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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the admission process?

Alcohol and drug problems are complex conditions, particularly if they are co-exiting with each other or other issues. That's why a detailed pre-admission assessment is required for us to construct a full picture of a client’s history, current situation and treatment goals.  This also acts as a basis for creating a client’s bespoke treatment plan and advising on the best plan of action.

The pre-admission assessment is completed by one of our qualified team, and can be done face-to-face, by secure video conferencing or over the phone. It will include collecting contact details, next of kin, GP, drug and alcohol use, current and past issues with depression and anxiety as well as a number of other factors.

Once the assessment is completed, and we've answered any of your questions we'll discuss and agree treatment options. Once dates and times of attendance have been decided on we'll agree an admission date, issue the financial contract and discuss how payment will be made.

What is the environment like and who are the staff?

At Help Me Stop we employ highly qualified, experienced professionals who integrate evidenced-based practises and therapies to provide the most effective treatment that's accessible, affordable and can fit around work, study or family commitments.

Not only are many of our trained therapists qualified psychotherapists and counsellors, they also have many years of recovery in a 12-Step Fellowship. This means they can both relate to, and support our clients from a point of personal, as well as professional experience.

We make sure all our clients, families and friends are treated with dignity and respect. And we provide a modern, comfortable  environment that's safe, boundaried and comfortable to be in.

What does the programme involve?

Different clients with different needs require different approaches at different times. So we use a range of psychotherapeutic approaches.  

Help Me Stops integrative approach draws on different schools of thought and ways of working to produce the most effective therapy for each individual client. We apply these therapeutic approaches alongside the 12-Step model to give clients the best opportunity for lasting recovery.

Our model is predominately group work but each client will have a personal one-to-one with their named therapist each week.

The 160-hour programme includes the following elements, although some activities will take place outside of these hours, in the client's own time. 

  • Behavioural Workshops (Managing Anxiety, Assertiveness Training, Managing Stress, Managing Depression, Changing Habits): Workshops on various subjects to inform and educate clients; providing them with tools to manage a variety of situations they may experience and change negative habits and behaviours.
  • Family Programme: Aimed at educating family members and clients. To help the family to set boundaries, reduce enabling behaviours and sustain recovery.
  • Psycho-educational lectures/presentations: Including Pod Casts, Ted Talks & YouTube - To learn from world experts on various relevant topics.
  • Meditation Group: An introduction to practices that help to quieten the mind and allow clients to learn how to ‘be’ and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Individual Counselling Sessions (weekly): An opportunity for clients to discuss personal issues in a confidential setting and discuss their treatment plan and progress.
  • Connection and Meanings Group: To give clients a chance to discuss and debate the benefits of connecting to something bigger than just themselves.
  • Gender Specific Group (if appropriate): For same sex clients to have the chance to discuss any gender related issues.
  • Mindfulness Group: To gain greater awareness of how to remain present and engaged in the here and now. To enable open-mindedness and increase health and well being.
  • Drug & Alcohol Testing: Regular weekly test to help maintain motivation and evidence base abstinence.
  • 12-Step meetings: We expect our clients to attend 3 meetings per week as a minimum. One of our Recovery Support Workers will accompany the client to their first meeting to introduce them to fellowship meetings and help them connect with other members.
  • 12-Step & 12-Tradition Study Group: Clients attend these as one of their 3 meetings to help gain a deeper understanding of 12-Step philosophy.
  • Daily Recovery Diary: These are completed at home at the end of each day as a chance for self-reflection and to look at the day's events and goals achieved.
  • Daily Recovery Reading: We undertake these daily as a start-up process to focus the mind on recovery and to help clients make this an integral part of their daily lives.
  • Assignment Group: To allow clients to present their assignments to, and get feedback from, their peers.
  • Step 1, 2 & 3 Presentations: To give our clients a greater understanding of 12-Step work in preparation of working through the remaining 9 Steps with a sponsor of their choice.
  • Life Events Presentation: To give insight into, and awareness of, how clients have been impacted by their life experiences.
  • Relapse Prevention Presentation: To help clients understand how to recognise triggers; and to learn how to cope when triggered, in order to prevent relapse.
  • Art Therapy Group: An opportunity to for clients to express themselves without speaking order to ‘uncover and discover’ and gain greater awareness.

What is the average day like?

Our clients' days will be different according to their personalised timetables, but all clients will experience a range of one-to-one sessions and group work focused around a number of topics. They will also watch and take part in presentations by group members and the staff team. Drug and alcohol testing will be carried out randomly throughout the programme.  

Clients will get breaks in-between sessions and will have use of our self-service kitchen facilities, which include a microwave and fridge for clients to bring, store and heat their own food. Help Me Stop will also provide a range of refreshments.

Who will help me throughout my treatment?

In short, all the staff will. Our team of Psychotherapists and Recovery Support Workers are there to help with our clients' psychological and programme needs.

What are the treatment teams' qualifications?

