude must be expressed.

Happy people don’t take anything for granted and make the most of what they have. They are grateful and appreciate what they have.

“Social scientists have found that the fastest way to feel happiness is to practice gratitude.” Chip Conley

Happy people believe in themselves.

An adequate sense of self-esteem is the most visible trait of happy people. Happy people know their beauty and strengths. They understand that they are not perfect and don’t try to be.

“Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.”

Happy people laugh whenever possible.

Happy people have a great sense of humor and know when to have a good laugh, even when facing a huge problem – not only at things that are funny. Happy people also know how to laugh at themselves when they need to.

Happy people pursue their passions.

Happy people exemplify happiness and live by doing what they love and what puts a smile on their face. Happy people find joy in pursuing their greatest passions it’s what gives them the energy to live life to the fullest and strive for happiness.

“The pursuit of your passion will spark the flame of a happy soul.” ― Lailah Gifty

Happy people are content.

Contentment is being satisfied with whatever one has. Happy people are content even in pursuit of an ambition. Happy people do not take their existing blessings for granted.happiness is a choice 2

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”  Charles Spurgeo

Happy people spread happiness.

Happy people know happiness is infectious and spread the happiness they feel. Studies show that show that happy people tend to have more stable and strong relationships.

Happy people forgive.

Happy people know, how to practice the art of forgiveness, and let go of grudges easily.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis Smedes


How to Help Addicts

How to Help Addicts – Recognizing who needs help.

When trying to help addicts, there’s nothing worse than that feeling of helplessness watching someone you care for destroying his or her life (and the lives of those around them) through addiction to alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.

Take heart knowing that you CAN do something to help. It won’t be easy on you or on the addicted person. But you have it in your power to help that person turn his or her life around and overcome addiction. The major challenge is, they have to want it as much as you do.

How do you know you’re doing the right thing to help addicts ?

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that the person you’re concerned about has a problem. But where do you start?

How to Help AddictsThey say knowledge is power. In the case of addiction, it’s your most vital weapon to arm yourself for the struggle you both will face. Simply caring is not enough; before you can even consider helping an addict, you need to educate yourself.

Understanding what addiction entails and what makes an addict tick will give you the tools you need to assist with recovery.

Help addicts and Treating addiction: Does one size fit all?

In a word: No. Just as every person is different, every addict will respond differently to efforts to encourage recovery. There are also so many different types of addiction. From alcohol to “established” drugs like heroin and cocaine to an ever growing range of “designer drugs” (synthesised from a bewildering array of chemicals) and prescription medications – the list is seemingly endless!

However, certain symptoms of addiction apply whatever the drugs and whoever is abusing them. And there are certain ways of approaching addiction that can be effective across the board.

Inside the head of an addict

The visible effects of addiction are all too common: Typical defining symptoms of addiction include, using drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms; high tolerance to the substance; neglecting family and work responsibilities; decline in physical appearance; poor health and continued abuse even when the addict is aware of the damage it is causing to himself and to others.

That’s the stuff that other people see. But what is actually going on inside an addict’s mind?

The most important thing to remember is that, for an addict, the drug is the most important thing in their lives. For sober, rational people this is easy to forget. It is a mistake that frequently gets in the way of dealing effectively with addiction.

The chemical changes in an addict’s brain that create dependency override that person’s personality completely. The constant craving for another fix means they will do anything they can to satisfy it at any cost. As they spend all their money on their addiction, they devise ways to finance their habit – stealing or scamming from strangers and loved ones alike. They become master manipulators, using emotional blackmail (playing the victim) or making promises they do not intend to keep, simply as a means to an end.

Understanding this basic truth is critical if you want to help an addict with recovery. Addiction is a sickness, not a fair reflection of a person’s true self. Try to avoid being judgemental – an addict is not bad or evil; he or she is sick and needs your help.

Where to start?

The first step is to approach the person one-on-one and ask if they are open to talking about their drug or alcohol addiction. Try to find a quiet time when you can be alone together with no distractions. Tread softly. It’s important to explain that you are motivated by concern for their health and happiness. Avoid blaming, arguing or getting angry. If they are receptive, ask them if they would be willing to seek professional help. If they become intimidated and defensive, don’t push it. Instead, discuss with other concerned family members and friends how you can plan an intervention.

Staging an intervention to help addicts 

For an addict who is in denial about their substance abuse condition, or doesn’t want to face it, an intervention can be the tipping point that changes their mind about seeking help. But it can also be very intimidating – if the person feels that people are ganging up in judgement, they will likely resent the situation and reject the offer. Plan carefully who you will invite. A small group of caring people who can explain their concerns compassionately, patiently and supportively. Seek assistance from an experienced professional who can offer advice and preferably be in attendance at the intervention. Make sure you have a list of available treatment options on hand, so that the addict can make a decision right there, before he changes his mind.

What you try to help addicts and what if the addict refuses treatment?

The nature of addiction is such that many addicts will find an excuse not to address the issue. They might deny their addiction, saying that they can deal with it themselves or try to put it off for a later date. The reality is that an addict has to accept responsibility for his or her own recovery. Often it will take a dramatic event or change in the status quo to convince an addict that treatment is the only option.

This is where you have to be stronger than ever.

Tough love

So-called “tough love” is draining, but it may be necessary to shift the addict’s mindset.

Start by setting boundaries and, most important, follow through on agreed consequences when these boundaries are crossed. For example, if the addict turns up drunk or high, they will not be allowed to stay at home, or have their car taken away. Extreme, but not uncommon consequences might include a court order, or legally denying an addict parental visitation rights. The consequences have to matter enough to the addict to force re-evaluation. And, most important, they cannot be empty threats. They must be followed through to have any impact.

You will also have to make a conscious effort to quit enabling the addiction. Enabling is any behaviour that supports the continuation of the addiction. Whether it’s lending money or paying an allowance, providing free accommodation, or making excuses for the addict’s behaviour. As far as you are able, prohibit access to alcohol or drugs.

It won’t be easy. The addict will blame you and will resort to all kinds of emotional manipulation, playing on your feelings of love, fear and guilt. But you must remember that it is the addiction talking, not the person. He or she needs your strength; you must stand your ground.

Prepare for the worst – look after yourself

That’s not the same as giving up. On the contrary, being realistic is the best way to prepare for success down the line. Addiction is no picnic. It’s tough on the addict and it’s tough on you. Recovery is even harder. It’s an emotional rollercoaster that can and probably will turn your lives upside down and leave you both feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted. It will place terrible pressure on your relationships, your work and your finances.

The effects of addiction for others are as difficult for others to live with as it is for the addict. Seek professional advice and assistance from support groups. Your life is precious too and you deserve to live it without the shadow of addiction dragging you down.

Don’t give up trying to help addicts

Once your loved one has accepted the need for treatment, welcome the fact that he or she is making an effort to beat addiction. when trying to Help Addicts be encouraging and gentle – it’s a terrible illness they are fighting. Multiple relapses are common. But, take strength in knowing that you can both get through it – and when you do, helping addicts will be worth every minute you put into it.

Ask for the help you need

For advice and support, contact Houghton House during office hours on 011 787 9142

24/7 Emergency number 079 770 7532

Alternatively you can fill in the contact form below and we will get back to you privately via email.



Article written by Alistair Mathie


Process Addiction and Other Types of Addictive Behaviour

Process Addiction and Other Types of Addictive Behaviour

Games, Sex, Food: the other addictions.

It’s not only drugs and alcohol that create addicts. Some things we take for granted in our lives can too.

What does Candy Crush have in common with cocaine? How can watching porn be like mainlining heroin? And why is food, an essential part of life, a drug that can be abused?

Addiction isn’t just about chemicals. At least, not external chemicals you imbibe through snorting, smoking, or spiking.Process Addiction and Other Types of Addictive Behaviour

There are numerous other activities that become a serious issue in a person’s life which don’t involve drugs or alcohol.

Activities like gaming, and how it can be problematic.

By problematic, a recovery centre like Houghton House would explain, you play too many online games at work. So, your ability to be productive is disrupted. You become less efficient. Your work performance drops, and this is noted by your line-manager. Your colleague, who doesn’t waste productivity hours, has the competitive edge.

When a position opens up for a promotion, you don’t get it. In fact, you become performance managed. One written warning becomes two. Then three. You become incredibly stressed. Your home life suffers, and you don’t want to be intimate with your spouse anymore.

Marital difficulties turn into shouting matches, resulting in even more stress. At work, tired because you’re not sleeping properly, and because you turn to your cellphone game for relief, your performance dips even further.

It’s clearly out of hand. But you can’t stop. Your life is becoming dysfunctional, on every level. Just because of a gaming app on your phone.

Clearly, drugs and alcohol aren’t the only problems for addicts. We get addicted to a process, that is, a behaviour, through linking that behaviour with a release of a “reward” chemical in our brain: like dopamine.Process Addiction and Other Types of Addictive Behaviour

Normally, when we achieve a task, something useful to us and our survival, like hunting mammoths successfully in the paleontological age, or finishing up a report for our boss that they become enthusiastic over, our brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is the reward chemical that fulls us with feelings of euphoria.

Drugs release dopamine too. Cocaine and crystal meth are dopamine-specific drugs. Other drugs affect other neurotransmitters. Ecstasy works by releasing serotonin. That’s the chemical which gives us a sense of intense happiness with the world around us, and our interconnectivity to it. In massive amounts, it causes addicts to experience the sensation known as ‘rushing’ – where they are overwhelmed with literal ecstasy.

Meanwhile opioids like heroin have a chemical that fits into our brains’ opioid receptors. This results in an extreme painkiller high. What else evokes this feeling of pleasure?


The act of sex, especially when brought to orgasm, releases endorphins in the brain, the body’s natural painkillers. The sensation is intended to promote sexual behaviour, because our bodies are programmed to procreate.

When a person becomes addicted to sex, they experience hypersexuality. This is dysfunctional, as they start engaging in promiscuous behaviour, opening themselves to all kinds of health risks, including sexually transmitted diseases.

Even in the case of simply watching a lot of porn, these addicts tend to start acting inappropriately in inappropriate environments, such as at the workplace. Predatory behaviour at the coffee station or “watching” porn at inopportune times in one’s office can lead to disciplinary hearings, performance management, or aborted careers

But the more they engage in these behaviours, the more the behaviours are reinforced, the harder they become to stop.

The same applies to overeating. Food can be immensely comforting. Most people feel better after a good meal, especially if the day has been emotionally draining on some level. There’s a sense of emptiness inside them – food fulfils that emptiness both literally and figuratively.

Actions that are comforting become repetitive – self-reinforced. Like a path commonly used by hikers, it will become more and more desirable to traverse. Forming new neurological highways in the brain.

Certainly this is true with food, and other comforting behaviours. Soon, any feeling that creates discomfort, like sadness, or boredom, can be dealt with through eating. Snacks become common. Appetite increases, a person becomes overweight – and then depressed by how they now look. They try to diet, which is – just like putting down narcotics – hard. They relapse on their old eating patterns. Becoming even more depressed. This is where they can develop eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia, both high-risks to health.

Process addictions can reach a point where only an expertly-run addictions treatment facility, like Houghton House, is able to help these individuals.

The process to stopping process addictions is essentially the same as for chemically dependent addicts. That’s because ultimately, it is the behaviour which leads to the addiction, and halting that behaviour and instilling new ones is what helps break the addiction cycle.

If you are a process addict, or know of someone with a process addiction to sex, gaming, gambling, overeating, or any other dysfunctional activity, then speak to the experts at Houghton House. They can advise you on the best way to help you or a loved one overcome a very serious, deliberating problem.

Fill in the contact form below and one of our professional staff members will get back to you via email or phone (your choice)

or call 011 787 9142 (office hours)

or 24/7 emergency line 079 770 7532

Staying Sober Over the Silly Season

Staying Sober Over the Silly Season

It’s that time of year when everyone is gearing down for the holidays and everyone is in “party mode.” Well, not everyone. In fact, this is the worst time of year to be an addict. The constant partying and socializing means you are exposed to temptation more than at any other time. It’s also a stressful and emotional time, when issues around money and relationships with family and friends (often among the original triggers for abuse) come into focus. It’s harder than ever to stay clean and sober – but there are ways you can minimize the risk of having a destructive relapse.Staying Sober Over the Silly Season

Be aware and be prepared

You know you’re going to be exposed to all sorts of situations that could nudge you over the edge; you’ve been there before. So, don’t wait for that situation to arise. Start each day with a plan.

Focus on the most important thing in your life right now: Your sobriety.

If you’re in the early stages of recovery, you might want to skip all but the “essential” get-togethers over the holiday season. If you’re further through your recovery, by all means go out and enjoy yourself. But, if you know you’re going to be at a social gathering later, plan ahead so that you can enjoy the celebration without compromising your recovery.

Picture who will be there. Imagine how the conversations might go. You can even rehearse some standard responses to potentially awkward questions or tempting, dangerous suggestions, to take the pressure off you if they do crop up. It’s not being paranoid; it’s looking out for yourself. Make a list of likely pitfalls and give some thought to how you can avoid them.

Speaking of avoidance…

Simply keeping yourself out of harm’s way is probably the most obvious way to minimize risk. But you don’t want to become a recluse. If anything, that could be even more stressful than dealing with other people. Part of your recovery involves accepting responsibility for your addiction and taking charge of your life. That said, you can take steps to avoid falling off the wagon at a social gathering, whether it’s with friends, family or work colleagues.

Distance yourself from the bar.  

Physically position yourself away from the bar – the temptation to join in (especially when rounds of drinks and shooters are being ordered) will be reduced. Find a chilled spot to relax and take the time to chat with some of the less frenetic merry-makers.


Bring Your Own Beverage. It might sound strange, even silly if there are soft drinks available. But having your own “special” drinks can strengthen your focus on staying sober. Take some sparkling apple or grape juice so you can still join in the toasts if you wish. But avoid trying to match the alcoholic drinking patterns of other guests – remember, you want to break your old habits, not mimic them.

Break your old patterns

Hanging out and shooting the breeze is fun, but it’s also a way to reinforce those old habits, especially if your friends are fond of swapping “war stories” about their past indulgences.

Look for other things to do: Help with snacks in the kitchen; if there’s a fire, volunteer as the “braai master”; offer to kick a soccer ball around with younger guests.

Not only will you be breaking your old patterns, you’ll be interacting with more people in a normal, healthy way.

Know your triggers

The most common triggers that can cause a relapse can be summed up by the letters HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Be aware of these feelings and, if you feel any of them, stop immediately and do something to rectify the feeling.

Hungry? At this time of year, it’s traditionally a time for feasting but with so much on your mind you can also forget to eat! Low blood sugar weakens you and in turn, might make you lower your guard against alcohol. Avoid hunger by eating regularly – even if it’s something small, every three hours.

Angry? Take some slow, deep breaths and move away from whatever (or whomever) is bugging you. A short walk does wonders to clear the head and calm you down. Is there someone you know you don’t get along with, or perhaps someone linked with your history of abuse? Walk away. You don’t have to be in denial (in fact, accepting your addiction is an important part of your recovery) but remember it’s YOUR recovery. It’s your right to tell people as much (or as little) as you feel comfortable with – so, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Sometimes distant relatives might be pushy without knowing what you are going through; at other times you’ll be pleasantly amazed at how understanding they can be.

Lonely? If you’re feeling alone, reach out to the people you know you can trust. If there’s no-one at the party you feel you can talk to, call a friend who is also in recovery, or is part of your support circle and invite them to join you or to fetch you.

Tired? Drink some water and find somewhere to take a nap, or simply leave. You can also avoid fatigue by being sure to get plenty of rest the night before any planned event. A little regular exercise also goes a long way. Besides helping to take your mind off stressful thoughts, being fit will give you the extra energy and strength to work through recovery.

Drive yourself and know when to leave

Don’t count on others for lifts (unless they are also not drinking). Arrange your own transport so that you can leave any time you want. Leave a little earlier than usual – before things start getting too crazy or intense for you to handle.

It’s not going to be easy; it never is. But by being aware and prepared, you have a better chance of getting through the “silly” season without going off-track.

Above all, keep this in mind:

You are not alone

Now, more than ever, is the time to lean on your support system – the friends and family who put your recovery first on their holiday wish-list.

If you’re part of a regular support group, consider going to a few extra meetings so you can draw strength from others who are going through the same struggle over the festive season.

Addiction doesn’t take holidays

At Houghton House we are acutely aware that addiction doesn’t take time off during the holidays; nor do we. Our facilities are open 24/7 to offer assistance with addiction. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Office Hours 011 787 9142


Emergency 079 770 7532

or simply fill in the contact form below, and one of our professional staff members will get back to you, either by email or mobile, the choice is yours.

The Short Straw: TIK (Crystal Meth) Abuse in South Africa

The Short Straw: TIK (Crystal Meth) Abuse in South Africa.

Tik has made headlines in South Africa as one of the most addictive and destructive drugs out there. Of the Tik abusers who are fortunate enough to enter a rehab programme, many will struggle and many will be unsuccessful. Unless they stay the course and do the hard work in treatment, and particularly the aftercare where many battle. It’s daunting, but we have to face up to the challenge – starting with understanding what it is, what it does and how we can support abusers in fighting their addiction.


 Why try Tik?

It’s human nature to be curious.

Maybe that’s why people are suckered into trying new things – not realizing that often it’s the same bad old stuff dressed up in a different name.

In fact, Tik is just another name for a variation of Crystal Meth (methamphetamine).

Tik also goes by the names tuk-tuk, crystal, straws, globes, crystal meths, krank, Tina, glass, cristy, quartz or ice cream. It’s also known in some circles as Ice. But don’t kid yourself – there’s nothing cool about it. The Short Straw: TIK (Crystal Meth) Abuse in South Africa

Why is it so popular? 

Tik is a mass produced drug that is highly affordable compared to similar drugs. A lot of Tik users in South Africa switch from Cocaine or Cat to Tik simply because it’s so much cheaper. What’s more, it gives the user a stronger and longer lasting high… but only at first. Like with most drugs, the euphoric effects of Tik wear off quicker the more you take, causing users to seek it more frequently, and in higher doses to delay the dreaded “crash.”

Because it is relatively easy to make which in turn makes it readily available, it has gained popularity among non-typical drug users, so-called “low-intensity” abusers, who want the extra stimulation to stay awake to finish a job, or study, or who believe the appetite suppressant effect will help them lose weight. This makes school children and young women particularly vulnerable; as long ago as 2006, Tik was the primary or secondary substance of abuse in 72% of patients under the age of 20 admitted to substance abuse treatment centres.

Here’s where it gets really nasty: the drug is so addictive that the line between “low-intensity” and “binge” (i.e. uncontrolled) abuse is often quickly crossed. Binge abusers smoke or inject Tik to achieve a stronger, psychologically addictive “rush.” From this point, becoming a high-intensity abuser, i.e. a full-blown addict, is extremely likely and can be just one more straw away.


Hitting rock bottom – full blown addiction

For a high-intensity addict, day-to-day life is focused entirely on scoring and smoking Tik, trying to hold off the the inevitable, painful “crash” when the high wears off. And, as the effects lessen with each consecutive hit, the addict needs more and more. It’s a debilitating, downward spiral that destroys their relationships, mental and physical health and, in many cases, costs them their lives.

In the final stage of a binge (anything from 3 to 15 days of continuous use) the abuser experiences “tweaking” – a nightmarish condition where taking more Tik produces no rush and no high. Racked by a painful craving and a sense of emptiness, the abuser loses his sense of identity and is prone to psychosis, with frequent vivid hallucinations. Intense itching is common, with many abusers convinced that bugs are crawling under their skin. The abuser becomes hostile and violent – a danger to himself and to others.

Finally, the body is unable to cope with the drug’s effects and shuts down. This is the “crash.” Even the most violent abuser becomes almost lifeless when crashing. This can last for one to three days.

If the abuser survives the crash, he will wake up with a meth hangover –  dehydrated, starved, and exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically. There is only one thing his body craves to numb these feelings: more Tik.


How is it consumed?

Tik is sold in clear crystals or as a crystalline white powder in “straws” also known as “lollies.” These are sold for between R15 and R30 each. Tik is most often clear or white but brown, pale yellow, orange and pink forms have also been encountered.

Smoking is the most common method of consumption in South Africa; the powder or crystal is placed in a glass light bulb with the metal trim and filament removed, the tik is heated with a lighter and the user sucks the smoke out of the bulb with a straw. This is where the drug gets its name – the crystals make a clicking sound as they crack in the heat.

Other methods of ingestion include swallowing it, snorting or injecting the drug like heroin.


What are the effects?

Tik triggers the release of excessive quantities of epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine in the nervous system. This produces an immediate, intensely pleasurable rush or “flush”. It lasts just a few seconds, but it is followed by a high which can last for several hours.

During this time the user feels energetic and focused. Appetite is reduced and a user may go for long periods without sleeping or eating.

Many abusers report increased sexual drive. As appealing as this might seem to some, combined with a reduced sense of responsibility it also puts them at risk; multiple partners, risky partner types (e.g. anonymous sex partners), and high rates of unprotected sex increase the likelihood of contracting STDs, HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B and C.


Clutching at straws – a hopeless choice

Like any home-manufactured drug, Tik is unpredictable. It’s commonly sold as a combination of amphetamines and baking powder, talcum powder, starch, glucose or quinine. However, it may include other, highly poisonous additives such as brake cleaner fluid, engine starter fluid, gun cleaner, acetone, cat litter, hydrochloric acid (swimming pool acid), methanol, lithium (from batteries) or even red phosphorus (from matches). You just don’t know what you’re getting – and this makes it easy for even experienced users to overdose.


Devastating long-term effects

The psychological effects of chronic abuse frequently result in anti-social behavior such as out-of-control rages, violence, anxiety, confusion, mood disturbances and insomnia. Users can become psychotic, experiencing symptoms such as paranoia, impaired concentration and hallucinations. Any existing psychiatric condition is likely to be aggravated, with the user failing to respond to existing treatment.

Physically, the drug causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and causes dangerous overheating in the body. This can result in irreversible damage to organs and blood vessels in the brain, producing strokes. Other effects include respiratory problems and irregular heartbeat.

Chronic abusers also undergo dramatic changes to their appearance, with severe weight loss and open sores on their bodies and faces. The toxic ingredients in Tik cause a condition known as “meth mouth” – rotting, blackened teeth and gums.The Short Straw: TIK (Crystal Meth) Abuse in South Africa

Unfortunately, by the time these effects are noticeable, rehabilitation is exceedingly difficult.  For this reason, we recommend being vigilant; if you know someone you think may be in trouble with Tik, it is important to act immediately and seek professional advice and support.

Houghton House recommends First stage treatment as an inpatient and then continuing with Secondary Care, then aftercare and regular meetings, with all the support that we make available.  This can give the user the best chance of recovery and a real life after Tik addiction. We find that the best outcomes are based on a full year of treatment with us which lead to a 80% recovery average if the course is completely adhered to.  Please contact us during office hours on 011 787 9142 or  24/7  079 770  7532 and one of our professional staff members can guide you further.

Warning signs

Early intervention is your best chance for helping an addict to recover.

Look for these indicators of possible Tik abuse:

  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Changes in appearance (clothes, body hygiene)
  • Erratic behavior (aggression, over-confidence, violence)
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity and rapid speech
  • Symptoms of psychosis (hallucinations and delusions)
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Drug paraphernalia: light bulbs, glass straws


Article Written By: Alistair Mathie

Houghton House Combats New zombie Drug Flakka

Flakka – “Zombie Drug”

Everything You Need To Know About Flakka

Flakka has been described as 10 times more powerful than Cocaine and more addictive than Tik (methamphetamine). It can overheat your body to the point where your organs – including your brain – literally boil. The Internet is full of videos showing users “possessed” by the drug: smashing head-first into cars, running around naked, contorting and babbling in agony and fear.

Is it really that bad? Unfortunately, yes. 

Houghton House Combats New zombie Drug Flakka Just last weekend three Durban men were admitted to hospital after ingesting flakka at a bar in Pinetown. They were wildly disorientated, frothing at the mouth, hallucinating and uncontrollably violent. One man bit a chunk out of a woman’s hand. It took four people to restrain each patient – and they were hospitalised for three days. One man only narrowly escaped death when his heart actually stopped and he was treated for cardiac arrest.

So, what is Flakka?

What is Flakka – Flakka is not entirely new, even though its effects are far worse than anything before it. Also known as “gravel” because of its coarse granular texture, it is typically pink or white and is found in crystal form. It is a completely synthetic chemical compound called alpha-Pryrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP). It is derived from cathinone, now banned in the US and China (where it was originally synthesised). This amphetamine-like drug was found in bath salts, hence it is also known on the street as the “bath salts” drug.

Why is the zombie drug so popular?

When flakka first appeared on the scene in 2012, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it was also called the “$5 insanity drug” – which gives you a clue as to why it became popular so fast; it is much cheaper than drugs like cocaine. And the high from a single dose can last for 3-4 hours.

It’s relatively easy to get hold of – it can be bought on the street or ordered online. And it’s easy to take: It can be crushed and snorted, injected, swallowed and is often smoked in a vape.

What are the effects of Flakka?

The effects of Flakka  – Like most methamphetamine, it provides a fast, intense high. Serotonin and dopamine are released in large quantities, providing a sense of euphoria, exhilaration and confidence. You’ll feel physically stronger and you might feel an increased sex drive initially (although repeat users will find their sex drive disappears entirely).

So, why should you avoid it like a bite from the Walking Dead?

Unfortunately, flakka also blocks the body’s ability to metabolise the excessive dopamine and serotonin. Overstimulation of the neurotransmitters causes your body to go into overdrive.

Feelings of excitement inevitably give way to violent aggression, delirium, loss of coordination and paranoia. Couple that with hyper-strength and you are in a position to hurt yourself – and others – seriously. Your heart rate increases and may become irregular. Flakka also makes your body temperature soar to dangerously high levels – up to 42°C. At this point, your blood is no longer able to clot; you are in danger of internal bleeding and at risk of multi-organ failure with lung, liver, kidney and brain injuries.

Seizures are common, which is why it’s called the zombie drug. Check out those unfortunate flakka cases on YouTube. Increased blood pressure also puts strain on your heart, which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.

If you’re lucky enough to survive, brain damage is just one thing to contend with; renal (kidney) failure means users could spend the rest of their lives on dialysis.

In short, with flakka, there’s a thin line between getting high and saying goodbye.

Flakka side-effects at a glance

  • Agitation
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Extreme aggression
  • Psychosis
  • Severe hallucinations
  • Seizure
  • Raised body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Death
Disclaimer: “Flakka is brand new in SA and we are still learning about it but we will bring you the facts as more come to light.”
011 787 9142
24/7 emergency –  079 770 7532
fill in our private contact form Click Here for the form and we will get back to you.
Article written by: Alistair Mathie

Content on – Seven common habits of highly addictive people


GHB Addiction - Liquid Ecstasy - The Date Rape Drug

GHB Addiction – Liquid Ecstasy – The Date Rape Drug

GHB Addiction – Liquid Ecstasy – The Date Rape Drug


GHB or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (C4H8O3) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that is commonly referred to as a “club drug” or “date rape” drug.

GHB is abused by teens and young adults and sex predators, and is often slipped into alcoholic beverages. Euphoria, increased sex drive, and tranquility are reported positive effects of GHB abuse.

Negative effects include loss of inhibitions, sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea, hallucinations, amnesia, and coma, among other side effects.

Recreational Use (abuse)

At higher doses, GHB may induce nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, agitation,  visual disturbances, depressed breathing, amnesia, unconsciousness,  and death. When death is associated with GHB, it is usually in conjunction with other drugs, such as alcohol or depressants. GHB Addiction - Liquid Ecstasy - The Date Rape DrugThe effects of GHB can last from 1.5 to 3 hours, or even longer if large doses have been consumed. Consuming GHB with alcohol is dangerous as it can lead to vomiting in combination with unrouseable sleep, a potentially lethal combination.

When used as a recreational drug, GHB may be found as the sodium or potassium salt, which is a white crystalline powder, or as GHB salt dissolved in water to form a clear or colored solution. The sodium salt of GHB has a salty taste. Other salt forms such as calcium GHB and magnesium GHB have also been reported, but the sodium salt is by far the most common. They may be mixed with other more harmful solvents such as paint stripper or varnish thinner.

GHB can be easily manufactured with very little knowledge of chemistry.  Due to the ease of manufacture and the availability of its precursors, it is not mainly produced in illicit laboratories like most other synthetic drugs, but in private homes by low level producers instead. While available as a prescription for rare and severe forms of sleep disorders such as narcolepsy in some other countries, notably most of Europe, GHB was banned in the U.S. by the FDA in 1990. However, on 17 July 2002, GHB was approved for treatment of cataplexy, often associated with narcolepsy. GHB is “colourless and odorless”.

The Medical Facts

γ-Hydroxybutyric acid , also known as 4-hydroxybutanoic acid, is a naturally occurring substance found in the human central nervous system,  as well as in wine, beef, small citrus fruits, and in small amounts in almost all animals. It is also categorized as an illegal drug in many countries. It is currently regulated in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, most of Europe and in the US. GHB as the sodium salt,  known as sodium oxybate (INN) or by the trade name Xyrem, is used to treat cataplexy  and excessive daytime sleepiness  in patients with Narcolepsy. 

GHB has been used in a medical setting as a general anesthetic, to treat conditions such as insomnia, clinical depression,  narcolepsy, and alcoholism, and to improve athletic performance. It is also used as an intoxicant (illegally) or as a date rape drug.  GHB is naturally produced in the human body’s cells and is structurally related to the ketone body ß-hydroxybutyrate.

Some althletes also use GHB which has been shown to elevate human growth hormone in vivo, One study found that it doubled growth hormone secretion in normal young males.  The growth hormone elevating effects of GHB are mediated through muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and can be prevented by prior administration of pirenzepine a muscarinic acetylcholine receptor blocking agent.

Addiction Relapse Triggers

10 Most Common Addiction Relapse Triggers

Some people believe that addiction relapse is inevitable – but that is absolutely not true. Being aware of these 10 most common addiction relapse triggers is your first step towards long-term addiction recovery. To say relapse is part of recovery is wrong, relapse is part of addiction.

One of most effective techniques for preventing relapse is to identify your personal relapse triggers and make a detailed plan on how you will manage them.

And while some common relapse triggers are obvious — like being around other people who are using — others are less straightforward.

Addiction is a cunning disease, and will try to sneak up on you when you are least expecting it. We have compiled this list of the most common addiction relapse triggers to get you thinking more deeply about how you can avoid triggers and stay solid in your addiction recovery.

Common Relapse Triggers and How to Manage Them

Relapse triggers can be broken into a few groups: emotional, mental, environmental, and those that are easily overlooked. Here we have listed the 10 most common relapse triggers and what to do to avoid them.

1. HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. The acronym HALT is used to describe high-risk situations for those in recovery. When you are aware of this you can be vigilant in preventing yourself from entering those states.

If recovery is your priority, then making sure you avoid becoming too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired will also need to become priorities. This may mean planning meals, sticking to a strict sleep schedule, and attending support groups.

2. Emotions. Perceived negative emotions often lead people to use drugs or alcohol in the first place and can easily lead a person back to their drug of choice.

It is, however, impossible to avoid feeling sad, angry, guilty, or lonely all the time. Experiencing these emotions is normal and an important aspect of recovery (and life) – but they are uncomfortable! Learning how to cope with your emotions as they arise without the use of drugs and alcohol will be essential in early recovery.

3. Stress. Stress could possibly be the number-one addiction relapse trigger because of its broad range of effects on the mind and body. HALT can lead to stress, as can a thousand other circumstances that will differ for each individual. Losing a job or loved one, increased responsibility at home or work, and health problems can all create increased stress. The key here is being proactive about stress prevention and being mindful (and honest) about what causes stress for you.

4. Over-confidence. Becoming over-confident in recovery puts you at risk for relapse. Having self-confidence is necessary, but becoming over-confident to the point of complacency crosses a line from healthy confidence to over-confidence and relapse risk.

After some time in recovery, as life starts to even out, you may begin to feel like you no longer need to follow your relapse prevention plan. You might think you are strong in your recovery and put yourself in increasingly risky situations – while also no longer working a recovery programme. This is a definite recipe for disaster.

Stay humble by giving back to others if you can, and always remind yourself that addiction is a chronic disease; no matter how strong you feel you will never be able to have “just one.”

5. Mental or physical illness. Depression, anxiety, and other underlying mental illnesses can trigger drug or alcohol relapse. Physical illness and pain can also put you at risk for relapsing, as your body is stressed.

Prescription drugs for mental and physical illnesses can be mind-altering and trigger addiction and addiction relapse. Sharing that you are in recovery with your doctor and being insistent about providing non-addictive prescription drug alternatives is important.

Get treatment for any underlying mental illness and monitor your thinking and feeling with a journal to help notice when you are slipping into old patterns.

6. Social isolation. Reluctance to reach out to others, or form a sober support system through AA or another recovery group, can lead to social isolation and loneliness. The more you become socially isolated, the easier it is to rationalise drug or alcohol use to yourself.

Social anxiety can also be a relapse trigger for many recovering addicts, which is why having a counsellor or sponsor can help you avoid social isolation. Make forming a sober support network a priority in your recovery.

7. Sex and relationships. A common, but often ignored suggestion is to avoid dating in recovery for the first year, as this is one of the most common addiction relapse triggers. There are many reasons for this, one being that new romantic relationships can put you at risk for relapse. A break up with your new partner could lead you back to using due to emotional stress. A potential cross over from your initial addiction to a sex or love addiction; or using relationships to fill the void left by sobriety also create increased risk for relapse.

Remind yourself why it is important to avoid relationships in early recovery, and if you have more than a year of sobriety under your belt follow these tips for dating in recovery  to help make sure your transition to the dating world does not sabotage your sobriety.

8. Getting a promotion or new job. Positive life events are often overlooked as relapse triggers. Getting a promotion or new job can lead to an urge to celebrate. You may fall into the false idea that is celebrating with a drink or drug ‘just this once’ will be ok. Increased income can also trigger thoughts of being able to afford your drug of choice.

While a promotion or other positive event is exciting and can boost your confidence, it may also come with added responsibility, pressure, and stress. That’s why it is important to make a plan for how you will celebrate without drugs or alcohol in advance of actually being in this situation.

9. Reminiscing about or glamorising past drug use. Relapse is a process. If you find yourself reminiscing about times when you used to drink or use in a way that overlooks the pain and suffering your addiction caused, this is a major red flag towards.

Reminiscing can lead to your addictive brain taking over once again. Talking about past use can lead to thinking about future use, and quickly turn into action and probably the most common addiction relapse trigger.

If you find yourself in this pattern of reminiscing, do not ignore it! Talk to a sponsor, counsellor, or supportive friend about it — they will help remind you why you chose a life in recovery.

10. Social situations or places where drugs are available. Another one of the most common relapse triggers is putting yourself in situations where drugs and alcohol are available. It is not always so straightforward though — simply driving through an old neighbourhood or catching the smell of a pub as you walk by can be enough to trigger intense urges to use.

One of the first relapse prevention plans you make should be a list of people, places, and things that are strong triggers for you personally. When doing this, think outside the obvious and ask your sponsor or counsellor for help so you’re not later caught off guard by an emotion, sight or smell.

What Happens if I Relapse?

Even with the best-laid plans to avoid relapse triggers and prevent relapse, the risk is always there. If you do get caught off guard and slip-up, it does not mean that you are a failure and doomed to drug addiction forever.

Recovery is still possible, but the sooner you act after a relapse the better. Get some insight on what to do if you relapse, and remember that after a relapse you may need to attend additional drug or alcohol rehab to get back on your road to recovery.

Call for professional help now 011 787 9142


24/7 helpline 079 770 7532 within South Africa

+27 79 770 7532 International

What Is An Addict

What Is An Addict?

 What is an addict?

An addict is a man or woman whose life is controlled by drugs.

and here are some signs and symptoms to look out for

  • erratic behaviour
  • mood swings
  • loss of weigh
  • not taking care of appearance
  • late for appointments
  • missing important meetings/family get togethers
  • financial problem

and more specifically:

1. Signs that something is wrong

2. Definition of an addict and how to deal with it

3. Rock bottom and hopeless

4. Seeking help from friends, family or professionals

5. Interventions and treatment options

6. Recovery and beyond

1. Signs that something is wrong
Financial affairs and other obligations are becoming chaotic. Increasing debt is often a sure sign that something is awry, commitments are not being kept to, relationships are suffering and on a downward spiral, physical injuries begin to increase and often car accidents begin to occur. Flights, holidays or family events and work deadlines are missed and in constant flux.
Theft and items disappearing or ‘lost’ is often a sign that something is not right. The addict’s home is not as tidy as it once was, their personal hygiene takes a dive. The addict begin to look unkempt. They are constantly losing or claiming to have lost precious items, even family heirlooms. They begin to casually borrow cash, and then become more demanding as pressure mounts on them. They become anxious and irritable when they can’t have their own way and replenish their supply. Visits to the doctor or pharmacy increase by the addict, as do sudden disappearances at important moments or events. There are secretive phone calls and excuses for needing to urgently go to the shops or visit an unnamed or unknown friend, colleague or acquaintance. Alternatively, there are many reasons not to leave home or even to agree to go on holiday, as this may mean being at a distance from their supplier or a doctor who is overgenerous with prescriptions.
People around the addict are becoming angry and disappointed, phone calls from creditors begin to mount. Confrontations with co-workers and the boss becomes the order of the day. Physical and mental health suffers and physical and mental abuse of loved ones escalates.
The list is endless. But one thing remains constant – the addict’s life is increasingly becoming unmanageable, including their reliance on their substance of choice, whether it be alcohol or drugs – including prescription drugs and gambling. Many are secret sex addicts and spend late nights on their computers or visit prostitutes. And their loved ones are being neglected and are unhappy and beginning to wonder if the relationship is worth the drama and disappointment. Children suffer too and can show signs of deep unhappiness or anger.

2. Definition of an addict and how to deal with it
This question has vexed many addicts and their families. But one thing remains constant. An addict is someone whose behavior changes either when they do not have their substance of choice as well as when they do take or consume it.
Many alcoholics and drug addicts are not vagrants living in squalor. Most lead what appears to be normal lives, superficially viewed anyway.  Casual acquaintance with an addict or alcoholic will not reveal anything different from anyone else, perhaps they just have one drink too many, or get aggressive, depressed or anxious for little or no reason.. Addiction is a disease that can and does strike anyone without apparent cause or reason.  It is often said that addiction runs in families, that addicts are born with a propensity towards alcohol particularly. However, increasingly addiction is treated as a mental disease and should carry no shame if it is treated and managed, often with professional help. Yet we know when something is going wrong and we are losing control of our lives.

Addiction covers a wide spectrum of behaviours as well as the obvious ones, from gambling to sex, overeating or excessive dieting and cutting. Some may need immediate intervention to halt the addict’s excessive disorder. Often going to a rehabilitation treatment centre such as Houghton House or hospital is immediately required. If it is a pressing or urgent medical issue, don’t hesitate to seek immediate hospitilisation. Go directly to the emergency room at a hospital or clinic,  or call an ambulance if that is required. Stabalising someone in need of urgent medical attention should always be the top priority.
In the long term, the only way out of the addiction hole is to be truthful to oneself and others. To admit to the scale of the problem and ask for or seek help. If the addict is still in denial, then family, friends, wives and husbands need to discuss the problem, and share with one another the truth of the situation. Discussing the issue and attempting to find a solution is the first step to recovery. It is hard to hide the problem if the truth is in the open.
A common point made by addicts in recovery is that they had lost any spiritual connections they had, and that addiction is a spiritual malaise. Many recovering addicts speak of finding a spiritual solution to their problems, and of the ‘gifts of recovery’. Fellowships or church can often be the only solution and many rehabs introduce clients to the Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous 12-step programme.

3. Rock bottom and hopelessness
Many addicts know when they have hit rock bottom. Everything they thought would never happen, has now happened. They feel they can go no further, and finally accept or seek help. They feel they can go no further down the road of addiction. It could be the loss of their family, their job, their home, car, friends, children or even a major health scare or accident. It matters not what triggers it, but they say this and no more. ‘I just can’t continue living like this, or continuing this behavior’. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm often creep in, but there is another hopeful approach that accepts the situation as it is and surrenders their desire to control their lives and being free of addiction. They agree to seek help, to begin a new way of living. Most addicts in recovery can recount different experiences of things that went wrong when they were in active addiction, but most  can define that exact and often similar moment that they hit rock bottom and were filled with hopelessness and despair.
For many, it is being involved in a serious car crash, or waking up in hospital having no idea how they got there or even where they are. They look at themselves in horror, and try to remember what happened. Others are arrested and find themselves in a holding cell, or being removed from the courts in handcuffs and transported to prison. Many addicts and their families try in vain to bribe their loved one out of the criminal justice system, and find that they must do it again and again until finally that defining moment of rock bottom is reached by the addict themselves and they surrender to the help of others. Many recovering addicts speak of being homeless and living on the streets, resorting to prostitution or criminal behavior to survive and afford their drug of choice. Sadly, it could be a long jail term and barren cell when they reach that moment. But recovery is even then still possible.
It is said that prolonging someone’s journey to rock bottom by constantly helping them is just prolonging the inevitable – and paying a huge price, whether emotionally, mentally, financially or physically.  But the sad truth is that rock bottom is part of many people’s journey and can have life-long consequences. Some are irreversible while others can be rectified over time and through following a life-long path of recovery. One never stops being an addict, but one can live a useful, productive and loving life. Going to AA or NA meetings is proof that recovery does happen, ‘sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly’.

4. Seeking help from friends, family or professionals
If it is a medical emergency then seek medical assistance immediately. An overdose may look manageable but can become life-threatening with little warning. If you need immediate advice, don’t wait until it is too late. Phone Houghton House and trained counsellors will advise you of the next step. If the situation is not immediately urgent, start researching the problem. Searching online will reveal much information and many plans of action and useful advice that will suit each situation or addiction.
There is an enormous amount of information available, by the medical fraternity, specialists in addiction and fellowships but it can become overwhelming. Addiction clinics and rehabs often have their own websites as does Houghton House (,  which offer useful advice and suggestions. Addiction is a global problem and the solution is the same everywhere so read widely and thoroughly. Don’t hesitate to phone us (011 787 9142 (Office)/079 770 7532 (Emergency).  We offer specific and relevant solutions that have helped similar people with similar problems.  There is no shame in going to a rehab, it is the first step to being a recovering addict. Here, you will meet other people with the same or similar addictions
Many turn to doctors, psychologists or psychiatrists or their religious leaders. People in recovery recount how many times they tried this approach. Some succeed but many fail. However, it is necessary to inform your doctor of your addiction so that they are aware of it and can treat the addict with the correct information. Rehabs are a direct intervention and the first stop for many. Fellowships such as AA or NA of like-minded addicts meet regularly throughout all major cities. They also run hotlines so phone them and ask for help.