Our therapy and support team has been put together based on their qualifications, experience and commitment to Help Me Stop's mission, vision and values. All our therapists are accredited by the British Association of Counselling Psychotherapy or similar regulatory body and are members of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals. They are specialists in the field of addiction, with many years of work in this field.

Many of our psychotherapists hold master’s degrees in psychotherapy and are expert in their fields. Most have also been active in their own recovery through a 12-Step Fellowship for a number of years.

Many of our recovery support workers are also in long-term recovery and are also trained in health and social care, with many also holding or study for counselling qualifications. 

Help Me Stop is an employer dedicated to the development of the service and to the care it provides. We have a robust continued professional development training commitment to staff at all levels.

How is Help Me Stop committed to quality care?

Help Me Stop is committed to the fundamental standards laid out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the ethics of National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professional, (FDAP), British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) and as such every client has the right to expect treatment to these standards.

Through its governance and audit procedures we are committed to:

  • Person-centred care: Care and treatment that is tailored to our clients and meets their needs and preferences.
  • Dignity and respect: Clients will be treated with dignity and respect at all times while they are receiving care and treatment and in any dealings we have with them post completion. This includes making sure they have privacy when they need and want it.
  • Equality: Everybody is treated as equals and we give the support our clients need to help them remain independent and engaged
  • Consent: Clients must give their consent before any care or treatment is given to them or for any information to be divulged.
  • Safety: All clients are protected from unsafe care or treatment and never to be put at risk of harm that could be avoided. In this respect we assess the risks to our clients health and safety during any care or treatment and make sure our staff have the qualifications, competence, skills and experience to keep them safe.
  • Safeguarding from abuse: Our clients will not suffer any form of abuse or improper treatment while receiving care. This includes: neglect, degrading treatment or inappropriate limits on their freedom.
  • Food and drink: our clients will always have access to enough to eat and drink to keep them in good health while they receive care and treatment.
  • Premises and equipment: The places where our clients receive care and treatment and the equipment used in it are always clean, suitable and looked after properly. Furthermore, the equipment used in their care and treatment is also secured and used properly.
  • Complaints: Clients are be able to complain about their care and treatment if needed. In this respect we have a system in place, so we can handle and respond to clients’ complaints. We are committed to investigate these thoroughly and act if problems are identified.
  • Good governance: We have robust governance structures that ensure we can meet our quality standards. In this respect we have governance and systems to check on the quality and safety of care. These will help our service improve and reduce any risks to our clients health, safety and welfare.
  • Staffing: We are committed to having enough suitably qualified, competent and experienced staff to make sure they can meet our quality standards. Our staff are given the support, training and supervision they need to help them do their jobs. We ensure that we only employ people who can provide care and treatment appropriate to their role and as such we have strong recruitment procedures in place and carry out relevant checks such as on applicants' criminal records and work history.
  • Duty of candour: We are committed to being open and transparent with clients about their care and treatment. Should something go wrong, we will tell our clients what has happened, provide support and apologise.

What services are available for family members?

Family support is included as part of each client's Help Me Stop Programme. Up to two friends or family members can join, and they will be expected to attend a series of workshops that take place over consecutive weekends. We also offer free drop-in sessions every Sunday after the workshops.

The Family Programme helps friends and relatives understand what the client is going through and gives them strategies to help support them in their recovery.

Studies have shown that involving family members in treatment:

  • Improves their chances of retention and completion
  • Improves their chances of long-term recovery
  • Reduces problem behaviours on both sides
  • Improves family functioning and increases positive interactions by: reducing conflict, improving communication, dealing with anger, resentment, guilt, shame and embarrassment as well as creating a common understanding about the nature of addiction and recovery for all parties involved

The Help Me Stop family programme gives friends and relatives the opportunity to:

  • Learn about how addiction works on the mind and body and gain a deeper understanding of the treatment process. This helps friends and relatives support the client both during treatment and over the long-term recovery process.
  • Understand enabling and unhelpful behaviours
  • Focus on their own needs, desires and issues rather than just those of the client
  • Learn how to manage their negative thoughts, behaviours and emotions
  • Bond with other family members going through the same processes

Even in the best of circumstances, families can find it difficult to adjust to their relative's changing behaviour. Each family member will adjust in different ways, and our  Our Family Programme helps each member of the family make positive changes that will benefit the whole family.

Our family programme helps families learn to communicate again. Rebuilding trust, friendship and the lines of communication. By providing a safe place to share, we help families rebuild relationships and establish new ways of relating to one another.The family programme enables our clients to create support network that will help them long after treatment has been completed. 

Family and friends drop-in

We offer free drop-in group for family members, friends and colleagues that are concerned about their friend or relative's drinking or drug taking. The goal of this group is to:

  • Provide some knowledge and understanding on the nature of addiction and the 12 Steps
  • To give those that attend some strategies to improve the quality of their lives
  • To give some pointers about how friends and relatives can help make seeking treatment more attractive than than drinking or taking drugs
  • To outline various treatment options and to explore more about our programme

How long is the treatment programme?