5. Interventions and treatment options
Sometimes there is no other option but to intervene to help someone or to seek direct treatment from professionals practicing in the addiction field.  It may even be necessary to approach the courts and have someone ‘sectioned’ and forced into treatment. It is best to seek professional advice from professionals such as doctors and counsellors working at rehabs before taking this path. The solution may not be as difficult as it appears. Particular care should be taken with children even if they are addicted to so-called ‘soft drugs’ such as marijuana. Some clinics have special wards and staff dedicated to the under 18s. Your online research will reveal those or contact us for specific advice.
Doing an intervention can be tough on all concerned. But it can and does save lives. When doing an intervention, it is often best to have already done the relevant research or spoken to a specialist or professional before confronting the addict. It is also a good idea to have a plan of action ready before the intervention so that a solution can also be offered such as coming to Houghton House. Another truth is that it is best to take immediate action if the addict asks for or is ready to submit to treatment and not delay by even a day, if possible.
Medical aids are required to cover both mental and addiction rehabilitation and the full stay is often covered in full. Houghton House will assess the client and offer the right solution for each person. Fellowships are a free option and all that is required is to attend meetings and talk to fellow suffers.

6. Recovery and beyond
Recovery is possible and many addicts go on to live full and normal lives. Those working the 12-step programme often start while in rehab and recount how their lives have changed for the better. They happily discuss the “gifts or recovery” which can be unexpected windfalls, such as reconciliation with family and children, or a new job or relationship.
Relationships can be healed with hard work and humility. Gratitude is another ‘gift of recovery’ that can do much to correct many harms of the past. Recovering addicts do become pillars of society and do live meaningful lives – with a little help from their fellows they have met on their journey to health and wellness. The first step to recovery is just that, a step or phone call away.

smoking is a problem

There Is A Fine Line Between Regular Drug Use And Drug Abuse

There is a fine line between regular use and drug abuse and addiction.

Very few addicts are able to recognize when they have crossed that line. While frequency or the amount of drugs consumed do not necessarily constitute drug abuse or addiction, they can often be indicators of drug-related problems. Drug abuse may start as a way to socially connect. Commonly, people try drugs for the first time in social situations with friends and acquaintances. A strong desire to fit in to the group can make it feel like doing the drugs with them is the only option. Problems can sometimes sneak up on you, as your drug use gradually increases over time. Smoking a joint with friends over the weekend, or taking ecstasy at a gig, or cocaine at an occasional party, for example, can change from using drugs a couple of days a week to using them every day. Gradually, getting and using the drug becomes more and more important to you. If the drug fulfills a valuable need, you may find yourself increasingly relying on it. You may take drugs to calm or energize yourself, or make you more confident. You may start using prescription drugs to cope with panic attacks or relieve chronic pain. Until you find alternative, healthier methods for overcoming these problems, your drug use will likely continue. If you are using drugs to fill a void in your life, you’re more at risk of crossing the line from casual use to drug abuse and addiction. To maintain a healthy balance in your life, you need to have positive experiences and feel good about your life without any drug use. As drug abuse takes hold, you may miss or frequently be late for work or school, your job performance may progressively deteriorate, and you may start to neglect social or family responsibilities. Your ability to stop using is eventually compromised. What began as a voluntary choice has turned into a physical and psychological need. Eventually drug abuse can consume your life, stopping social and intellectual development. This only reinforces the feelings of isolation that led to the drug use in the first place. The good news is that with the right treatment and support, you can counteract the disruptive effects of drug use and regain control of your life. The first obstacle is to recognize and admit you have a problem, or listen to loved ones who are often better able to see the negative effects drug use is having on your life.

For more information on how we can assist you or a loved one please call and one of our professional staff members will guide you through the process.

011 787 9142 (office hours)

079 7707532 (emergency hours)

Source: anonymous

Are creative people prone to drug and alcohol abuse?

Are creative people prone to drug and alcohol abuse?

Are creative people prone to drug and alcohol abuse?
The problem is temperate people make for uninteresting biographies, and we tend to remember the troubled lives of Van Gough or Faulkner, while forgetting the mellow lives of Monet or J.R.R. Tolkien.
So, the answer to the question may be we all tend to notice and celebrate the flamboyant addictions and destructive lifestyles of certain creative personalities because it fits our notions of what a “creative person” is supposed to be.
Often certain high profile rock stars and TV stars perpetuate and act out the myth. Meanwhile, wouldn’t Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg be considered “creative”? Wouldn’t Ingmar Bergman, Richard Feynman, or Auguste Rodin be considered creative? None of them needed rehab. Are alcoholic lawyers, Vicodin-addicted grandmothers, and code monkeys snorting Adderall any more “creative” because of their addictions? The danger in the myth, as I see it, is that creative people may feel justified in indulging in very common and self-destructive addictions, because they are “artists,” to the detriment of their work. Sure some musicians may find that they are only able to work when they are high, but a heroin addicted carpenter thinks that he is only able to work he is high. That’s how addiction works. I agree that artistic passion may seem pathological or addictive to an outside observer. My father practices his trumpet six hours a day, every single morning, a ritual worthy of a diagnosis of OCD. My brother writes deep into the night, with the urgency and obsession of a meth addict. I myself indulge in all sorts of drawings, writing and childish play acting while making a film – that are sometimes not unlike the behaviour of someone on a psychotropic drug.
However, I believe the connection between creativity and addiction is more mythical and metaphorical than real. My own struggles with addiction (particularly alcohol) have had only destructive consequences for my “art.” Whatever passions I feel or alternate worlds I want to explore, substance abuse is only an obstacle.
To sum it up, to credit the Disease of Addiction to Creativity is an absolute insult to the real creatives out there!
Source : anonymous (internet)
Mental Versus Physical Addiction: Understanding Addiction is the First Step to Ending it

Mental Versus Physical Addiction: Understanding Addiction is the First Step to Ending it.

Mental Versus Physical Addiction

Addiction is a multi-faceted and complex disease. Oftentimes the term “addiction” is oversimplified, but in reality there are many types of addiction that often lay on a spectrum. One of the most important distinctions to make when considering addiction is whether the addiction is physical, psychological or a combination of both.

Physical addiction happens when your body develops dependency on a substance or drug. This dependency means that the cells of your body fail to function without it. This failure to function is reflected in withdrawal symptoms including headaches, vomiting or nausea. These symptoms are the body’s way of urging the addicted individual to use again to return to a functioning state.

Physical addiction causes pain that can often only be abated by another dose or another drink. Some drugs are said to be less physically addictive than others. For instance, ecstasy is less physically addictive for many compared to heroin or meth. Physical addiction is often treated through a process of detoxification.

Detoxification is a slow and gradual process. Often, physically addicted individuals cannot stop using cold turkey. Houghton House can help addicts create a program that slowly decreases usage so that they don’t feel withdrawal symptoms as strongly. Sometimes, other drugs are even used in substitution for stronger drugs.

Psychological addiction functions more in the mind of the addicted individual. Psychological addicts from all walks of life are consumed with thoughts of the next dose, drink or hit. Physical addiction is more intertwined with ideas of compulsion and desire. It is the feeling of not being able to live without something.

Often, detoxification doesn’t work fully for psychological addictions. The mind overpowers the body and the desire for another dose or drink is still there. Many doctors and therapists consider drug or alcohol rehab a more important step for those who are psychologically addicted. These programs allow recovering addicts to create and allow another way of thinking.

Skills and coping mechanisms that are cognitive are necessary for overcoming a psychological addiction. These tools are those that Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres supplies for patients.

However, it is important to note that psychological and physical addictions can often be tangled into each other. It is sometimes difficult for addicts to make distinctions between physical and mental needs.

Houghton House help addicts learn the exact type of addictions they are dealing with and thus how to successfully treat them. Understanding addiction is the first step to ending it.

For more information on our treatment options call +27 11 787 9142

What is the drug Nyaope?

What is the Drug Nyaope?

South Africa’s Scourge of Nyaope

What is the drug Nyaope?Nyaope an illegal drug also known as Whoonga drug is a dangerous and highly addictive South African street drug. Nyaope is a fine powder that is usually combined with marijuana (dagga) and smoked, it can also be snorted or injected. Nyaope’s main ingredient is Heroin. It is not always clear what all of the ingredients of Nyaope are, the ingredients may vary from place to place. According to the South African Police Services Forensics drug abuse team in Pretoria, Nyaope is a Heroin based cocktail of drugs.

What does that mean?

It means that the main ingredient is heroin and very addictive. To make heroin cheaper drug dealers add all kinds of drugs into the heroin to make the dealer more money from the drug trafficking. In Nyaope’s case, it ranges from ephedrine, cleaning chemicals, detergents, arsenic and many other similar products including psychiatric medications such as anti-depressants, depressants and anti-psychotics. This list can include antiretroviral drugs used for HIV positive people, though they have no effect at all except to bulk up the weight content. Each batch is different. There have been a few cases where rat poison, television tube powder, multiple sclerosis pills and antiretroviral medication have been found. This has been breaking news and incorrectly highlighted and promoted by the media.

Is Nyaope dangerous?

Nyaope is very dangerous and just one long binge can make you physically addicted.nayope mix heroin and other drugs

Some of the Negative Effects for Nyaope Users.

Short-Term Effects
Nyaope or Whoonga substance abusing addicts experience clouded mental functioning, severe nausea and vomiting. ( possibly caused by the rat poison and other mixes in the heroin-based drug Awareness of pain in the Nyaope addict and Nyaope users can be suppressed. A pregnant woman can suffer spontaneous abortion with drug abuse of this kind. Cardiac (heart) is severely slowed down, sometimes to the point of death.

Long-Term Effects
Scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels, heart valves, abscesses and other soft-tissue infections, liver and kidney disease. Lung complications may result. Sharing of needles or fluids may result in hepatitis, AIDS and other blood-borne virus diseases. It can even cause mental and psychotic breakdowns related to being hiv positive.

Withdrawal from Nayope is especially traumatic and includes insomnia, diarrhoea extreme stomach cramps, and vomiting.

The effects that we have just told you aremainly  from heroin only and many of the effects of the mix of drain cleaner chemicals including antiretroviral drugs used in Nyaope is still unknown. But what you do need to know is that heroin alone is already highly addictive and it will destroy you, your life, your health, your dreams and your friends and family.

Immediate & Adverse effects of Nyaope or Whoonga

Reports indicate that a whoonga addict needs several doses a day, however, often users are typically too poor to afford the drug out of their legal income. The effects of whoonga characteristically wear off in 6 – 24 hours depending on the individual and health status and dependence-producing substances involved . There are unpleasant side-effects. These side effects include agonizing stomach cramps, back ache, sweating, chills, anxiety, restlessness, depression, nausea and diarrhoea

Why would anyone ever use Nyaope?

Unfortunately, people are uneducated about the dangers of drug use and when they are confronted many times they fall prey to empty promises of hope. There are many reasons why people take drugs but there is one reason that is the same for all.

People use drugs because they want to change something in their lives. With poor economics and the moral decay of society and the daily stresses, people are looking for fast ways to forget their problems. For a while, the drug seems to help. But eventually the drug for the Nyaope addict becomes the problem and one needs to take the drug just to feel normal, but that never works. There is a view that most of the abuse is in the cape town area but according to latest drug trafficking sources the whoonga drug and scourge of Nyaope is prevalent all over the country.

What is the solution to prevent the use of Nyaope? 

There is really only one way and that is education. We need to educate young and old about the dangers of the harmful effects of substance abuse and dependence-producing substances. If South Africas users really knew what illegal drugs could do to them, their dreams and their families they would not take them in the first place. So the real answer is not to take street drugs.
For more information call Houghton House on 011 787 9142
or our emergency line (079) 7707532

“If you’d like to find our more breaking news about The Truth About Drugs or Drug Trafficking visit the Foundation for a Drug-Free World’s website at” (graphic with thanks to Drug-Free World).

Summer Fun In Recovery from Addiction

Summer Fun In Recovery from Addiction

Summer Fun In Recovery From Addiction

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy…”  so says that tune! Many of us look forward to this time as a time of relaxing, recharging and spending time with our loved ones and friends. The reality is that summer time is actually a time of increased stress. There’s a saying in recovery that if we are “spiritually fit,” we can go anywhere without fear of relapse. But, it’s probably also true that if we are spiritually fit, there are places we know we shouldn’t be hanging around unless we have a very good reason. As we enter the height of the summer months, we are likely to be presented with more outdoor parties, braais, and celebrations than we usually experience. We are going to have to make some decisions about what we are going to do.

We’ve also been hearing about staying away from “people, places, and things,” but does that mean we aren’t allowed to go anywhere other than to see our councillors or our local meetings?

Absolutely not…

When we are new to our recovery, our choices should be geared toward giving us the best chance to achieve long-term recovery. It’s never going to be a good idea to expose ourselves to situations where people are drinking or using drugs before we are secure in our recovery, if ever!

Whether we are new to recovery or we’ve been around for a while, we always want to be as prepared as possible. There are a few things we can do:

Stay the Course:

Holidays and celebrations are looming upon us, but our disease never takes a day off. We have to continue doing what we need to do for our recovery each day. Staying clean and sober requires us to be vigilant. Being vigilant means covering the basics every day. We should remember:

  • Don’t let ourselves get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
  • Stay connected to our recovery support system and continue to make recovery a priority.
  • Stay connected to our higher power. Consistently practicing prayer and mediation will keep us balanced and centered.

Have a Plan:

It’s not reasonable to expect the world to stop drinking or using drugs just because we did. If we are going to be in a place where drinks are being served, it’s best that we structure our visit so that we can be as safe as possible.

Have your own transportation. If things don’t go well, it’s important that we aren’t tied to someone else’s schedule.

Bring a friend. If we can bring someone in recovery with us, we’ll have a ready source of support.

Bring your phone. We should have a charged cell phone and make sure someone we trust knows to expect that we might call. If we find ourselves feeling out of sorts, a quick call may be all it takes to get us back on track.

Leave early. Many times, we can satisfy our social obligations just by showing up and paying our respects. It’s a good idea to hit the road before the party has gone on too long.

Have a back-up plan. Even on a good day, things rarely go exactly as we expect. If our phone dies, or there’s no reception, or the car runs out of gas, we still need to be prepared.

Summer is a traditional time of relaxation we can join in provided that we are careful in the way we approach it.

If you or a loved one are in need of assistance please do not hesitate to call our office on

011 787 9142 or

24/7 emergency helpline 

079 770 7532


What Drives Us To Addiction?

What Drives Us To Addiction?

What Drives Us To Addiction?

Anybody can suffer from addiction, be it to alcohol, drugs, or anything else. Addiction places no importance on age, race, or background – it can happen to anybody, and it’s on the rise. That’s what makes treating the illness both difficult and rewarding; every addict will have their own story to tell, their own reasons why they’ve fallen into hard times.

That being said, there are some recurring themes we hear again and again. While the details may differ from person to person, we can construct a web of stories to create an idea of what could drive a person to addiction.What Drives Us To Addiction?


As sad as may seem, it’s a sense of loneliness that many addicts talk of as contributing to their illness. While this might seem like something to work on, it’s difficult for an addict to see this problem – and in some cases, they’re not capable of making the jump to making the connections with other people they need to feel worthwhile and important, sans drink or drugs. Sometimes, a person can be in the middle of a party, be talking gregariously with everybody, yet still feel lonely. It’s a state of mind from which some people are predisposed.

To compensate for their feeling of loneliness, they fill in the hole with a substance that will help them to escape their troubles. They may feel more at ease with themselves once they have had a drink or done drugs, but it’s really just a mask – they’re covering up the problem when they actually should be addressing it.

Change of Fortunes

It doesn’t take much for a person to go, in their own mind, from hero to zero. Amidst an age of economic trouble and plenty of interpersonal issues, a person’s circumstances can change pretty suddenly. Getting laid off from a job, or divorced, or any other personal crisis can drive a person to use substances to help escape from their problems. You can never underestimate how a personal change of fortunes may affect a person. A study by the University of Miami has shown a link between the rise of alcoholism and an economic downturn, showing just how devastating the loss of employment can be.

Even subtle changes, such as children leaving home or retirement from a job, can lead to addiction, as the person who once had responsibilities adjusts to their new role.


A routine leading to addiction can sometimes be the most troublesome as it takes longer for the person to realize they are addicted, especially when it comes to alcohol. Drinking is a social part of our culture which many people partake in. So a person might not see anything wrong with enjoying a few drinks. However in some cases, these casual drinks can become more regular as time goes on. Soon, they may have an addiction to alcohol without even realizing it. This makes it difficult to detect and also difficult for friends and family to treat as this form of addiction is usually not as severe as what most people consider “addiction” to look like. Still, through habit they have become addicted – and need help treating it.

Environmental and Social Causes

It’s a complicated world we live in, one in which more and more is asked of us as individuals. It’s not uncommon for this pressure to negatively manifest itself in some way, be it mental health issues or over reliance on substances. These environmental causes are conditional, but sometimes unavoidable. A person with a high pressure job who needs to perform every day might find themselves self-prescribing medication just to make it through their work. Slowly but surely, they will become dependent on that medication. A third of South Africans are also suffering from some sort of mental illness, which they may try to treat – or rather, block out – with drink or drugs.

Similarly, social causes often contribute too. It’s not at all difficult for a person to fall into an environment where drink or drug abuse is normalized or even encouraged. In that world, it’s easier for people who are susceptible to addiction to form a habit that needs professional help to correct.

Final Thoughts

These are, of course, just a handful of the many number of reasons that addiction exists. Scientists are still figuring out exactly what causes it. In the meantime, help is available – nobody has to let their addiction rule their life.

Please call our 24hour helpline 079 7707532

Article written by: Gemma Collins

Common Habits of Highly Addictive People

Common Habits of Highly Addictive People

These are seven common habits of highly addicted people:

• Withdrawing from loved ones

Individuals are consumed by their drug of choice and spend a significant amount of their time using drugs. This means they will usually skip social meetings or gatherings or will arrive late and leave early. They might not respond to emails, phone calls, or text messages.

• Acting secretive

People addicted to drugs or alcohol don’t want to be caught. They do everything to conceal their addiction problems. They are experts in guarding their computer and phone, and lying about where they go and what they do. They oppose anyone who questions what they’re doing.

• Abandoning hobbies

Activities or hobbies that used to hold the person’s attention no longer hold the same appeal. This is because individuals don’t have enough time to pursue their hobbies or simply don’t care anymore. Anxiety, depression, and lack of motivation are three common illnesses that can encourage a person to take interest in drugs and alcohol instead of once-loved pastimes.

• Skipping work or school

People who are addicted usually have a hard time regularly attending school and work. They’d rather go to party or sleep off a hangover than force their mind and body to function at school or work. Whether they go to work late, leave early, do careless work, or call in sick, people hooked on a substance will have a noticeably poor academic or work performance.

• Spending cash quickly

Most people addicted to drugs burn through cash very quickly. It is not in their habit to save money. Instead, they spend their cash as quickly as they can make, borrow, or steal it.

• Engaging in risky behavior

Jumping off cliffs, driving extremely fast, and acting shamelessly can give a person a high much like that of their drug of choice. Because drugs can cause hallucinations or paranoia, people who use them are more prone to accidents.

• Neglecting their personal appearance

Some individuals forget to look after their personal hygiene and appearance. They don’t care how they smell or what they look like. They can’t conceal the physical effects of drug use, including meth mouth, bloodshot eyes, persistent cough, and weight loss.

If you’re needing help for yourself or a loved one fill in the contact form below or call

+27 79 770 7532


Tips To Stay Motivated in Long-Term Sobriety

Tips To Stay Motivated in Long-Term Sobriety

Tips To Stay Motivated in Long-Term Sobriety

Recovery is a lifelong battle.

There is no report card or final grade. A life filled with long-term recovery and a life in sobriety, is a life that will bring you happiness and joy. So much that it may leave you feeling undeserving of the gifts you have been given.

The trick to a lasting recovery is to constantly be growing. We must always be moving forward. If you are not growing, you are dying. This is especially true in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, or addiction of any kind.

Over the years, I have learned a few tips and tricks that enable me to keep growing and keep moving forward. I would love to share my experience with you in hopes that I may help someone in need.

Find What Works For You and Stick to It

Here is what works for me.

  • I call my sponsor most nights.
  • I go to the same meeting every Tuesday evening.
  • I exercise and I meditate after my runs.
  • I take care of my body.
  • I pray before I go to bed.
  • I stay connected to the people I love.

That is my recovery plan in a nutshell. Granted, there is a bit more to it than that, but I can safely say that as long as I continue to do those things, I will stay sober.

The real question is, what works for you?

Find what works, find what keeps you centered and keeps you spiritually fit and stick to it. There is always room for trying new things and we will get to that shortly.

Build A Routine

There is no question that my routine keeps me on the straight and narrow path.

I wake up at the same time every day. I go to bed around the same time every day. I get to work and leave work at the same time every day. Some days I stay late because I enjoy what I do, but my routine is important because when if I stay late too often, then I am missing out on other experiences that I enjoy.

Finding a balanced routine will make your life so much easier.

You won’t be wasting time and energy moving around. Your mind will be more focused. When I get off my routine, I notice that I get tired from all the extra thinking I have to do. I try to stay out of my own head as much as possible.

It took me some time to find my routine, and sometimes I admit I do feel like I get stuck on auto-pilot. When that happens it usually means it’s time for a vacation. So I unplug, I refresh and then I get back to it.

Take Care Of Yourself

My sponsor often reminds me that addiction is spiritual, mental and physical.

In addition, I abused my spirit, my mind, and my body. So in active recovery it is important that I take care of all three.

There is no question that physical health is usually what is lacking in recovering addicts or alcoholics. Abusing food, sugar or being slothful are all common replacements for the drugs and alcohol.

I am lucky because I have always enjoyed exercise, and I have always been interested in nutrition and how the body works. But this doesn’t mean you need to be a health nut to take care of yourself.

Be sure to get enough sleep. Be sure to eat vegetables. Be sure to exercise. You don’t need to run a marathon. Go for a mile walk around the block a few times a week.

Taking care of yourself is a bona fide method strengthen your sobriety, as well as improve your emotional and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins which creates a “natural high.” Not to mention it is a great stress relief.

Always look for ways to grow!

If your needing help for yourself or a loved one please contact us

office hours: 0117879142

emergency: 0797707532


Written by Tim S


A Day In The Life Of A Mother Of A Heroin Addict

A Day In The Life Of A Mother Of A Heroin Addict

 Heroin Addiction:  A Day In The Life Of A Mother Of A Heroin Addict
Its midnight and the rest of the world is sleeping but I am not. My thoughts have me wide awake. I know I have to work so think I should try to lay down. So I curl up on the couch making sure that I am facing the front door always fearful that one of the dealers you owe money could come late at night looking for you and kick in the door. Hoping that if that happens that my dog will be able to protect us both. I lay there begging , pleading and bargaining with God for your life telling him I will trade mine for yours. The hours of sleep I get are restless and full of nightmares. 5:30am and the alarm goes off. My first thoughts of the day are of you and the overwhelming sadness fills my soul. I get ready for work and look in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep match the ones under your eyes from your addiction. I cry on my way to work as the radio plays and I think of you and wonder did you make it through the night. I pull myself together, take a deep breath and walk in the door at work. I try hard to focus on my task at hand but there you are always on my mind. My cell phone always close by waiting for that bad phone call about you that I fear is coming. They tell me they are bringing me a blood draw to do. I look to see another face of another kid with dark circles under their eyes and scars on their arms that look just like yours. That kid says to me “Your gonna have trouble getting me”. I stop them right there and say its ok my son is an addict to and I have drawn him. I know what to do. Those few minutes they are in that blood draw chair I use to talk to them and say whatever I can that might get through to them. I hold back the tears as I say please remember what you are doing to your family. Those kids always say I will and I am so sorry for what your going through. They walk away and I stand there hoping and praying I said something that will help them and I think of you. The work day is done and I drive home crying thinking of you. I pull in the driveway and I just sit there a few minutes exhausted from pushing myself through another day. I open the front door wondering if I will have anything left inside or in desperation you have come through the day and took what is left and havent took off me already. I do a few chores and think its dinner time. But cant eat because guilt washes over me because I wonder if you had anything to eat today. I get the fire going and feel guilty because I wonder if your cold because the last time you left here you didnt even take your coat. The phone rings and I always catch my breath because I wonder if its my turn to get the phone call so many other heartbroken parents have gotten. Its not this time but family members calling to see if I have heard from you today, or someone you have wronged trying to find you. I tell them no I dont know where you are because you are gone again. I sit here feeling guilty because I remember I have 2 other children who need be to be there mother but you and your addiction have consumed my life making me forget that. I call them and try to forget you and your addiction to focus on their lives a few minutes. I look at my empty checking account and maxed out credit cards thinking how your addiction has destroyed every part of my life. I scroll through my Facebook looking at pictures of everyone celebrating Christmas and full of smiles. I dont smile anymore , I dont laugh and in my head I plan what I will do when that phone call I am dreading finally comes. You are on the run again and mad at all of us, worse then you have ever been. So there wont be no celebrating Christmas this year just trying to get through it. I try to watch TV but again thoughts of you flood my head. The guilt , the fear, the sadness always consuming my every thought. So your addiction hasnt only destroyed you , it has destroyed me to. I look around and all I see is memories of you my brown eyed boy. Pictures hang on the wall of you , your brother and sister. I find little home made crafts you made in grade school and I think what happened to that little boy? Reality hits me that little boy is gone and a heroine addict is what remains possessed by a drug that has stole your soul.
Its midnight again and the nightmare of days starts all over again……..
Its midnight and the rest of the world is sleeping but I am not. My thoughts have me wide awake. I know I have to work so think I should try to lay down. So I curl up on the couch making sure that I am facing the front door always fearful that one of the dealers you owe money could come late at night looking for you and kick in the door. Hoping that if that happens that my dog will be able to protect us both. I lay there begging , pleading and bargaining with God for your life telling him I will trade mine for yours. The hours of sleep I get are restless and full of nightmares. 5:30am and the alarm goes off. My first thoughts of the day are of you and the overwhelming sadness fills my soul. I get ready for work and look in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep match the ones under your eyes from your addiction. I cry on my way to work as the radio plays and I think of you and wonder did you make it through the night. I pull myself together, take a deep breath and walk in the door at work. I try hard to focus on my task at hand but there you are always on my mind. My cell phone always close by waiting for that bad phone call about you that I fear is coming. They tell me they are bringing me a blood draw to do. I look to see another face of another kid with dark circles under their eyes and scars on their arms that look just like yours. That kid says to me “Your gonna have trouble getting me”. I stop them right there and say its ok my son is an addict to and I have drawn him. I know what to do. Those few minutes they are in that blood draw chair I use to talk to them and say whatever I can that might get through to them. I hold back the tears as I say please remember what you are doing to your family. Those kids always say I will and I am so sorry for what your going through. They walk away and I stand there hoping and praying I said something that will help them and I think of you. The work day is done and I drive home crying thinking of you. I pull in the driveway and I just sit there a few minutes exhausted from pushing myself through another day. I open the front door wondering if I will have anything left inside or in desperation you have come through the day and took what is left and havent took off me already. I do a few chores and think its dinner time. But cant eat because guilt washes over me because I wonder if you had anything to eat today. I get the fire going and feel guilty because I wonder if your cold because the last time you left here you didnt even take your coat. The phone rings and I always catch my breath because I wonder if its my turn to get the phone call so many other heartbroken parents have gotten. Its not this time but family members calling to see if I have heard from you today, or someone you have wronged trying to find you. I tell them no I dont know where you are because you are gone again. I sit here feeling guilty because I remember I have 2 other children who need be to be there mother but you and your addiction have consumed my life making me forget that. I call them and try to forget you and your addiction to focus on their lives a few minutes. I look at my empty checking account and maxed out credit cards thinking how your addiction has destroyed every part of my life. I scroll through my Facebook looking at pictures of everyone celebrating Christmas and full of smiles. I dont smile anymore , I dont laugh and in my head I plan what I will do when that phone call I am dreading finally comes. You are on the run again and mad at all of us, worse then you have ever been. So there wont be no celebrating Christmas this year just trying to get through it. I try to watch TV but again thoughts of you flood my head. The guilt , the fear, the sadness always consuming my every thought. So your addiction hasnt only destroyed you , it has destroyed me to. I look around and all I see is memories of you my brown eyed boy. Pictures hang on the wall of you , your brother and sister. I find little home made crafts you made in grade school and I think what happened to that little boy?
Reality hits me that little boy is gone and a heroin addict is what remains possessed by a drug that has stole your soul.
Its midnight again and the nightmare of days starts all over again………
*this was written by an ever suffering mother of an addict who chooses to remain anonomous
World Drug Day 26th June

World Drug Day 26th June

drugabusedayOn 26 June the global spotlight falls on World Drug Day

International Day Against Drug Abuse 
and Illicit Trafficking, 26 June

and we look at the concerning statistics regarding drug abuse as well as the role of rehabilitation in the treatment of addiction.

 The impact of addiction on society is far reaching. It is placing more pressure on medical aids than ever before as payment for not only the addiction, but also related illnesses due to the addiction, takes place.  In addition, the legal system is under pressure due to the ever increasing crime rate, with 50 % of all crimes that can now be attributed to substance abuse. The loss of productivity in the workplace is also costing the economy millions.

Yet, society is asked not to judge. Nobody chooses to become addicted and it is a gradual, yet degrading, physical and psychological process.

The abuse of psycho-active substances has become the solution for people to escape from their harsh realities and “even prescription drugs have become a problem” as it is used as a crutch to overcome daily challenges.

Addiction is defined by a loss of control, despite the negative consequences.  “The addiction to a drug causes a psychological inability  by a person to handle problems. Due to the immense psychological and physiological problems caused by drug abuse, it is interesting to note that after a while addicts no longer use the drugs to feel better, but merely to function normally”.

The increase in substance abuse requires a dynamic, yet sympathetic approach by service providers. At Houghton House: “We are proud of our facilities and the versatile and professional approach of our staff.

Our reputation is founded on our interaction with and support of our patients.

Houghton House offers a comprehensive range of treatment options. In-patient treatment spans both primary care (4-6 weeks) and secondary care (4-12 weeks). Outpatient treatment spans tertiary residential options and out-patient groups and therapy. Outpatient residential accommodation is halfway house accommodation, or aftercare and relapse prevention support, we offer the full continuum of care.

Services like medical assessments, individual, family, and group counseling; supervised recreational activities, and addiction education are incorporated into each of our programmes.

Our treatment programme is based on evidence-based cognitive behavioral, educational, and medical practices to promote and support individuals as they move into recovery and begin living a constructive life.

Lengths of stay and programmes are structured to accommodate the individual needs of clients at various points in their recovery — from detoxification to reintegration into the community.

Our programmes accommodate all levels of care in addiction treatment and our services are delivered in a step-down manner, decreasing in intensity as the client progresses through treatment.

Contact us or call our office on 011 787 9142

24hr helpline 079 770 7532 and we can assist you with help for yourself or a loved one.

No one ever asks me why I don't shoot heroin.

No one ever asks me why I don’t shoot heroin.


…yet everybody asks me why I don’t drink alcohol!

In my social circle it’s a general opinion that heroin is extremely destructive – only junkies do heroin, those ugly homeless people with bad skin, prostitutes and low life men. The cliche of a heroin addict.

Socially, the question of using heroin, well …it never comes up!

Because I’ve quit heroin, and because I’m an addict, means I’ve had to quit ALL mind and mood altering substances. So I don’t – well, can’t drink socially – or anywhere else! I’ve had to explain this decision that I cannot have a drink more times than I can count. The funny thing about this is that alcohol is arguably more harmful than many illegal drugs, heroin included. Alcohol is one of the most addictive of drugs ever discovered. It’s so addictive that heavy drinkers are at risk of death when they quit cold turkey. Something that is not true for the majority of other drugs.

Alcohol use is treated so differently from illegal drug use precisely because it is so normalised in society thanks to its status as a legal intoxicant.
When you don’t drink, you start to notice how much of a problem alcohol is for so many people. After spending numerous social events sober, observing, you start asking yourself, why anyone would want to do this to themselves? Acting stupid, looking stupider and losing your dignity at the bottom of a shot glass.

Unfortunately somehow, when you’re sober, people insist on hanging all over you, telling you their deepest darkest secrets. Most people actually don’t understand what I mean when I say “I don’t drink.” I’ve heard everything from “Come-on champagne isn’t really alcohol, right?” to “Yeah, I know you don’t drink, but here just have one!” For not taking part in this social activity I’m automatically branded as abnormal, unless I can give a satisfactory explanation for declining to drink alcohol.

There are times when I will put Appetiser into a champagne glass, as it looks just like champagne to alleviate the question of “Why aren’t you drinking? Are you ok? You’ll spoil the party if you stay sober!” Other times when I’ll say “I’m allergic to alcohol, as it gives me terrible asthma” – I get “Oh dear, you poor darling that must be terrible that you can’t drink…” as a response.

If I replied “I can’t drink, because if I drink, I’ll trash the place! I’ll steal your boyfriend – and your car – and I’ll start taking heroin in large quantities!”
I would be stared at in horror, open-mouthed, ostracized, given the cold shoulder and be asked to leave immediately.

Why is it acceptable to drink alcohol but not to take heroin?
Simply because one is legal and the other is not?
Yet they are both as deadly!

Ok… it’s not as simple as that …but then again – it is as simple as that…

An Addict's Version of "I'm Fine"!

An Addict’s Version of “I’m Fine”!

I’m Fine

Addict: “Just one more… and then I’ll stop … Just the one… and that will be it…

No problem…

… and as the hours fly past… and more becomes all… and all …becomes …everything…

No problem

…I’ll stop tomorrow – easy.

It’s all good.”

It’s never “easy” – watching someone at full flight in the centre of the maelstrom of their addiction. Whether it’s a drug, alcohol, eating or any one of a number of issues that plague the person you love it’s a harrowing stage – and one that at times seems to have no end or solution in sight.

Being strong and in charge for your loved one is good and necessary. So is understanding the fact that they are constantly in the throes of wrestling with their problem, and the chaos that becomes a regular part of life for you and your loved one – and the immediate family, is not permanent.

Families experience a divergence of emotions including sadness, guilt, hopelessness, anger, frustration, and fear. Many of the family members including you will have exhausted any coping mechanisms and resources to influence your loved one in the direction of change. Pleading, threatening, arguing, confronting and avoiding have all probably been tried with limited success. A big issue to consider is that because of the stressful environment, you and other of your family members may be besieged with your own issues including anxiety, depression and trauma in part due to and/or aggravated by the stress.

To help ease and attempt to bring things to a more normal state of being we have outlined a number of suggestions that may increase the likelihood of getting your loved one to engage in treatment (or change of any sort!) while keeping you as healthy as possible.

Your own self-care is essential.

Establish your own personal limits.

Gain an understanding of the terms “addict,” “enabler” and “co-dependent”, so to remove the stigma that so often surrounds them

Learn to converse in a non-judgmental way. Explain to your loved one and family that this struggle is different for everyone, and that there are any number of paths to change that could be helpful.

Recognize strengths of the loved one. Validate their experience. Acknowledge that their abusive behaviours do not define who they are as a person.

Make a commitment to addressing your own issues (including seeking your own treatment) with your loved one. Own your piece of the struggle.

Empathize with the predicament of ambivalence that the loved one faces.

Respond effectively to the expected ambivalence and subsequent reluctance to change from your loved one. Understand their point of view. Stay away from threats. Invitation works better.

Seek outside consultation from a clinician you trust. Learning how to communicate with your loved one in the most optimal way takes time. Learn to control the way you deliver a message.

Suggest the first visit to a mental health provider be simply “an initial consult to find out what treatment options exist.” The focus of the consult could be managing stress and anxiety and not necessarily a particular disorder.

Though there is a wealth of good and helpful information available, regrettably, there too is an abundance of dangerous misinformation and so called cures available to the general public regarding the treatment of addictive disorders.

A good, or rather, bad example are the reality television shows often that portray dramatic and provocative “interventions” that claim to effect drastic change. Unfortunately, these types of approaches rarely work and can serve to alienate and shame the individual, often leaving him or her with lower self-esteem, self-hatred and more desperate to escape. Unfortunately the person being confronted is often still under the influence of a substance leaving them compromised, disinhibited, self-justifying, and demonstrating poor judgment with an inability to comprehend the nature of the intervention.

Houghton House offers a nurturing and involved treatment plan with Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Care. Support through the stages for you, your loved one and if necessary the family is also provided. Many of our patients develop an enthusiasm and want to stop abusive behaviour once they are engaged in a treatment program and exposed to the option of recovery.

I’m Fine.

Just one more and then I’ll stop.




About So Much More than Just Food

Body Image Crisis: We live in an era where millions of women and men are silently suffering through a personal body image crisis. You may not be diagnosed with an eating disorder but just because you don’t meet the full criteria for anorexia or bulimia doesn’t mean that your struggle isn’t real!

Today the benchmark for beauty is strongly set by the media. Let’s face it, it’s powerful enough that you cannot go even one day without being bombarded by countless miracle weight loss products, mind-bending before and afters, the latest life-changing cosmetic surgeries, trending diets taking top restaurants by storm, or the most delicious fat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free recipes promising a thinner, better you.

And, although we see these beautiful bodies everywhere, it’s only really one body that we’re seeing, over and over again. Our own!


Know Your Eating Attitude

You may not know or realize it, but the way you feel about yourself has a huge impact on your life. It influences your choices and decisions, affects the little (or sometimes very loud) voice in your head, and ultimately how you project yourself to the world around you.

Interestingly, approximately 91% of people are unhappy with their bodies, but in reality only 5% of people naturally possess the ideal body type portrayed by the media! The chances of it being YOU are close to zero. And the affects are devastating for those who have a genetic predisposition to developing an eating disorder, as the continuous comparisons may ultimately lead to the onset or development of an out-of-control disorder.

Time and again research exposes the compelling link between weight control behaviours and the development of eating disorders. But, telling us ‘curvy is better’, or patronising us by suggesting we are our own worst body critics and should magically ‘snap out of it’, isn’t going to help.

So what will?


Start Feeling Good About Yourself!

Changing learnt behaviours is challenging enough, and recovery in an environment of fitness fanatics and calorie counters is rather daunting, but feeling good about yourself is well within your reach. The first step is to access a framework of like-minded support structures where group therapy forces you to look within, while highlighting many shared common denominators.

Here you will find support, advice and guidance where the focus is kept on healthy choices, positive re-enforcement and a less obsessed mindset with unobtainable (if not unrealistic) standards of beauty. The collective space is one that will ultimately lead you on a wonderful path of personal development. Your body image crisis soon becomes a manageable thought process. And, you may not believe it now, but how you relate to food and your body will not only become an uplifting experience but an empowering exercise of self-reflection.


Celebrating Sobriety with Houghton House

Celebrating Sobriety with Houghton House

Celebrating your Sobriety with Houghton House.

Making your one year sober anniversary is a monumental achievement, a milestone if you will. Getting to one year clean takes hard work. A recovering alcoholic/addict who makes it to one year, has committed to making difficult life changes. This achievement should not be underplayed but rather celebrated. In one year a recovering addict has had to basically relearn everything, sit with uncomfortable emotions and ride a tidal wave of transformation.

Your sobriety anniversary is an emotional time, and the Houghton House team recognizes this and we are here to celebrate this milestone right alongside you.

Celebrate Recovery. Celebrate Life

The Houghton House Group of Treatment centres is proud to announce a gathering to celebrate the achievements of our clients who have achieved a year or more of sobriety.

Date: Sunday 18th October 2015
Time: 13:30 – 15:30
Venue: Chabad of Strathavon, Sandton

Please RSVP or 011 787 9142

We believe that it is important for addicts reaching any milestone to reflect on the good that has come with recovery. What area of your life has begun to flourish? What self-improvement have you made? What are your gifts of recovery? And of course, what have you got to look forward to?

The answer… LIFE!

Support, celebrate and reflect with Houghton House.

Having Fun Sober after coming out of Rehab

Having Fun Sober after Coming out of Rehab

Having Fun Sober

My fellow addicts, we are an interesting and somewhat predictable bunch. I know what you are thinking: Don’t ever call me predictable. Thing is, we kind of are. We are predictable in the sense that we all have similar reservations when it comes to recovery.

The biggest reservation I had when going into rehabilitation was ‘I won’t ever be able to have fun again.’ Do you relate? This was the contributing factor to most of my relapses back in the day. Immediately after ‘cleaning up’ I would want to get back on the partying scene, hang out with my addict friends and experience some sort of chaotic ‘fun.’

I recall one of my most horrifying relapses quite vividly – surprisingly. I was determined to party with friends and ventured out to the usual dingy club I loved so much. I thought I was ready to party sober with my Monster energy drinks in hand (of course). As I walked through the doors and into the crowd I was overwhelmed with anxiety. I had only been clean for 60 days. Why would I put myself in this situation? But still, I persevered. I thought it quite appropriate to have shots of energy drinks to celebrate my 60 days of recovery (not triggering at all!).

Then I ventured off to the ladies room. As I walked into the bathroom stall I was struck with euphoric recall – remembering the ‘good ol’ days’ of cutting lines on the plastic toilet seat. My mind completely blocked out just how terrifying my life had become in active addiction. I decided immediately that the only way for me to socialise and have fun was to use again. I convinced myself it was for the greater good. I could only speak to people while high. If I wanted a life I would have to pick up my drug of choice. In my mind it was as simple as that.

The Fun: Then and Now

I have been clean for a few years now and I am able to have fun again. It took a long time for me to get used to socialising sober. During active addiction we regress and lose the fundamental life tools we once knew. We lose ourselves, our inhibitions and our ability to communicate on a ‘real’ level. So obviously going into recovery is terrifying. Our identity is that of the addict and once that is stripped away who are we?

Who am I?

So we start from scratch. We have to learn how to cope in social situations all over again. This takes work and we have to sit with uncomfortable feelings for a long time. Anxiety is a part of recovery but learning to overcome this anxiety and let go of our fear is what strengthens us and promises us a better life.

Regaining Self-Confidence: 3 Simple Tips

So how do people become comfortable with themselves in recovery? There are a few steps one can take to get to that point. But remember, there is no quick fix. Instant gratification no more!

Support Groups

As mentioned before, addicts in recovery are starting over. If we are serious about recovery we have to let go of our former life and destructive friendships. Making new friends is terrifying – especially in early recovery. This is why support groups such as NA and AA are important. This is where you are sure to find likeminded people who completely understand and empathise with your anxiety. These are the people who accept you, take you in and help you build a new life. Yes, it is tough to walk into a meeting completely alone – but everyone there had to do it too. Go for coffee after the meeting with a few of your fellows and get to know them. It is worth it. Building friendships in NA and AA is truly magnificent.

The Specialised Houghton House support groups.

These support groups offer stability and encouragement for those in recovery. This is the ideal way to integrate back into society and gain self-awareness needed to do so.