The Help Me Stop programme is undertaken over 160 hours, with clients having to give a minimum commitment of 16 hours per week. Clients can complete the programme anywhere between 5 and 10 weeks depending on their availability and commitments.

At Help Me Stop we address more than just alcohol and drug problems. Most of the time there are underlying reasons for a client's drinking and/or drug use, these include stress, anxiety, anger, grief, trauma and other problems. All these things impact on relationships, careers, health, and psychological well-being, as well as alcohol and drug use. If left untreated, these issues will lead to relapse. Our programme focuses on addressing all these issues and developing a new way of thinking and behaving.

Research shows it takes between 18-66 days to turn a new behaviour into an ingrained habit, indicating a considerable variation based on the individual. The problem is that behavioural change is not something that a person just suddenly chooses to adopt or happens overnight. Clients have to replace old habits with new ones, and this takes time, repetition and support. Something our programme and the 12-Step approach addresses.

Are clients forced to stay?

The simple answer is no. Help Me Stop does not take any client that is mandated to stay by a court order or mental health section. However, we are aware that despite agreeing to treatment, maintaining change and addressing difficult issues is not easy. We do our best to motivate our clients to stay and complete their treatment as we know success is achievable.

We know, and evidence and research support this, that completing and staying in treatment, leads to much higher chances of long term recovery, so we motivate our clients to complete their full treatment programme.

How do I pay?

Once a client has agreed to a start date and is happy with their personal programme, a contract will be drawn up and signed. We then take payment for the whole 160-hour programme. You can pay by cash, bank transfer, cheque or debit/credit card.

Can I smoke?

Help Me Stop is a no smoking environment, however we do provide a smoking area outside our building.

What happens at the end of treatment/after care?

Aftercare is an essential part of the treatment programme. Our therapists work with our clients to develop a relapse prevention and aftercare plan. This includes helping them maintain a dependable support system, for at least the first year of recovery.

Aftercare is essential because the longstanding issues clients present with, alter the normal functioning of the brain. Some of these changes don't instantly reverse once the behaviour ends. Aftercare and relapse prevention are vital to make sure recovery continue, for this reason, aftercare includes:

  • Support in maintaining recovery from addiction and unhelpful behaviours
  • Suggestions for ways to prevent relapse
  • Involvement in a12-Step fellowship 
  • Access to four aftercare support group sessions which are held  every Saturday afternoon. A client’s aftercare group doesn’t have to be at the facility they first received your treatment programme, they are welcome at any of our groups.
  • Additional for paid-for support sessions if necessary. Clients and can purchase an extra 20 or 40 hours access to our aftercare groups and 6 months of weekly drug and alcohol testing.
  • Continued alcohol & drug testing - clients find further testing ca enhance their employment prospects and demonstrate commitment to their employers. Regular testing also helps the peace of mind of family members. 
  • Follow up calls throughout the first year to see how clients are doing.

What is the 12-step approach?

The 12 Steps of recovery were originally  part of the programme devised by Alcoholic Anonymous. There are now 12-Steps groups for drugs, gambling, eating disorders and many other addictions. The premise is that that individuals admit their inability to control their drug or alcohol use work through a series of steps that help them face and address their issues. The idea is to make lasting changes to the way they live their lives and to maintain these changes by attending regular support groups called 'meetings'.There are 12-Step meetings in most major towns and cities throughout the world. Members are encouraged to find a mentor, also known as a 'sponsor'. A sponsor is someone with long-term recovery who guides the newcomer through the steps and helps them through any difficulties.

A study published in the American Journal on Addictions showed that individuals who worked through all 12 Steps were more secure in themselves than those who didn’t. Studies evaluated in the Journal of Addictive Diseases published that individuals who attended 12 Step meetings regularly were twice as likely to remain abstinent than those who didn’t. Those who attended more meetings for longer also had higher abstinence rates. All of these peer-based support groups expect complete abstinence as this is proven to predict long-term recovery. Studies published in Psychology Today show that individuals who remain drug- and alcohol-free for five years remain clean and sober and do not relapse about 85 percent of the time.

What happens if I relapse or can’t attend?

Unlike clients in residential treatment, our clients must make the daily decision not to drink or use and to return to treatment for their sessions. We appreciate that clients often live and work in environments in which substance use is prevalent and that as they leave our centres, they may encounter environmental cues that trigger their addiction and increase their risk for relapse.

We also appreciate that there may well be other factors that may affect their attendance such as sickness or work issues.

If clients do have a lapse then we need to know. They will be temporally suspended from the main group programme while we support them in other ways with the goal to get things back on track. This is for the safety and benefit of them and others that are in treatment with them.

If clients are sick or have emergency work or childcare issues, we can work around this. We have a detailed policy that underpins all things relating to attendance so please ask for further information.

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