These include:

• Group Therapy Sessions
• Individual Therapy Sessions
• Assistance with Reintegration
• Educational Groups
• Weekly Relapse Prevention Groups
• Body Image Groups


The 12 steps work and they work because they are designed to help you through every stage of your recovery. It is by working the steps that you slowly gain insight into yourself, you relearn who you are and accept who you once were. With a 12 step program you are able to overcome your resentments, acknowledge your mistakes and embrace your innate goodness. Through this process your self-confidence is sure to rise and anxiety in social situations eventually lifts.

Try New Things!

Gather a group of your recovering addict friends and go on an adventure. Go rock climbing, hiking, join an art class or have a simple picnic in a local park. Discover new ways to socialise. Through this you will learn what you actually love – and what you definitely don’t like. (Let’s just say that hiking is not for me.) These activities and hobbies distract you from your past by placing your firmly in the present.

It takes time. It takes dedication. But having fun while sober is possible. I can honestly say I have never had more fun in my life then I have now. It is a different kind of fun – an innate fun!

Work through the anxiety, it is so worth it.

If you a loved one wants to Have Fun Sober

Call Houghton House now 011 787 9142

The Importance of Aftercare in Recovery from Addiction

The Importance of Aftercare in Recovery from Addiction

The Importance of Aftercare In Recovery From Addiction

It is tempting for those who have come out of an intensive addiction treatment program to believe that their problems have been solved. Yes, getting help for addiction is courageous and getting through treatment is admirable, but leaving a treatment centre does not mean your problems are over.

In all honesty, the real work begins after the security and routine of structured inpatient treatment. Continued care is vital, particularly during the first few years of recovery. There is no quick fix. Addiction, much like diabetes, is a lifelong disease that can be controlled if monitored and treated appropriately.

The move from inpatient treatment to the outside world

Aftercare in relation to addiction refers to the additional support that is provided following primary care. This can occur in the form of support groups (AA or NA), counselling sessions, relapse prevention groups or follow up meetings. Aftercare is about developing coping mechanisms for the addict to use in the ‘real world’. Support groups and professional counselling sessions also give the addict a safe place to discuss any reservations they may be struggling with outside of the treatment centre.

The Risk of Relapse

The highest risk of relapse is in the first 90 days following discharge from rehab. This is why support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous suggest that addicts go to 90 meetings in 90 days after putting down their drink/ drug of choice.

The risk of relapse does not simply end after those 90 days, as mentioned before there is no quick fix for addiction. The risk of relapse remains high for the first 5 years of recovery.

What causes a relapse?

When an addict leaves a treatment facility they are usually confident about the future. They have made it through the physical withdrawals and now envision a life without substance abuse. This feeling is also referred to as the ‘pink cloud,’ and once the addict comes down from this ‘cloud,’ things can quickly spiral out of control.

Yes, after completing an inpatient recovery program an addict should feel proud of such an awesome achievement. However, once they return to everyday life, they find that recovery is more of a challenge than previously anticipated.

Staying clean is most certainly harder in the outside world then it is in a residential treatment facility. There is a lot of support in rehab and the individual is protected from temptation. A return to the real world can come as a shock. The individual is once again surrounded by temptation and they now lack the support found in rehab. It is a real struggle not to be drawn back to familiar behaviour. Staying away from people, places and things that are triggering is overwhelming. The addict has to start from scratch essentially, build a new life.

There are a number of reasons why people relapse. Motivation can wane if there is not a concerted effort to keep focused on living free of alcohol and drugs. The individual can begin to feel that their problems are behind them and that no special effort is required to stay sober. They then forget the reasons that drove them into recovery in the first place.

The pain of their rock bottom is forgotten. If they fail to put enough effort into staying sober, they stop progressing and life in recovery becomes unsatisfying. They may react to this by once again returning to addiction.

The Importance of Aftercare

Those who take on some type of aftercare are less likely to relapse. Aftercare keeps the individual motivated and provides much needed support when things get difficult – and they do get difficult.

An addict who goes through inpatient treatment does gain insight and skill however most of the learning has to occur during everyday life. The addict will always be faced with new problems – such is life – and when secure in an aftercare program of sorts, they are encouraged to find new solutions. This way they are able to develop effective coping strategies over time.

Houghton House: Continued Care

Houghton House is committed to ensuring a successful and sustained recovery for our clients.

After in-patient treatment we offer extended treatment options:

Extended In-patient Care:

The extended inpatient care programme is geared towards individuals who have completed a detox and primary care programme.The General Addiction Programme (GAP) is the Houghton House Group’s extended inpatient care facility, in Ferndale, Johannesburg.

The GAP offers people a chance to establish and build a new lifestyle combined with self-awareness and a deeper sense of responsibility. The programme provides guidance on establishing a lifestyle, which is conducive to a sustained and successful recovery. It facilitates greater education, goal setting and lifestyle change in each client.

Halfway House

Houghton House’s tertiary care programme focuses on men and women who have completed a residential treatment programme and are now are willing to commit to a long term structure of living for recovery. During this particular stage of their recovery, residents are generally fully re-integrated into the working environment or are looking for jobs.

Continuing Care

We have a continuing care programme that is designed as a follow-up to primary and secondary treatment, offering support and encouragement. These meetings enable us to monitor clients’ progress, and address and assist with any issues they are facing in early recovery and post-treatment reintegration.

If you are interested in seeking continued care, contact Houghton House today.

The Modern Man and the Recovery from Addiction Battle

The Modern Man and the Recovery from Addiction Battle

The Modern Man and the Recovery From Addiction Battle

In regards to addiction, men are faced with a set of sensitive and unique issues. It has been proven that men are less likely to seek treatment for addiction and are more likely to experience relapse. Professionals in the field of addiction and psychology believe that part of the problem is that men face a set of modern stressors that place them under serious pressure, a pressure not experienced by previous generations.

The Modern Day Man and his Modern Day Stresses

The social pressures that are placed on the modern day man can hamper their addiction recovery severely. In the not so distant past, men were expected to be self-sufficient, self-contained, masculine and strong – both physically and emotionally. Men were brought up to live out the traditional masculine ideal.

In recent years, the male role in society and at home has evolved rapidly. Men are now expected to be masculine and sensitive, vulnerable to their emotions and open to their families. Men are now asked to show emotion and not be afraid to reach out to others for help. Due to this modern day shift in gender identity and stereotype, men feel stuck in the middle of a standard of masculinity that they were raised on and a new version of manhood that may be frightening and uncomfortable for them. Despite the ever evolving cultural expectations, and shifts in gender stereotypes, most men continue to fear their emotions and their vulnerability. Consciously or unconsciously – they see this kind of emotional openness as shameful.

Due to the fact that many men fear vulnerability they are less likely to reach out for help – for anything, let alone addiction. This is why men wait much longer than women before seeking treatment for addiction or alcoholism – or any medical illness. When a man does go to therapy he is more likely to be defensive and guarded, pseudo strength – one that protects them from their core emotions. As stereotypical as this may sound, a man’s depression usually manifests as anger or hides behind a sense of boredom. Men also have far less friends than women, with friendships based around activities rather than shared feelings.

The Modern Man and Addiction Treatment

For counsellors or therapists seeking to assist men in addiction recovery, it is vital to validate their inherent worth outside of their professional life. Men need reassurance that they are good, decent people who just need to learn better ways of expressing their emotions. They need to know that in life they are valued and respected.

Men may struggle to express their emotions verbally in therapy; however they thrive with homework/step work
assignments. These logical tasks assist them in improving their relationships and their behaviour. Group therapy sessions with other men also work as an effective recovery tool. This is because men feel less threatened in this kind of group environment –especially when they can relate to other men in the group. This helps them understand that they are not alone and helps them feel safer sharing their experiences and emotions.

Men are faced with challenging issues in addiction treatment and addiction recovery. They struggle with an amalgamation of issues, from conflicting cultural and social expectations to a fear of vulnerability and emotional openness.

The Houghton House addiction specialists take all aspects of a person’s lifestyle, upbringing and culture into account. All aspects are taken into consideration – ensuring the best possible addiction treatment.

Office Hours 011 787 9142

24 hours 079 770 7532

Helping your loved one seek treatment for addiction

Helping your loved one seek treatment for addiction

Helping your loved one seek treatment for addiction:

When a person is in the grips of addiction, disarray and turmoil become a regular part of life for both the struggling addict and their loved ones. Family members feel helpless and desperate watching a loved one plunge into the depths of addiction. They are inundated with feelings of frustration, anger, guilt, hopelessness and fear – an amalgamation of emotions that lead to absolute anguish.

It is at this point that family members realise that pleading, arguing and confronting the addict is constantly met with limited success. Family members also begin to neglect themselves, ignoring their own struggles thus leading to even more all-consuming chaos.

It is normal for the addict’s family to feel alone, distraught and stigmatised.

“How did they get like this?”
“What could I have done differently?”
“Did I encourage this behaviour?”
“Should I show tough love?”

These are just some of the questions family members begin to obliterate themselves over. Sadly there is an abundance of misinformation available regarding the treatment of addiction. (Think of those bad reality shows that glamorise shameful interventions.)

Below are 10 tips that increase the chances of getting your loved one to engage in addiction treatment while keeping you healthy and secure simultaneously.

10 Tips to help your loved one seek treatment for addiction

1. Take care of yourself – self-care is essential.
2. Put up boundaries/ personal limits.
3. Avoid words that carry a stigma i.e.: addict, junkie and enabler.
4. Communicate in a non-judgemental way.
5. Recognise the strengths and worth of the addict. Acknowledge that their behaviour in active addiction does not define who they are as a person.
6. Address your own issues, acknowledge your own struggles.
7. Empathise with the uncertainty of the addict.
8. Respond effectively and kindly to this ambivalence. Listen to their point of view and stay away from threats.
9. Seek advice from a professional. This is the most optimal way to learn how to communicate with the addict. It is imperative that you learn to control the way you converse.
10. Suggest a visit to a drug counsellor. Ensure that the addict knows this is simply an initial consultation to see what treatment options are available.

Contact a Houghton House professional and set up an assessment for your loved one today. The process begins by simply calling Houghton House. You are immediately put into contact with a professional who carries out a brief telephonic evaluation, guiding you on the appropriate step forward.

A one on one assessment process identifies the best treatment option for your loved one – this is based on the individual’s emotional, psychiatric and physical history.

The professional multi-disciplinary team of experts at Houghton House provide a full spectrum of care.

Contact Houghton House Today:

Office Hour
s: 011 787 9142

24 Hour: 079 770 7532

Addiction and the Family

Addiction and the Family

Addiction and the Family:

In some cases, families are the primary support systems for those suffering with the disease of addiction. These families are likely to experience significant physical, social, emotional and spiritual stress due to the behavior of the addict whilst in active addiction, and in the same vein, spend a lot of time worrying about the addict in recovery and their chance at relapse.

There are specialised groups designed to assist and support family members, one such group is ‘Al-Anon.’ It is pertinent that family members, loved ones and partners learn as much as possible about the intricacies of addiction, and coping with addiction and the family.

There is a strong community of people going through the same traumas. Families dealing with addiction are not alone, just like addicts and alcoholics are not alone in their struggle. Families need an opportunity to share their experiences just as much as the recovering addict does. Family members need some sort of validation as to how draining the experience of supporting a loved one with an addiction problem can be. In the same breath they also need people to understand how much they love their ill family member.

No one can ignore the fact that family members are profoundly affected by watching a loved one spiral into the depths of addiction. Quite often these family members have a strong yearning to learn as much as possible about the disease of addiction and have a high level of motivation to be a part of the recovery process themselves.

Tips for families dealing with addiction and addiction recovery:

Seek help from professionals

By working with an addiction counsellor you are given the tools to deal with the impact of concurrent issues within your family dynamic.


Co-operate with treatment providers and work to find appropriate ways to manage co-occurring problems. The keyword being: Manage. Do not let things spiral and become too overwhelming.

Family Well-being

The addict is not the only person affected by addiction. Make sure to speak to loved ones who are also trying to cope with the consequences that come with having an addict in the family. This ensures a safer and calmer family environment, a place where you can talk honestly and openly without fear of upsetting each other.


As mentioned previously, support groups are available for families dealing with addiction. There are massive physical, financial, social and emotional effects that come with supporting someone with an addiction problem and it is important to talk about this devastation. Find an Al-Anon meeting in your area and discover an entire community, one that can help you through this difficult time. Remember: You are not alone.

Other helpful tips for family members

• Identify any personal areas of concern
• Learn to accept what cannot be changed. Identify certain areas over which you have little control. Accepting these are just as important as identifying areas of concern that are fixable
• Put together a self-care strategy in all areas: Do not neglect your well-being!

Houghton House Family Support

Houghton House offers specialised family support counselling. The Houghton House Group’s family support programme is designed for friends and family members of alcoholics and addicts.

Through education and guidance in small-group discussions with other family members you gain knowledge and practical skills to support the addiction recovery process.

You will:

• Understand the disease of addiction and its impact on you and your family
• Learn about the effects of alcohol and drug use on your loved one
• Develop new techniques for living with a person in recovery
• Gain support through interaction with other families
• Plan for continued self-care and recovery

Our family support groups are facilitated by a range of professionals, including certified addiction counsellors, social workers and counselling psychologists.

For more information contact:

Houghton House landline : 011 787 9142 (South Africa)

or call our 24hour helpline on 079 770 7532 (South Africa)

Remember, you are not alone.

consequence films pertaining to drug and alcohol addiction

Consequence Films – Pertaining to Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Consequence Films – pertaining to drug and alcohol addiction

“Play the movie forward.”

If you have been to rehab or are involved in AA or NA, you are sure to have heard this term. Before your euphoric recall gets the better of you, before you pick up the phone and call your dealer: ‘play the movie forward.’ This will help the relapse to drug and alcohol addiction.

Yes, that initial rush may be exhilarating, but what are the consequences? Think before you act. As they say, rock bottom has a basement.

Speaking of ‘playing the movie forward,’ there are many films available that have captured the true depravity and struggle of alcoholism and addiction. These are known in the recovery world as ‘consequence films’.

Addict Logic

When I was in rehab we had to sit through these films and I never understood why this was part of our rehabilitation. In some weird and warped way I felt triggered by these hard hitting nightmarish story lines. Watching Requiem for a Dream made me want to use!

Let us put this into perspective:

The films lead character gets a gangrenous, rotting infection due to spiking heroin.
The leading lady loses all her dignity to get her next hit, this involves acts of degrading sexual depravity.
The supporting characters end up insane, corrupted and institutionalised.

Oh, how appealing the film was to me! Who thinks like that? Only an addict.

Consequence Films in a Controlled Environment

I now understand why I was told to watch these consequences films pertaining to drug and alcohol addiction. Watching these consequence films in a controlled environment makes the struggle to sit through them easier. It also opens your eyes to the real consequences that come with addiction, and these events are discussed with a group of people all suffering with the same disease.

The first film I watched in rehab was Requiem for a Dream. The next week we were shown ‘Walk the Line.’ My heart sunk watching the film. I was watching a man ruin an amazing life, destroy his talent and obliterate his relationships. I related to the story strongly, the ending hit me the hardest. The icon that was Johnny Cash survived his alcoholism and went on to live a clean and serene life. I realised that I did not want the life that Requiem for a Dream explored – I just wanted a life!

I would not recommend anyone in early recovery watch any of these films. However, if you are strong in your recovery then there are some poignant films out there that reiterate how proud you should be to have survived through addiction, and why you should never go back.

Other Eye Opening Consequence Films

Trainspotting: This visually innovative film, based on a book by the same name, has severe shock factor. The moral: You are not the only one who suffers because of your addiction – and you’re certainly not the only one who could end up dead because of it.

Rachel Getting Married: Every second of this film captures the reality of addiction, alcoholism, rehabilitation, relapse and recovery. The moral: Drug addiction is a disease that festers within the family.

The Fighter: This harrowing film takes a look at the early years of boxer Micky Ward and his spiral into oblivion. The moral: Your talent, your drive and your successes mean nothing in active addiction.

The Basketball Diaries: Jim Carroll is a high school basketball superstar who falls into the dark underbelly of addiction and crime. The Moral: Your moral compass becomes completely distorted in active addiction. Even a young, naive boy can become a homicidal criminal in order to get his next fix.

If you’re looking for help for yourself or a loved one with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol please call

Houghton House

011 7879142


The Devastating Drug of the South African Slums - Nyaope

The Devastating Drug of the South African Slums – Nyaope

First reported in Durban, Nyaope also known as Whoonga, the devastating drug of the South African slums is a new and lethal drug that has spread to townships and suburbia throughout South Africa. This highly toxic mind altering substance is also cheap and easily accessible, making it that much more menacing.

Whoonga: The Frightening Facts

Rat poison, ARVs (anti-retrovirals), low grade heroin and soap powder, Nyaope is a mixture of toxicity. The drug is distributed as a powder and is usually added to tobacco or marijuana. The noxious concoction is then smoked and the result is one of the most poisonous and deadly drugs in the world, alternatively the powder is cooked and then injected.

Whoonga is extremely addictive. The side-effects are frightening. The substance leads to violent outbursts, anxiety, severe depression, stomach cramps and a slowed heart rate. Heart and lung function quickly diminish when an overdose occurs, this is fatal.

The withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of alcohol and heroin. The user feels extreme cravings and physical aches and pains, temporarily relieved by renewed doses of the drug. These withdrawal symptoms can be deadly.

Whoonga costs very little and the addict requires several hits throughout the day, in the end it all adds up. As the drug slips its way into the South African slums and targets the poor, crime can quickly become a way of life for the struggling addict. It is the only way to get more of the drug, anything to stop the deadly pain that comes with Whoonga withdrawal.

Another disheartening fact is that due to the rising popularity of the drug, many HIV/AIDs patients have been robbed of their medication while local government clinics are experiencing vast amounts of ARV thefts. If that is not saddening enough, some struggling patients sell their medication in an attempt to support their families – this is how deep the drug runs amongst the South African poor.

To quote an Al Jezeera report, “Backroom experimentation produces an ever-changing array of concoctions that offer a cheap and lethal high. With South Africa finally making inroads in the battle against HIV and AIDS after years of denialism, this is a dreadful blow.”

The South African authorities are well aware of the momentum of the drug as it gains traction throughout the country. The National Addiction Council and the police have said that they are doing what they can to stop this substance from spreading even more than it already has. The drug is highly feared because most of the ingredients are legal, from rat poison to medication – they cannot be banned by Government. However, the main ingredient being heroin, is what makes this drug so dangerous and highly addictive.

Call Houghon House now to find out about a medically supervised withdrawal, with followup rehab 011 787 9142

Inhalants: The Household Agent of Death know as 'huffing'

Inhalants: The Household Agent of Death know as ‘huffing’

Inhalants: The Household Agent Of Death known as ‘huffing’

I remember being at a 13th birthday party of all places, and kids out back were inhaling something or other. I never got involved in what they were doing – although I was invited. It scared me. Kids throughout the world have been inhaling toxic fumes to experience a rush. For many, this is their first experience of a ‘high.’ Never mind weed – people seem to forget about just how readily available inhalants are. In the age of the internet it is easy for youngins’ to research how to get high, and the easiest and cheapest way to do so is with these toxic household chemicals. What they refer to as “huffing”.

There are many examples of inhalants, whippets seem to be the order of the day – even in the celebrity world. Demi Moore reportedly relapsed on Whippets and had to be rushed to an emergency room to be resuscitated. From 13 year old kids at a Bar mitzvah to Hollywood celebrities – inhalants are everywhere.

Examples of Inhalants

• Laughing Gas – Nitrous Oxide
• Snappers – Amyl Nitrite
• Poppers – Amyl Nitrite and Butyl Nitrite
• Whippets – Fluorinated Hydrocarbons
• Bold/Rush – Nitrites

The Facts

Found in households and offices across the globe, inhalants are legal products that are used to achieve a high. Because many inhalants are found in the home, people often don’t realise just how dangerous they are, if they are legal then how bad can they be?

By inhaling their fumes, even just once, the brain and body are severely affected and in some cases, a single huff can lead to death. The toxic chemicals found in these products have the ability to change the way the brain functions in its entirety.

Different inhalants cause different effects and can be divided into 4 general categories.

1. Volatile Solvents

These are liquids that become gas at room temperature.

They can be found in the following products:

• Paint thinner
• Nail polish remover
• Dry-cleaning fluid
• Degreaser
• Gasoline

The Effects:

• Decreased cognitive function
• Autoimmunity
• Reduced immune system
• Delayed childhood development
• Increased risk for some cancers
• Fertility problems

2. Aerosols

These are sprays that contain solvents and propellants.

They include:

• Spray paint
• Hair spray
• Deodorant spray
• Vegetable oil sprays
• Fabric protector spray

The Effects:

• Hallucination
• Vomiting
• Sneezing
• Slurred Speech
• Double Vision
• Muscle Ache
• Liver, Heart and Kidney Damage
• Suffocation
• Heart Failure
• Depression

3. Gases

Gases include both household and commercial products. They are used in the medical field to provide pain relief.

They are found in:

• Butane lighters
• Propane tanks
• Whipped cream dispensers
• Refrigerated gases
• Chloroform
• Halothane
• Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)

The Effects:

• Hearing loss
• Liver and kidney damage
• Bone marrow damage
• Loss of coordination
• Limb spasms
• Brain damage
• Death (known as sudden sniffing death)

4. Nitrites

These are a class of inhalants that are used to enhance sexual experiences.

Organic nitrite includes:

• Amyl
• Butyl
• Cyclohexyl

Nitrites can be found in small bottles labelled [‘video head cleaner,’ ‘room odouriser’ or ‘liquid aroma.’

The Effects:

• Headaches
• Dizziness
• Incontinence
• Cold sweat
• Vomiting
• Hypotension

Check your products before you bring them into your home. Educate yourself and your loved ones. If you suspect that someone in your home is abusing inhalants – seek professional advice immediately.

Call Houghton House today 011 787 9142


24/7 Emergency Helpline 079 770 7532

Teens and the Party Scene, what Drugs are Popular

Teens and the Party Scene, what Drugs are Popular

Teens and the Party Scene

I went to my first club when I was 14 years old. I had a fake ID on hand and I was dressed in sky high stilettos, a tight black dress and of course, a wonder of a wonder bra. The bouncer for some strange reason, believed that I was of age and let me and my friends enter. First thing we did was go straight to the bar, ordered 2 shots of vodka each and celebrated our ‘grown up’ victory. The club scene quickly became my haunt, this is how is it with Teens and the Party Scene. It became so much a part of my life that when I left school I began hosting events throughout Johannesburg.

It was during this time that I used my drug of choice freely, without fear of judgement. Drugs were the norm. I did tell people I was using cocaine/ MDMA when in actual fact I was on meth – cocaine sounded more acceptable. The thing is, cocaine and MDMA are more acceptable to the club kids because it is so easily accessible and you don’t have to drive out to a dodgy petrol station to pick up. Just simply ask someone in the club (bar tender, bouncer, host…) and they can usually hook you up. MDMA, ecstasy and cocaine – all acceptable club drugs and all easily accessible to teenagers on the scene.

Trance parties, nightclubs and house parties are places young people frequent for fun. However this ‘fun’ has a new dimension added to the mix and a new risk of danger – club drugs. I know drugs are not new and teenagers have always found them, the thing is, it is so much easier now.

Parents: Have the Drug Talk with your Teen

Parents all know about weed, heroin and cocaine. The party drug scene has evolved and many parents are in the dark about what is actually out there. This is because the effects of club drugs are not as noticeable. The physical effects are mild in the beginning and kids believe the mind altering substances to be harmless because of this. Thing is, they couldn’t be more wrong.

One of the biggest dangers is that these drugs (Ecstasy, MDMA, Roofies and GHB) are made in illegal and contaminated laboratories. They also contain life threatening additives, once you pop a pill you never know what is going into your body. It’s one hell of a gamble, Russian roulette if you will.

Communicate the General Risks to your Kids

Ecstasy/ MDMA

‘MDMA got you feeling like a champion, the city never sleeps, better slip you an Ambien.” Empire State of Mind. (Jay-Z feat Alicia Keys)

This drug is usually ingested in capsule or pill form and creates feelings of absolute euphoria. This heavenly feeling, coupled with a boost of energy allows the user to dance/stomp (the latter is a trance party slang word, thought I’d throw it in there) for extended periods of time. Using MDMA or E for long periods of time leads to severe dehydration, high blood pressure and even kidney and heart failure can occur. Regular use causes long term damage to the brain and effects memory. Once the comedown begins, depression seeps in and the user can sink into irrational and suicidal thoughts.

GHB (Gamma- Hydroxybutyrate)

“Welcome to my perverted nightmare baby!
I feel so drunk with power
Just be still my silent beauty
Let this last forever”

Used as a date rape drug in many cases, GHB is a powerful synthetic substance that works almost as a sedative. It is a depressant on the central nervous system and is quickly metabolised by the body. 15 – 20 minutes after ingestion, the drug takes effect.

This is a popular drug on the party scene however many teens are completely misinformed about its danger. Rather than being a ‘club drug’ (that is: one that gives you hyper energy) it completely puts your rationality to sleep and leaves you vulnerable to dangerous situations. It causes seizures, nausea, drowsiness and respiratory depression. There have been many cases in which GHB causes the user to fall into a coma – leading to death.

When GHB is mixed with alcohol or another drug (which usually happens, especially when the user is at a party) the consequences can become life threatening. It is easy to overdose on GHB. It is imperative that we are all informed about this often ignored drug – one that is scarily gaining popularity amongst our youth.

Ketamine (Special-K)

“Played it all for the game
Played it all, played the same
And in the end I could see
The ketamine is killing me”
(Get Back Loretta)

Ketamine is a drug that can ONLY be used safely in a medical environment. However, many young people use dangerously high doses of ketamine, reaching precarious highs. Ketamine causes hallucinations and euphoria – leaving the user unaware of reality. It has been known to cause amnesia, depression and high blood pressure. It has also been known to bring on respiratory failure.

I think it’s a good idea to have that talk now

For more guidance call Houghton House now 011 787 9142

Teens & Stereotypes: The Social Experiment

Teens & Stereotypes: The Social Experiment with Addiction

Teens & Stereotypes: The Social Experiment

Who were you in High School? I ask this loaded question because it is incredibly naive to ignore the stereotypes that exist within schools. You have the jocks, the Goths (I think they call them emo’s now), the burn outs, the artists and the book worms. I found myself morphing between the Goth and the artist, and with my ‘image’ came behaviour, or expected behaviour. I grouped myself in as the rebel. With rebellion came drinking, drugs and a host of other ‘out there’ actions. Why? Because this was what was expected of me.

Remember the 80’s film ‘The Breakfast Club?’ It followed the story of a group of teens from different social groups – stuck in weekend detention together. They soon realise just how much they had misjudged each other and they all experience a heightened sense of self once this is discovered. The brain, the athlete, the princess, the basket case and the criminal ‘connect.’ Stereotypes fade and friendships unfold in this scenario – if only it was as easy as a 80’s Hughes film.

Widely held stereotypes are dramatic misconceptions, but according to a new study, many teenagers make inaccurate assumptions about one another and what their peers actually get up to. Hence, they may believe they should act one way or another because others’ expect that from them.

Research recently published in Developmental Psychology suggests that teens actually overestimate the amount of alcohol and mind altering substances used by their peers. This in turn leads to risky behaviour when fitting into a high school social group. For example: A teen is grouped in as the ‘jock,’ he believes all jocks use steroids, in turn he believes there is nothing wrong with taking steroids himself. He ends up engaging in risky behaviour to fit into what he believes to be a social norm.

The First Social Experiment

In the study researches assessed the perceptions and behaviours of 235 teenagers (10th graders to be specific). All students were attending a middle-class suburban school. Each participant was placed in a social group. They were split up into the following stereotypes:

• The popular crowd
• The Jocks
• The Burnouts/ Stoners
• The Nerds/ Brains
• Students who Affiliated with all Peers

Shocking Misinterpretations

Each participant confidentially discussed their specific behaviours and actions – from alcohol abuse to sexual behaviour through to time spent on studying. Then they shared what they believed their peers behaviours to be. The actual behaviour and the perceived behaviour were compared. The researchers discovered just how grossly informed the students were about one another – even about members of their very own social group.

I.E.: The ‘brainy’ crowd studied half the time that their peers believed them to. Students also believed the burn outs to smoke half a pack to a pack of cigarettes a day when in reality they smoked 1 – 2 cigarettes a day (if any.) The jocks, which were perceived to drink alcohol and have experience in deviant sexual behaviour, had the same experience as the other students. No more, no less.

“Results indicated that peer crowd stereotypes are caricatures,” the researchers stated.

The problem with this is that such wild misconceptions lead teens down risky paths because they are trying to fit in with a specific crowd.

The Second Social Experiment

The second part of the experiment followed the path of a group of 9th graders at a low income rural school – this experiment lasted 2.5 years. The researchers examined the relationship between their perceptions of ‘high status’ peers and their own drug usage. What was observed was the increase in adolescent cigarette smoking, marijuana use and alcohol use. This was reflected in their beliefs/perceptions of ‘high status’ students own substance abuse. Essentially, the students believed that the popular crowd engaged in mind altering substances thus they began to dabble in this risky behaviour. 9th graders who believed the popular crowd to be using drugs became of higher risk to use drugs in the 11th grade themselves.

The Real Implications of Teenage Misconceptions

Teens that had higher perceptions of their peers drug and alcohol use has a much higher chance to engage in this very behaviour. This suggested that these misconceptions and stereotypes could steeply increase the chances of risky behaviour – leading to addiction.

“This quest for identity can sometimes lead adolescents in the wrong direction,” says co-author Prof. Geoffrey Cohen.

“The implications… are troubling. Results suggest that adolescents have a caricatured perception of their peers’ behaviour (perhaps especially so for high-status peers) and are influenced by those gross misconceptions.”

More intense research may need to be completed to see how these misconceptions can be dealt with effectively.

Maybe the cult film ‘The Breakfast Club’ had it right? Should we imprison a group of teens from different social groups in a weekend of detention? Will they be able to figure out how wildly wrong their beliefs are of one another? Or does this only work in an 80’s teen comedy/drama?

crying in Recovery

Heartbreak, Loss and Bullying in Recovery

Heartbreak, Loss and Bullying in Recovery

I am currently experiencing a situation reminiscent of high school, one of heartbreak, loss and bullying.

Only difference is I am being ‘bullied’ in an environment where I should feel safe. My safe place has become a thing of teenage nightmares. I wake up fearful, anxiety ridden and full of despair.

What are they going to say about me today?

What are they going to laugh at behind my back?

Who is actually going to greet me today?

I am full of fear and self-loathing because of other peoples’ opinions of me. All I want is a drama free life. Surprisingly I would never have wanted that a few years ago – I used to crave and create drama. All I want now is growth, I no longer want to regress and become part of the problems around me. So I wake up, walk into that environment and hold my head high (even if I want to crawl into the foetal position and cry, or at times, punch straight through a brick wall and let the harshest of words seep into the subconscious of all those around me who are hurting me.) I have to put my recovery and my sanity first. Fake it till I make it.

I put on a smile, do what I have to do and make a plan to change my situation. It’s one thing for me to sit around and let it happen while complaining and feeling sorry for myself. It is another thing to actively make a change, speak up and ask for help. Nothing changes if nothing changes, as they say. I feel I have been so damaged through this process that a part of me could use this as the best excuse for a relapse or self-destructive behaviour. I could easily fall into the ‘poor me, poor me, pour me a drink’ mentality. I have to keep telling myself to not allow another human being to have that much power over me.

Coping with uncomfortable emotions

Dealing with heartbreak, bullying or plain old drama is never easy or comfortable; this is especially true in recovery. Many people use this kind of pain as an excuse to relapse. The biggest reservations that come with recovery lie in some sort of loss. I have heard many people in recovery say that their biggest fear is a broken relationship, death of a loved one or failure in the workplace. These are all damaging, but these are all a part of life.

We have spent years numbing our emotions through alcohol, drugs, sex, or food (or lack of food)… anything to distract us from reality. So how do we cope? How do we stop that addict part of us from acting out on heartache or fear?

How to handle heartbreak, loss or bullying in recovery (I suppose I could just say, ‘How to handle life in recovery’ if I wanted to keep it simple.):

Go to more meetings: Going through a breakup, job loss or death in recovery is tough (understatement, I know). That is why you need to get yourself out there, put yourself in a safe environment – a place where you are free to vent, rant and purge your emotions. There are people in the rooms who have been through the same thing or are going through the same thing… you are never alone in NA or AA. Plus, listening to others share in a meeting could completely alter your perspective and give you a dose of hope.

Speak to your sponsor: There is a reason that AA and NA suggest having a sponsor. Let’s be honest, sometimes us addicts cannot exactly think clearly – we need someone to guide us through our thought process. When going through heartbreak or loss we most certainly cannot trust our thinking. Speak to your sponsor before you act on a whim.

Seek counselling/attend relapse prevention groups: If you are concerned for your well-being, get yourself professional help. I have seen many men and women come into a relapse prevention group after years of clean time because of serious loss or just plain complacency. There is no shame in taking preventative measures… this is your life after all, and you are worth recovery.

Step Work: Some people hate it, some people love it. The bottom line is that step work, well, works. Go back to the basics and start from step one. Not only will the process open you up to parts of yourself you had neglected, it also helps you discover your worth again while at the same time, allowing you to grieve safely.

Have you experienced loss, heartbreak or some form of bullying in your recovery? Share your story with other addicts and let them know what processes got you through this time. Remember, one addict helping another is without parallel. And I can tell you straight up, if I hadn’t reached out to other recovering addicts at this stage in my life, I’m pretty sure I would be on a very dark path… one that I may not have come back from.

The Dental Consequences of Addiction

The Dental Consequences of Addiction

The Dental Consequences of Addiction

I was driving on the highway, exhausted after a 3 day meth binge. The feeling was overwhelming and painful. I was grinding my teeth, I was close to falling asleep at the wheel (I think I even pulled over for a few minutes if I remember correctly) and then I heard that familiar sound. It was a crack, and an all too familiar feeling. I spat it out, dug around in my mouth and found it – one of my back teeth had broken in half. I ran my tongue along the jagged edge and just sighed. I knew it would be expensive to fix, and I most certainly did not have the funds to go to the dentist. My mouth was not my priority.

A few days later, while high, the sensation of my tongue against the jagged ends of what was once a tooth got the better of me. It was just too painful and irritating. So what did I do? I decided it a good idea to grab a nail file and file the tooth down to my gum. Genius.

I used to have magnificent teeth, sparkly and perfectly aligned. Now? Not so much. But in recovery I have the funds to fix my ‘meth mouth.’ I lost a few back teeth and now have implants and caps, the discolouration is being treated and I look less Breaking Bad and more Fixing Bad.

Meth Mouth

Severe damage can be seen in chronic meth use and it is violently rampant. This is what is known as ‘Meth Mouth.’ The dental problems that come with the drug are visible. While aesthetically horrible, you cannot forget the significant health problems that come with damaged teeth and gums.

Meth causes a dry mouth, gum disease, tooth decay, teeth grinding and overall neglect. The problem usually begins with bad breath and cavities. Then the pain begins – bleeding and swollen gums are not fun and not easily ignored. This can progress, completely obliterating the teeth.

Heroin and Gum Disease

We all know that heroin use causes severe health problems. But did you know that the teeth are also severely affected by the drug (and this does not only occur if the substance is smoked)? This damage occurs through neglect (addicts in active addiction don’t exactly care about brushing their teeth) and people who are addicted to opiates usually crave sweet foods. Up to 70% of users describe dental problems, from teeth snapping off to gum disease.

Alcohol and Tooth Decay

Alcohol most certainly contributes to tooth decay because most alcoholic beverages contain sugar – which of course weakens enamel. Binge drinking also leads to severe dental consequences, maybe even more so than chronic alcoholism. This is because consuming such a high level of alcohol in a short period of time causes vomiting – which in turn causes high levels of acid to build in the mouth.

Addiction: An All-Encompassing Disease

Drugs affect the mind, body and the spirit. Addiction is an all-encompassing disease – it attacks every part of you. Seek help now before your entire ‘being’ collapses – from your mouth to your heart to your life.

Preventing Relapse in the New Year

Preventing Relapse in the New Year

Help With Preventing Relapse in the New Year

So, the silly season is over and we survived it! It is now time to take on the New Year. For some people, including myself, I find the New Year to be even more stressful than the festive season. It is back to work, back to reality and back to the daily grind. For some of us, we find ourselves looking for a job, the pressure of getting our kids back into routine and back to school starting, a new career or going back to school. The holiday is over and life begins abruptly – seemingly without warning. Holiday is over folks, and real life anxiety and pressure begins.

Phew. I stressed myself out just writing that.

Thing is, there are ways to combat the pressures guys – you know this! There is no need to wallow in your stresses, why risk a relapse (be it psychologically or physically), why regress? Take these steps to get on track, make the New Year as manageable as possible and get back to a sense of serenity.

Let’s take a look at two of the main causes of relapse:

Feelings and emotions

Yup, we as addicts hate these ‘things.’ Guys, feelings are normal! We spent years avoiding our emotional state, numbing ourselves with mind altering substances. We lost track of what emotions were real and what were completely morphed. Avoiding emotions, not letting ourselves identify where they come from… this is what gets us in the end. Take your daily inventory, identify what is making you feel a certain way, figure out how you can fix the issue (speak to your sponsor, friends in AA/ NA and ask for help)… it’s all very simple really.

External Situations

People, places and things: STAY AWAY! You cannot hang out in the dingy (or for some, super glamourous) spots where you used to use. You certainly should not surround yourself with people who are in active addiction… euphoric recall is a biatch. So, as difficult as you think this may be, just stop yourself from acting out. Try new things, new activities and hang out with people in recovery.

4 Relapse Prevention Suggestions:

12 Step Meetings: Attending more meetings stops your complacency and slaps you back into recovery mode. It is at meetings that you find support and relate to others in similar situations – if they can get through it, why can’t you?
Counselling Sessions/ Therapy: Continued care is imperative for addicts. Make an appointment with your addiction counsellor, or attend relapse prevention group counselling, there are many therapeutic options available. It is in these sessions that you identify your core vulnerability and can begin a new and improved path in your recovery.
Sponsorship: Get yourself a sponsor if you don’t have one already. Gain knowledge from someone else in recovery, relieve your mind of some pressure – sometimes our thinking becomes sick and we need someone else to ‘think for us’ for a while. Take suggestions, listen and most importantly – do not be scared to ask for help!
Hobbies: Hobbies are a great source of stress relief. It is vital for addicts in recovery to find new interests (apart from drinking and drugging and hanging out in dangerous situations.) Explore the world, learn to play an instrument, draw, write or take up that sport you have always been curious about. This is also a great way to meet new people and have some clean fun.

Crack is Wack! Cocaine Addiction here are the facts

Crack is Wack! Cocaine Addiction here are the facts

Crack is Wack! Here are the Facts

To put it simply, Crack Cocaine is the crystallised form of cocaine. It usually comes in powder form, solid blocks or crystals. The colour varies from white to yellow to pale pink. The drug is heated and smoked through a ‘lolly’ or crack pipe. Crack is the most potent form of cocaine and it appears to be the most dangerous. This is because it is between 75% and 100% pure. It acts faster and is stronger than regular cocaine.

Inhaling the drug allows it to reach the brain faster this creating an immediate effect, however short lived. The high lasts just 15 minutes. Thus the need for more and more and more… Like many substances, an abuser can easily become addicted after their first hit.

Crack costs less than cocaine, often referred to as the ‘rich mans’ drug. The thing is, the need for large amounts is more than that of cocaine as the effects last for a shorter time. Thus those that become addicted spend more and more, becoming broke and desperate very quickly.

The effects:

Crack creates a very short-lived and highly intense high. This high is immediately followed by a severe low, depression and a craving for more. An endless cycle of buying, smoking, getting money, buying, smoking, doing anything for more and more and more…

Those who abuse it often don’t sleep and don’t sleep. They are able to experience an increased heart rate, convulsions, muscle spasms and strokes. Paranoia, anger, hostility and anxiety sets in – even when no longer high.

The health risks

The use of crack (no matter how frequent or infrequent) increases the chance of:

• Seizures
• Respiratory failure
• Strokes
• Heart attacks
• And yes, death.

Crack, mixed with other substances, emits toxic fumes when burned. This smoke remains potent for a long while and crack pipes (lollies) are usually very short. With this in lips are usually blistered – this is commonly referred to as ‘crack lips.’

The long term effects of crack cocaine:

• Respiratory problems – coughing, shortness of breath, lung damage and lung bleeding.
• Heart damage
• Liver damage
• Kidney damage
• Malnutrition
• Paranoid and aggressive long-term behaviour – usually associated with psychosis

Choosing life

Coming down from crack is horrifying. It causes severe and traumatising depression that becomes deeper and darker after each hit. This can become so chronic that people will do just about anything for more, from committing murder to prostitution. We have all heard the term ‘crack whore’ for a reason.) This offensive phrase rings true in the lives of many a crack addict. However, rehabilitation is possible – DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOURSELF! If you choose recovery you will recover. Seek help and change your life… one day at a time. And remember… rock bottom has a basement. Do you really want to see what lie

Stop Sabotaging your Happiness with Addictive Behaviour

Stop Sabotaging your Happiness with Addictive Behaviour

Stop Sabotaging Your Happiness With Addictive Behaviour

Our generation is full of self hate and misery. I know that in my recovery I have found myself in self-hate mode, self-pity mode and yes, self sabotage mode. Our generation is not used to contentment and for some of us, when happiness enters our lives we are petrified of this foreign feeling. Think about this: do you find yourself sabotaging your happiness in one way or another? We seem to want to manifest our own pain, and it’s time to stop complaining about our wounded lives and do something about it! No more poor me, poor me, pour me a drink mentality!

Prozac Nation

Waking up, taking a cocktail of medication and going on with our days has become completely normal in today’s society. We are inundated with medications, anti-anxiety pills, anti-depressants; and mood stabilisers can be found in kitchen cabinets across the world. It is the norm…

Ultimately it has become ‘normal’ to be miserable. We are conditioned to look at the ‘bad’ in our lives and brush aside the good. I find myself doing it constantly. (Depression and mental disorder is obviously another matter all together. I’m talking about self indulgent sadness – think emo culture.)

Depression: A Crutch

After much self-analysing I suspect my behaviour bounces back to being self indulgent because I am so accustomed to darkness, and comfortable within my own self-hate. With this in mind, when happiness does creep into my life I wait for it to get ripped out from under me. So before the heartbreak can even so much as come within an inch of me – I manifest the hurt so that it doesn’t take me by surprise.

It’s almost like killing yourself before nature can; like wanting to beat nature at its own game.

It is simple to sit and wallow in our own misery, devour our own self-annihilation, complain about how much we hate our lives; hate our relationships and hate our lives. The difficulty lies in embracing our own happiness and joy. It’s easy to sabotage our lives. Embracing, accepting and creating happiness takes a lot of strength.

This is Reality

This is not about ‘The Secret,’ that little book that tells you if you think happy thoughts happy things will come your way. No. This is reality. This is about the fact that we do live in harsh times and we do struggle with everyday anxiety; but we don’t need to forget about the happiness that we have and can have.

We just need to stop and breathe. Take it all in. Separate the good from the bad, and embrace the positive. We need to tell ourselves that it is okay to be happy and if we need help getting it, then we should get help.

Identify the Pain

Identify what is making you unhappy. Is it the bad choices you seem to make when it comes to relationships? Is it your career choice? Your family drama? Your past demons that keep on haunting? Whatever it is that takes you to that sinister place deep within yourself – acknowledge it.

If it is affecting you to the point of constant anxiety, unmanageability, depression and self-loathing then change it; but you have to want to change it. Just like Lara did.

Lara’s Story: Taking back your Life

*Lara found herself in a dangerous place. She had made a series of bad decisions when it came to relationships and had found herself the victim of severe emotional abuse. She eventually came out of the relationship only to find herself free and content.

For the 4 years that she had dated the man who took complete control over her every move, from telling her how to dress, how to speak, to telling her where to go and who she could speak to… At the end of the relationship Lara was suddenly free to do what she wanted. For the 4 years that they were together Lara was not allowed to even sip alcohol; and so when she gained her freedom she went out with the few friends she had left and downed a bottle of vodka as a ‘screw you’ to her ex.

The Want versus the Need

But the vodka kept flowing for 2 more years. Her nights out became a series of black-outs, horrible drunken mistakes, more dangerous men and eventually she became what her ex was… a threat to herself. One day she woke up after a black-out, walked to her mother’s room and said ‘I need help.’ She checked herself into an institution to deal with her binge-drinking and, more importantly, her past.

‘When we were dating, all I knew was sadness and fear,’ Lara tells me, ‘then all of a sudden I had my life back and didn’t know what to do. I went out and had fun and I found myself in a genuinely good place. I had friends again. I was happy…’

Lara takes a deep breath as she begins analyzing her destruction:

‘Then I got out of control and began ruining myself because, to be honest, I was uncomfortable being happy. I was scared of being free so I went out of my way to feel anxiety, stress and pain again. I knew I needed help, but I never wanted it.’

Lara takes another deep breath and smiles a half smile, ‘until I woke up one day and realised that happiness wouldn’t be such a bad idea.’

Say Goodbye to Sadness

When you realise you want happiness, when you are ready to leave the depression and sadness that is your crutch behind, when you are ready to embrace life, then that is when you will find your happiness.

So next time you feel that warm fuzzy ‘happy’ feeling, don’t be frightened; yes, it may not be the norm to be happy in this day and age – but who wants to be normal anyway?

Call us at Houghton House for more information 24/7 emergency helpline 079 770 7532

Prescription Medication: From Hollywood to Hillbrow

Prescription Medication: From Hollywood to Hillbrow

Prescription Medication: From Hollywood to Hillbrow

Like alcohol, prescription medication is standard in our lives. It is the ‘norm.’ We don’t raise an eye when we see someone chug down medication – as long as it comes in a nice prescription bottle. Doctors’ orders you know.

Society hands out prescription meds like sweets. You are tired? Have a Stillnox. You are struggling to concentrate? Have Ritalin. You are stressed? Try a Lexitan, Adderall or Valium. Or all three! The list goes on.

Due to the normalcy surrounding these pills, this kind of addiction is probably the least recognised or acknowledged of the chemical dependencies. It is the addiction of housewives, Hollywood stars and bored students. Prescription medication addiction is dangerous and prevalent in society, something that should be understood not ignored.

What are the signs or symptoms of prescription drug abuse?

Prescription medication either works by promoting chemical reactions in the brain – or supressing chemical reactions.

The three classes of prescription medication that are most susceptible to abuse are


Did someone say Ritalin? Stimulants are mostly prescribed to assist those with some sort of hyperactivity disorder. This is also popular amongst students, helping them study throughout the nights. This drug is given to kids often and is often referred to as “Kiddie Cocaine.” And for good reason. It has just about the same effects – it’s just ‘legal.’

Symptoms of Stimulants Abuse:

• Severe irritability or agitation
• Irregular heartbeat
• High blood pressure
• Elevated body temperatures
• Seizures
• Cardiovascular failure
• Rising Hostility
• Paranoia
• Insomnia for days at a time
• Unexplained weight loss


Codeine hides in numerous prescription medication. Calming the user down, encouraging sleepiness and a sense of overwhelming tranquillity. Opiates are prescribed for chronic pain – think morphine. And then think heroin. Yes, heroin.

Symptoms of Opiate Abuse:

Opiate painkillers are prescribed millions of times per year for legal purposes. Some opiate abusers continue using opiates following a legal prescription for a medical condition, while others seek out painkillers either for medical or psychiatric relief. Common symptoms of the abuse of prescription painkillers may include:

• Disorientation
• Confusion
• Constipation
• Shortness of breath
• Depression
• Rapid decrease in blood pressure

Abuse of opiates or painkillers may be distinguishable by withdrawal symptoms experienced when attempting to stop using. These symptoms show potential for serious medical complications and should be taken very seriously:

• Cold flashes
• Involuntary leg movements
• Restlessness
• Sharp bone and muscle pains
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Cardiac arrest
• Seizures


I used to adore my tranquilizers. Especially when I was in high school. The scary thing is how easy they were and still are to get. My mother used to hand them out like popsicles. I thought it was normal to take a pill before a math exam. Tranquillizers are prescribed to treat anxiety – something we are all easily diagnosed with. Thus we think it is ok to drink down some calming pills throughout the day.

Symptoms of Tranquillizer Abuse:

A person abusing sedatives usually isn’t aware of how it impacts their appearance or behaviour. The most visible symptoms of sedative abuse include:

• Drowsy and Woozy appearance
• Confusion about time and surroundings
• Unsteady mannerism and movements
• Involuntary gestures, movements or tics
• Rapid and involuntary eye movement
• Poor decision-making
• Memory loss or difficulty with memory

Am I a Prescription Pill Addict: Drug Seeking Behaviour?

Drug-seeking behaviours are warning signs of prescription drug abuse. These addict-like behaviours include:

• Recurrent requests for refills from Doctors
• Losing prescriptions and requesting emergency replacements regularly
• Crushing pills
• Stealing or borrowing prescription medications from family members, friends, or co-workers
• Consuming prescriptions much faster than stated by the prescription
• Visiting a variety of doctors for similar medical conditions
• Inconsistent answers to questions about prescription usage
• Stealing or forging prescriptions
• Consumption of over-the-counter drugs for the same conditions that a doctor has prescribed other medication
• Ordering prescription medications over the internet

For profession advice on treatment options call Houghton House now 011 787 9142 

24/7  emergency helpline 079 770 7532

Bath Salts: The Zombie Apocalypse

Bath Salts: The Zombie Apocalypse

Bath Salts: The Zombie Apocalypse

Many of us have heard tales of drugged up men and women cutting their own skin open, violently attacking each other and eating human flesh while intoxicated on bath salts. The stories are horrifying, reminiscent of a Rob Zombie feature film. But what are the facts? What are the signs? And what are the real effects of this new age drug?

Growing in popularity in the United States specifically, ‘Bath Salts’ have become an easily attainable mind altering substance. This is an emerging drug gaining traction amongst addicts. The drug contains synthetic chemicals that are related to cathinone. This is an amphetamine-like substance.

Reports have surfaced revealing the dangerous effects associated with the use of bath salts. It has been ascertained that bath salts pose a serious safety and health issue. The synthetic stimulant produces increased social interaction, increases sex drive and creates a sense of sheer euphoria. Sounds like a typical amphetamine right? The drug has also made headlines for its other horrifying effects. Users have experienced hallucinatory delirium, showing psychotic behaviour, full blown psychosis and violence (to the point of murder, suicide, and self-harm). Death has been reported in several cases.

Effects and Symptoms

The common physical symptoms of bath salt abuse include:

• Racing heart
• Chest pain
• High blood pressure

The psychological symptoms of bath salt abuse include:

• Paranoia
• Panic attacks
• Anxiety
• Hallucinations

Some users experience a syndrome that has become known as ‘excited delirium.’ Alongside this delirium comes dehydration, kidney failure and the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue. These effects have proved fatal in many instances.

Only in the early stage of studies, Cathinone has indicated high addiction potential. In a study of the rewarding and reinforcing effects of the substance, rats displayed self-administration patterns and escalation of drug intake almost identical to methamphetamine addiction. The danger of bath salts, much like the substance cat, is that the drug contains other unknown elements and ingredients. Combined, the effects may be disastrous.

Bath salts were only recently removed from convenient stores in the United States. South Africa is yet to tackle this problem head on. It is up to us to educate ourselves and the community at large about the harrowing effects and dangers that come with this new drug trend.

Contact Houghton House now for more information on treatment programmes offered

24/7 emergency 079 770 7532

Uppers, Downers and All 'Rounders: Educate Yourself

Uppers, Downers and All ‘Rounders: Educate Yourself

Uppers, Downers and All ‘Rounders: Educate Yourself

Uppers, Downers and Hallucinogens

Drug abuse is a seeping stain, one that is spreading like wildfire throughout South Africa – throughout the globe. Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful and does not discriminate. Anyone is vulnerable to the scourge that is addiction. The more that you educate yourself on these mind altering substances the more you are able to protect yourself and your loved ones against them.

Different Drugs: Different Physical and Psychological Responses

Heroin, mandrax, crack, crystal meth… all surprisingly have little in common. Many people also react differently to drugs, some may at first experience a pleasant, even euphoric feeling while others have a nightmarish experience – leaving them incapacitated and psychotic. The thing is all these drugs have one thing in common: they are all consuming and all-powerful to an addict in active addiction. Oh, and let’s not forget – deadly.


Crystal meth, cocaine, crack, kat – these drugs are designed to uplift you, energise you and make you feel ‘alive.’ These drugs also possess the power to make you feel paranoid, anxious and terrified. They speed up your heart, keep you up for days on end and suppress your appetite. Your body essentially breaks down while you mind and emotional state progressively collapses. Those who abuse uppers usually find themselves desperate for sleep and turn to downers to bring them down. On the comedown you become overwhelmed with depression, suicidal thoughts and paranoia. For me, uppers were my drug of choice and I can tell you with certainty that there is nothing worse than lack of sleep that comes with these substances. Even thinking about the exhaustion makes me feel ill.


Downers such as heroine, mandrax and alcohol give you a feeling of calm. Downers give you a feeling of relaxation and rejuvenation. The thing is, you cannot exactly control just how ‘relaxed’ you get – thus leading to overdoses. Long-term use of these drugs cause severe lethargy and makes functioning on a day to day basis almost impossible. Think: falling asleep at your desk, falling asleep while driving or simply passing out for days on end. Downers such as heroin and alcohol are so powerful that they cause bodily systems to completely shut down, leading to coma and or death.


Ah, yes the Woodstock/ free love drugs of choice. These drugs cause powerful hallucinations in which your reality is completely altered. It is impossible to predict whether the hallucination will be enjoyable. Having a ‘bad trip’ is terrifying. A bad trip can haunt you for the rest of your life – flashbacks can occur from time to time.

Alcohol and the Body: This 'Aint Pretty

Alcohol and the Body: This ‘Aint Pretty

Alcohol and the B0dy: This ‘Aint Pretty

When picturing an alcoholic I’m sure you imagine an older man or woman, with a blood red nose and dirty clothes. Yes, this is the face of alcoholism, a tired and sunken elder who can barely speak. Physical deterioration is true of alcoholism but it is important to remember that the beggar on the side of the road with the distorted nose and torn clothes could have the exact same addiction as the gorgeous housewife dropping her kids off at school. They may come from different walks of life, they may have different drinks of choice but one thing binds them – alcoholism and the dangerous effect this mind altering substance has on their lives. Just like addiction does not discriminate – neither do the effects.

The effects of alcohol on the body

The consumption of alcohol takes a serious toll on your health. Almost all organs are effected by your beverage of choice. The brain, heart, liver, pancreas… the list goes on. If you are struggling with alcoholism or you are hesitant to seek alcohol treatment, take a look at what you are actually doing to your body:

The Brain

Alcohol interferes with your brains communication pathways – effecting the way your brain works and looks. Change of mood and behaviour come into play as does contorted thinking and confused coordination. Alcohol abuse over time effects the brain tremendously.

We have all heard the term ‘wet brain.’ Quite derogatory and used to describe the thinking, communicating and motor skills of an alcoholic. Thing is, this isn’t made up. “Wet brain” (the actual term for this is: Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome) from alcoholism is a shocking reality. This is a type of dementia that people are faced with in late stage alcoholism. This renders a person’s thinking incoherent, effects motor skills and leaves a person unable to take care of themselves. Considering seeking help yet?

The Heart

The heart, yeah – that vital organ… it is grossly effected by alcohol abuse. Alcohol abuse causes extreme cardiovascular problems including:

• Cardiomyopathy
• Arrhythmias
• Stroke
• High Blood Pressure

The Liver

The organ commonly associated with alcohol abuse. How many Facebook statuses have you seen on a Sunday morning with the user proclaiming “I need a new liver because of last night!” Yes, this is a joke amongst the youth looking for fun, thing is, liver disease is a deadly problem amongst alcoholics. Heavy consumption of alcohol leads to a vast array of liver problems and inflammations.
These include:

• Steatosis (AKA – fatty liver)
• Alcoholic Hepatitus
• Fibrosis
• Cirrhosis

The Pancreas

Ah, youths! Always thinking of the liver and never remembering the pancreas. Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce a very toxic substance that leads to pancreatitis. This is a precarious inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas – preventing proper digestion.

The C word: No, I’m talking cancer

Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time increases your risk of developing cancer. Certain cancers that have been linked to alcoholism include:

• Mouth
• Liver
• Throat
• Breast

So, before you sink into your seat and give up – assuming that your life is over and a series of alcohol related diseases are in your foreseeable future – remember that recovery leads to the recovery of organs. You have a chance to fix this. Your life is worth living – not merely existing until death.

for more information on treatment options : +27 11 787 9142

24/7 emergency line : +27 79 770 7532

Cross Addiction: Oh, the life of an addict

Cross Addiction: Oh, the life of an addict

So, your recovery is going great. You are attending regular meetings, doing step work and seeing your sponsor. Life is good. Slowly, life may become somewhat unmanageable again – and seemingly out of nowhere. You have put in the work – why has it gotten to this chaotic point? Ask yourself this: Have you traded one addiction for another? Many alcoholics begin to self-medicate while others become obsessed with gaming, sex or food. Yup, we have the mind of an addict and the addict mind is incredibly devious. It is about watching your behaviour, calling yourself out on your obsessions and moving forward.

In my recovery I found myself becoming addicted to work. My job began at 8, I would get into the office at 7. My job ended at 5, I would leave the office at 6. I had to prove to myself and to my boss that I am a hard worker, committed to excellence. It got so bad that my boss would send me home at times, telling me I was overworked and exhausted on the job. This upset me, work was my safe place. After speaking about this in a meeting I realised that I based my entire life around work – I hated weekends!

In all honesty I am still a bit obsessed with my job. If I do anything wrong I become paranoid and self-obsessed. ‘I have to fix this!’ My mind replays an imagined drama in my head over and over again. ‘I have to fix this mistake now!’ ‘They are going to fire me.’ ‘I am an idiot.’ ‘I am worthless…’ The self-hate goes on and on and on. My life becomes unmanageable, I become obsessed with my job, triple checking all my work. Re doing my work if there is a single spelling error. Beating myself up over a ‘look’ I got from my boss. I ignore my relationship at home, go to bed early and rise at 4:00 am. I become depressed and self-indulgent. I may as well be using again.

And so is the nature of addiction…

Why is cross addiction so dangerous?

I can joke about my cross addiction, I can be grateful I am not back on my drug of choice. AT least this addiction is furthering my career, right?
It’s simple to minimize the seriousness of cross addiction. Your different addiction can seem harmless, especially when you’ve traded an illegal substance like heroin for an activity like gambling or gaming. The harsh reality is that anything that is having a negative effect (physically, emotionally, and financially) – on your life or the lives of your loved ones is monumentally dangerous and needs to be treated.

Gamblers can bet away their entire life savings or lose their home. A work addict (much like myself) can completely ignore other people and relationships in their lives and focus on work and work alone – blinded by the holes in their relationships.

Needless to say, the consequences can be severe.

Cross addiction is known to make it difficult to fight your cravings for your original substance. All too often it puts you back into an environment that invites relapse – think chaos, drama and emotional instability.

For example, if you’re a recovering crack addict and develop a cross addiction to sex, you could easily find yourself in a dangerous and illegal setting, surrounded by others who are smoking and partying. Such an environment would make it very difficult to resist the temptation to have a drink and hit that pipe.

Is there treatment for cross addiction?

If you’ve developed a cross addiction, it is important that you continue treatment for your original addiction and yes, treatment for the new activity or substance.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is proven to be effective in this regard. An experienced therapist helps you in identifying your feelings, thoughts and obsessions. Once you recognise these devious though and emotional patterns, you find strategies for dealing with them in a healthy way.

Other treatment for cross addiction includes support network or support group – you can ever start this with other addicts suffering with a similar or the same cross addiction.
Recovery is a lifelong commitment and lifelong process. Essentially it is a lifestyle. It is possible that you may face cross addiction at one point or another. All you need to do is be AWARE, take your daily inventory and share in meetings. Friends in recovery may pick up a pattern and approach you about your addiction – or, if you are honest with yourself, you can call yourself out.

Live a healthy lives fellow addicts. It works if you work it…

Sober is Sexy!

Sober is Sexy!

I remember being drunk and high, strolling into a club and thinking I was Queen Bee. I was gorgeous, the life of the party, statuesque and intimidating. I was all powerful.

Then I look at pictures and speak to friends the next day after my regular black out.

I was bedraggled, haggard, unbalanced, drooling and talking absolute nonsense. I wasn’t intimidating, I was just irritating.

If you frequent the club scene than you know that there is nothing more revolting than a drunk person trying to make conversation. Oh wait, I take that back. There is nothing worse than a drunk person hitting on you! The smell of alcohol, the blood shot eyes and the mouldy breath… how attractive. We feel sexy when we are high or drunk because we lose our inhibitions completely. We also lose our sense of balance and sense of logical thinking.

Ask any man or woman and they will tell you that a sober person is a million times more mysterious, mesmerising and sexy than a typical drunk or drug fuelled maniac.

So the bottom line is (excuse the pun), sober is sexy.

4 Reasons why sober is the new sexy

Side Note: I would love to list Robert Downey Jr as the number one reason sober is sexy but apparently that isn’t appropriate.

You look alive

You look so good! When you put down that bottle of booze and throw away that stash of drugs, your physical health improves phenomenally. Your body weight gets back to normal, your skin clears up and your eyes are alive again. You get your spark back, you get yourself back – you get your sexy back.

Your strength is inspiring

Pain and struggle develop strength. Recovering addicts have been through the ringer and persevered against all odds. Mental strength is powerful, it attracts people as they view your strength as inspiration. In recovery you learn to build a solid foundation from which to build upon. How sexy is a fighter, someone who has overcome all odds? The underdog becoming a success. Yum…

You actually have some money!

Look, I’m not saying that people with money are attractive. What I’m saying is that someone stealing for drugs, pawning other people’s property for drugs and conning friends to buy you booze and drugs is just slightly unflattering. Now you are able to buy yourself food, get your hair done, pamper yourself a bit and take someone you quite like out for lunch. Spoil yourself and spoil others – when did you ever think that would happen?

You are compassionate and able to help others

As previously stated, in recovery you are filled with strength. You have also been through a life altering process, through the 12 steps or religion (whatever helps you stay clean) you have been given valuable life tools. You are able to call yourself out on your own character defects, embrace your good qualities, acknowledge past mistakes and have learned about a little thing called ‘acceptance.’ Having these tools gives you a chance to help other people. You are able to pass on this advice, not necessarily to other recovering addicts but to anyone having a tough time. You can listen now. You can help now.

When you are willing to give up your time to help someone else… well, saying that you are sexy is an understatement. You are more human than most…

Mental Health and Addiction

Mental Health and Addiction

Mental Health and Addiction

Many people who suffer with the disease of addiction are also diagnosed with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Some addicts develop mental health issues due to their drug use and their drug of choice while others attempt to use drugs to suppress their disorders. It is common for those suffering from eating disorders to indulge in drugs that relieve them from starvation and assist in severe weight loss. It is also common for military veterans to use drugs to suppress complex post-traumatic stress disorder. Regardless, whatever symptoms appear first, it is imperative that both addiction and mental illness are treated at the same time.

The relationship between drugs/alcohol and mental illness is complex. Treatment is more complicated in this regard, however, as stated previously it is a common occurrence.

The facts

Certain groups of people with mental illness, take for example males of a low socioeconomic status or war veterans, are at a higher risk of abusing alcohol, opiates and marijuana. Studies have shown that almost one-third of people with mental health problems, from severe schizophrenia to anxiety disorders, experience substance abuse, with a diagnosis of both Mental Health and Addiction.

The relationship between mental health and substance abuse

• Mind altering substances are a form of self-medication. Those with mental illness, if left untreated, feel less ‘pain’ when high or drunk. This self-medication does not treat the condition and only progresses it, making it worse.

• Alcohol and drugs can drive the mental illness, making it worse. This can happen during the high and worsens with the come down. For example: a person suffering from depression may become suicidal on a crystal meth comedown while someone suffering from anxiety will experience severe panic attacks withdrawing from heroin/alcohol.

• Substance abuse can also trigger mental illness. Someone who has never suffered from paranoia can become completely possessed by it when abusing stimulants, hallucinogenics and marijuana. This is known as substance induced psychosis and is difficult to treat – it can also be long-lasting. A life altering consequence of substance abuse.

Below are some tips to increase chances of a full recovery from addiction and mental illness:

• Get parallel treatment for both addiction and mental health – from a highly trained team of professionals.
• Stick to your meds. It is imperative that you acknowledge the importance of therapeutic medications. Many addicts will skip these pills or this treatment, this is why going in-patient is imperative as you get into a routine and cannot skip medication.
• Support, support, support. Always ask for help.
• Have an all-inclusive treatment strategy – this should bring partners, children and spouses into the therapy. Group and individual counselling is imperative for self-growth, acknowledgement and acceptance.

older addiction sufferers

Meet Bill W and Dr Bob: The Founders of AA

In 1935 two men, both self described ‘hopeless alcoholics’ began a program of recovery. Today, the program has helped many in helpless situations come back from the brink, finding a path of serenity, sobriety and hopefulness. This program or fellowship is known as Alcoholics Anonymous. Since its inception AA has spawned numerous support groups such as NA and SLA. These groups all follow similar principles of recovery. Countless lives have been saved because of the determination of two men who searched for a new way of life. These two men were Bill W and Dr. Bob.

Bill W was fighting a dire battle against drinking. From past experience he had learned that the key to maintaining sobriety was with the help of other alcoholics. This would later culminate as the 12th step in the 12 step recovery program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Bill was successful stock broker from New York City who had traveled to Ohio on May 12 1935 for a shareholders meeting (which did not turn out as he had hoped.) At this time Bill had been sober for 5 months.

Poor me, poor me, pour me a drink

After Bill had lost the proxy fight in his meeting he spiraled into the depths of self-loathing. In a strange town, depressed and unaccountable, he was drawn to a bar in the Mayflower Hotel. He was fighting desperately not to pick up a drink and in his desperation he searched for another alcoholic in the bar. He knew that looking through the eyes of another alcoholic would help in the battle against booze.

In this delirium of confusion and desperation, Bill W ended up meeting a local surgeon who will forever be remembered as Dr. Bob. Dr. Bob had spent years battling his own drinking demons.

A fellowship begins

A strong bond formed between the two men and this fellowship and determination would culminate into a movement that changed the lives of countless men and women the world over.

It all began in an upstairs room at Dr. Bob’s house. The two men worked together helping other alcoholics – one at a time. After 4 years of dedicated work and tireless commitment to recovery – and the recovery of others 2 groups were formed in American. These groups were located in Akron (Ohio), New York and Cleveland. After the publication of the text book ‘alcoholics anonymous’ developed by these two men, the development of the fellowship grew rapidly. The Cleveland AA group quickly grew, with over 500 fellows attending.

Hope for the hopeless

The response to AA and the AA text was overwhelming. Members from the original groups had to work with new members and new groups. This dedication and genuine desire to spread the word of recovery is what led to the development of the movement. The founders had discovered that recovery could actually be ‘mass produced’. It was not limited to just the ground they could cover. In 1941, an article appeared in the Sunday Evening Post about AA and after this membership in America and Canada grew to an astounding 6000. Alcoholics in the depths of depravity were being given a chance at life. Sobriety was possible.

Alcoholics Anonymous: A Legacy of Faith, Hope and Serenity

By 1951 AA had helped over 100 000 people find sobriety. More than a million copies of the AA text (known as ‘The Big Book’) had been distributed. By the year 2000 this number reached 20 million and by 2010 27 million copies had been sold.

The fellowship continues to flourish and is a world wide support group. AA support groups can be found in almost every city worldwide. 21st Century members also have the opportunity to attend online support groups via cell phone, computer or smart phone. This is the legacy of AA – worldwide hope.
Dr. Bob passed away on November 16th 1950. Bill W passed on January 24th 1971.

Together these men who met up randomly at a bar in a small time created a fellowship that has saved millions of lives. The legacy lives on, their memories live on and AA continues to thrive.

We thank you Dr. Bob and Bill W. You have shown the world that recovery is possible through hard work and the choice to change.

I will end on this: It works if you work it, so work it, it’s worth it.

Teen Binge Drinking: The Facts

Teen Binge Drinking: The Facts

Teen binge drinking: the rat experiment

As a teen I found myself drunk, making uninformed and illogical decisions on a regular basis, and of course, waking up with no memory of the previous nights events. There is nothing worse than that feeling of the ‘unknown’ and the anxiety that comes with it. With easy access to alcohol and with an ‘I can do what I want’ mentality, many teenagers find themselves binge drinking frequently. So what is binge drinking exactly? Binge drinking can be defined as drinking 4 or more drinks in the span of 2 hours. This kind of drinking can easily lead to dangerous situations and comes with severe consequences.

Research has proven that binge drinking during the teenage years can cause brain changes that continue into adulthood.

Past research has documented the effects of binge drinking on the adolescent brain. This is a time when the brain is still developing. Heavy alcohol drinking amongst teenagers causes change in myelin. This is the protective coating that surrounds nerve fibres that boost communication between neurons, essentially causing cognitive impairment later in life. This is a debatable topic amongst medical scholars.

Researching binge drinking in adolescent rats

Heather Richardson, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts has initiated research around this controversial topic. Richardson and her colleagues researched the effects of alcohol in the brain of adolescent male rats.

For 2 weeks, a group of rats had access to sweetened alcohol every day. The other group only had access to sweetened water. Much like teenagers, rats prefer sweet beverages. With this in mind they were more than happy to work for their drink. They did so by pressing a level that granted them access to the beverage. This unlimited access triggered high levels of voluntary alcohol consumption – similar to the binge drinking of teenagers.

Through this process it was proved that adolescent binge drinking does cause lasting myelin deficits in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. At the end of the study, researchers analysed the myelin levels in the brain of the rats. The rats that drank the alcohol everyday had severely reduced myelin in the prefrontal cortex – a region of the brain that is vital in decision making and the regulation of emotion.

The sober rats? Well, they had no such issues except maybe a heavy sugar high.

The final say

Richardson is quotes as saying:

“Our study provides novel data demonstrating that alcohol drinking in early adolescence causes lasting myelin deficits in the prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest that alcohol may negatively affect brain development in humans and have long-term consequences on areas of the brain that are important for controlling impulses and making decisions.”

contact our 24 hour help line for more information

079 770 7532 (local) 

+27 79 770 7532 (international)

The Celeb Faces of Recovery

The Celeb Faces of Recovery

The Celeb Faces of Recovery. When faced with rehabilitation, consequences and sobriety, many addicts wonder if they can ever find some sort of fulfilment again. What’s going to happen now? Am I going to have to live a boring life? Am I ever going to feel adrenaline again? Am I ever going to have fun again? These are normal questions, especially for those who have not really faced their consequences or realised just how depraved their lives had gotten. They remember the good times, forgetting the chaos, anxiety and pain that came with using.

The thing is that all these questions and doubts are symptoms of denial. People living a life of recovery enjoy success, happiness, love and laughter. If you have found yourself questioning your recovery, worrying that you will never find that ‘excitement’ and ‘purpose’ again – think twice. Below are a list of recovering addicts and recovering alcoholics who hold the recovery flag high. These The Celeb Faces of Recovery are a testament to the program. They are the celebrity of recovery and prove to you, the world, just how much you can actually turn your life around if you choose to do so.

These are just celebrities, well-known names in entertainment, music, comedy and business. These are just interesting reads. If you want to find more inspiration, more success stories, just look around the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous. .. and listen. All those who have chosen recovery have in essence chosen life. Yes, Robert Downey Junior and Russell Brand are awesome motivators – but us recovering addicts, we are everywhere. We are the CEOs of major corporate companies, well-known artists, musicians, DJ’s and successful authors.

We are all around, just open your eyes. A good, happy and successful life awaits us, if we choose to jump into our recovery.

Celebrity Success Stories

Many stars have been completely down and out, falling into the pits of addiction, hitting rock bottom and then finding the basement… again and again and again. Think Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and Amanda Bynes. But just as unhopeful as these three celebs seem, there have been many other down and out stars who have found recovery and made peace with their addictions. These stars have gone on to live fulfilling healthy and hugely successful lives. Charlie Sheen can look close to home to find inspiration…

Martin Sheen

Sheen is a recovering alcoholic and found solace and serenity in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Sheen credits his recovery to his ‘higher power’ (he is a catholic) and got heavily involved in the AA fellowship once he saw his son taking a destructive path.

Jamie Lee Curtis

Ironically, Curtis played Lindsay Lohan’s mother in the film ‘Freaky Friday.’ Both actresses suffer with the disease of addiction however; Curtis has opened up about her struggle and her recovery. She became addicted to prescription medication after a routine surgery. Curtis has been clean for 10 years and is quoted as saying, ‘My recovery is the single greatest accomplishment of my life. Without that, the rest of my life would have fallen apart… Recovery is an acceptance that your life is in a shambles and you have to change it. I was lucky, I didn’t have to lose anything.”

Robert Downey Jr

Maybe the most famous face of recovery, Robert Downey Jr is an inspiration to all addicts seeking recovery. If he can do it, we can do it. RDJ (yes, I did that), has been arrested several times for drug possession, he has spent time in jail and institutions throughout the years. His career was dying, as was he. The world had lost hope for him, he had lost hope. RDJ finally kicked the habit in 2001 after committing himself to NA, the program and recovery. He has since gone on to star as Tony Stark (Iron Man folks!) and Sherlock Holmes! RDJ has spoken out about his son’s addiction problems, and his staunch support of his child is truly inspiring. It is amazing what recovery can do for families… one addict helping another and all.

Remembering his painful past helps RDJ stay clean. “I don’t pretend it didn’t happen,” he told Playboy in a 2010. “More than anything I have this sense that I’m a veteran of a war that is difficult to discuss with people who haven’t been there.”
Other celebrities in recovery include:

• Nicole Richie
• Russell Brand
• Elton John
• Jane Lynch
• Steven Tyler
• Tatum O’Neal
• Kristin Davis
• Eminem
• Melanie Griffiths
• Sir Anthony Hopkins

These are just a few faces of addiction and recovery. They may seem like celebrities, unreachable and unattainable – but these people get up, go to a meeting and share their stories with other recovering addicts. We are all the same, and we can all have success. Recovery is possible – never doubt it for a second.

Workplace Addiction

Workplace Addiction

Workplace Addiction what can be done?

HR professionals are often the first port of call in dealing with crises within the organization. Substance abuse and related disorders have infiltrated the corporate world and more often, are presenting as common crises to be dealt with. Workplace Addiction in the corporate world can be dealt with constructively. And admission into treatment can be facilitated with relative ease and appropriate corporate support.Workplace Addiction staff

Houghton House has an addiction training programme aimed at equipping corporate partners with the correct information and skills in order to benefit the employee in crises and the corporate concerned.

Drug and Alcohol abuse in the workplace is, in many cases, a dismissible offence. Although it is viewed to be a personal problem, it affects an employee’s performance at work resulting in absenteeism, accidents, illness and possibly death due to accident – all of which could add to the company’s cost.

According to studies conducted by the International Labour Organisation on the abuse of alcohol and drugs in Workplace Addiction, the following was found:

  1. Absenteeism of employees with alcohol and drug problems was three times higher than for other employees.
  2. Employees with chemical dependence problems claimed sick benefits three times more than other employees and also made compensation claims five times more than other employees.
  3. 20% to 25% of injuries in the workplace involved employees under the influence of alcohol.
  4. Drugs and alcohol supplied at work amounts to 15% to 30% of all accidents at work.

Differing from predictable insight, most people with an alcohol or substance use disorder continue to hold down a job.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), more than 70 percent of those abusing illicit drugs are employed, as are most binge drinkers.

The most common illicit drugs abused on the job are marijuana and cocaine.

Alex Hamlyn is co-founder and Head of Treatment at the Houghton House Group  in Johannesburg Gauteng dealing with Workplace Addiction

Alex Hamlin Workplace Addiction houghton HouseAlex (seen left) trains counsellors, human resources departments, student counsellors and a number other professionals with a series of specialised courses on Workplace Addiction namely “12 Core Functions of Addiction Counselling” & “Counselling the Addicted Communities”.

He is a certified member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counsellors (NAADAC) and an accredited addictions counsellor in the United Kingdom Professional Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counsellors (UKPCBADC) since 2000 Alex is well qualified to handle virtually any substance abuse case. (details at

Details of the Workplace Addiction Intervention Programme for Human Resource professionals have been outlined below.

  • A brief overview of the intervention process
  • The full spectrum of treatment available
  • Liaising with management / IR issues
  • Reintegration back into the workplace
  • Medical Aids
  • The culture of recovery and maintenance programmes going forward

Houghton has a Corporate Partner Network which includes prominent South African based corporations. This workplace addiction support network provides periodic training programmes and also entitles employees referred by an associated HR department to a free assessment.

Call us now on our 24hour helpline 079 770 7532


Spiritual Leaders of South Africa & Substance Abuse

Spiritual Leaders of South Africa & Substance Abuse

Addiction in the Community

Spiritual Leaders of South Africa & Substance Abuse, Religious Leaders are often the first port of call in dealing with crises within the community. Substance abuse and related disorders have infiltrated our society and more often, are presenting as common crises to be dealt with. Addiction in the community can be dealt with constructively. Admission into treatment can be facilitated with relative ease and appropriate support.

Houghton House has a training programme aimed at equipping Religious Leaders with the correct information and skills in order to benefit the individual and or family in crises. Details of the Addiction Intervention Programme for Religious Leaders have been outlined below.

  • A brief overview of the intervention process
  • The full spectrum of treatment available
  • Liaising with the family and work environment
  • Reintegration back into the community
  • Medical Aids
  • The culture of recovery and maintenance programmes going forward

Houghton has an addiction support network which includes prominent South African based organisations. This addiction support network provides periodic training programmes and also entitles individuals and families referred by an associated organisation to a free assessment

To link your organisation to our Addiction Support Network email:

Alcohol Rehab Costs

Alcohol Rehab Costs

Houghton House group of treatment centres is convinced that quality treatment for alcohol addiction is absolutely necessary to overcome an alcohol addiction. Alcohol rehab costs are a small price to pay when you think of the costs that are associated with long term alcohol abuse.

Costs of an alcohol addiction

The cost of private treatment may seem like a lot of money. We want to challenge you, however, to way these costs up against the cost of addiction. Alcohol addicts pay for alcohol, get themselves into debt to feed their addiction, lose their jobs and with long term use medical conditions which are very costly to treat. These costs far out-way the cost of alcohol rehabilitation, not to mention the cost of a healthy, happy life.

We provide the best treatment available. Call us now to find out more about alcohol rehab costs at Houghton House.

Addiction Recovery Centers South Africa

The Best Care Out There

Houghton House is a professional and caring Rehabilitation Centre treating those suffering from substance abuse. Helping individuals fight addiction and aid long term recovery is our core focus and something that is close to our heart. Together we take the necessary steps to achieve a successful recovery.

About Us: The Houghton House Addiction Recovery Centre

Houghton House is a professional and caring Rehabilitation Centre for substance abuse victims. Helping individuals fight and overcome their addictions is our core focus and is something that is close to our heart. Our programs are tailor made to fit each individuals needs and our facilities provide a safe and nurturing environment. Our team of professionals assist individuals with their specific situations taking the necessary steps to a successful recovery. With a holistic approach we ensure the full healing of the body, the soul and the mind.

Houghton House has a primary care treatment clinic which specializes in alcohol and drug addiction recovery and detox. We also have both secondary and tertiary care facilities to further assist individuals with their recovery based lifestyle.

Direct Helpline: +27 11 787 9142

The vicious cycle of alcoholism and drug dependency can be broken. Addicts can achieve this through dedication, determination and a strong support structure. With all the necessary steps and specialized treatment, an individual can overcome their addiction and be empowered to live a fulfilled life. Calling from Gauteng / South Africa: 011 787 9142

  • International Call : +27 11 787 9142
  • Have a Question? Please email us:
  • Registered Practice Number : 047 000 001 6616

Professional drug and alcohol counselors are available to help you. Our treatment clinics operate 24/7 and are licensed in South Africa under the “Prevention and Treatment of Drug Dependency ACT 1992.

CAT or KAT Addiction

CAT or KHAT Addiction

 CAT or KHAT is not the same drug and refers to two types of drugs – though the similar name is used for both .

CAT is highly addictive.

It is a manufactured drug that is easily accessible and relatively cheap, producing similar effects to Amphetamines, MDMA and Cocaine so is often used by people who favour stimulant drugs.
Synthetically made containing Methcathinone. It is sold in a powder form. It is compared to crystal meth or cocaine. It can be injected, snorted or inhaled and is highly addictive. CAT causes an intense psychological addiction.

It is manufactured by “cooking” it clandestinely in garages, houses etc. The precursor drug ephedrine & pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient with other highly toxic substances such as battery acid, paint thinners, it is popular within the rave scene & also used as an aphrodisiac.

CAT addictive manufactured drug

The side effects are similar to those of cocaine: it causes euphoria, increased alertness, anxiety, loss of appetite, slurred speech, dilated pupils, strange erratic behaviour, body aches, stomach pains, nausea and fatigue.

The effects lasts 4-6 hours.

Long-term effects are disorientation, indifference, hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, convulsions, abscesses, dark black rings under eyes, quick aging, respiratory failure, stroke, heart failure and possibly death.

Withdrawal can include depression, lethargy, nightmares and tremors.

A recent survey has concluded that treatment needed for this type of addiction is the highest in Gauteng, but unfortunately, the drug is available in other parts of the country. Talking to people addicted to this drug, trying to kick this habit indicate that this cannot be done on your own and some form of professional help is needed.

The side effects of abusing CAT or KAT, in many cases, both physical and mental, torment the patient for many years after stopping the use of this drug.


Khat not CATKhat or qat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Khat contains the alkaloid cathinone, a stimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite, and euphoria. For centuries it has been used in Arabian countries in Central and East Africa. Leaves are chewed for the stimulant effect.






There is light at the end of the tunnel; Drug Rehabilitation Centres that know how to help the patient and assist on an ongoing basis to stay clean.

Based in Randburg, Houghton House is treatment centre destination for Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery and Rehabilitation in South Africa.

Inpatient residential programme

The 12 Steps of AA, NA, GA, OA & CA

These are the original Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In some cases, where other twelve-step groups have adapted the AA steps as guiding principles, they have been altered to emphasize principles important to those particular fellowships, and to remove gender-biased language.

The Twelve Traditions accompany the Twelve Steps. The Traditions provide guidelines for group governance. They were developed in AA in order to help resolve conflicts in the areas of publicity, religion and finances. Most twelve-step fellowships have adopted these principles for their structural governance.

The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous are as follows:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centres may employ special workers.
  9. AA, as such, ought never to be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never to be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


Crack Addiction

Crack Addiction

Crack Addiction

Crack, also called “coke” or “cocaine” is a white powder which is made from the leaves of the cacao plant. Crack (Cocaine) creates a temporary surge of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This gives energy and a euphoric mood, or at least gaiety and cheerfulness.

People suffering from crack addiction also experience an analgesic effect and will become sexually stimulated. The hunger stimulus disappears, and there’s an increase in muscle strength and endurance is also increased.

In addition, crack addiction causes a person to feel very self confident; it creates a powerful feeling. Cocaine, however, has a short duration, as all crack addicts know.

Cocaine can be taken in various forms. The white powder can be sniffed through a tube into the nose. It can also be injected after it’s been dissolved in water, or smoked through a pipe.

Crack addiction is very dangerous and can lead to death if left untreated.

Risks of crack addiction:

  • Dry and damaged mucosa
  • Increased body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urination
  • Aggressiveness
  • Empty feeling
  • “Hangover”
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Sinusitis
  • Headaches
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Feeling creatures under the skin
  • Severe itching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Injection abscesses
  • Lung damage
  • Exhaustion and exuberance (dangerous in traffic)
  • Oxygen deficiency in the heart

Fill in one of our contact forms or call our 24hour helpline 079 770 7532 and one of our profession staff members will be able to assist you if you think you have a crack addiction.

The Houghton House Group of Treatment Centres are holistic drug treatment centres,  located in Sandton and Randburg South Africa . The treatment centres that form the group specialize in alcohol and drug addiction problems and have been assisting people to overcome their addictions for over twenty years.

The very high success statistics and exclusive treatment centres have attracted patients into this centre from around the world.


Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction

There are many people living with a prescription drug addiction simply because these drugs can be obtained easily through a doctor. Even though they are legal, they may cause a strong addiction that causes withdrawal symptoms similar to heroin withdrawal.

Prescription drug addiction is wide spread and people are addicted to sleeping pills, pain killers, tranquilizers, slimming medication and antidepressants. They are known as “Pill Junkies” and they use these medications for different reasons other than what the prescription is intended for. In the early stages the use might start out harmless, but it soon turns into a prescription drug addiction which is difficult to get rid of.

Treating prescription drug addiction can be very difficult when the addict is in denial. The addict will deny the dangers of the drugs because they can legally obtain it from a pharmacy. It’s also easier to deny an addiction of prescribed drugs, because ‘how can it be bad if it gets prescribed by doctors?’

Prescribed drug addiction can be treated successfully and you can get positive results. Call Houghton House now if you think you have a prescription drug addiction.

Houghton House Group Of Treatment Centres are located in South Africa. The treatment services that form the group specialize in alcohol and drug addiction and have been helping users to overcome their addictions and maintain a healthy life for several years.

For more information and advice on getting help for yourself or a loved one call

011 7879142