Addiction Rehabilitation Tools

Houghton House: Addiction Recovery Centers

This is part of a series of email interviews with addiction recovery professionals/centers. Today’s interview highlights Houghton House, an addiction recovery center in Ferndale and Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Please tell me about know about Houghton House. What do you do and how are you different from other treatment centers or programmes?

Since 1995 Houghton House Group has offered high quality, specialist treatment for those suffering with alcoholism and or drug dependency. Over time we have become one of the leading authorities in treating and beating addiction in South Africa.

With almost 20 years of experience, the Houghton House Group has embraced the multi-disciplinary Minnesota Model of treatment. At its core the Minnesota Model has evolved to become a holistic treatment model that combines the expertise of medical and therapeutic professionals as well as counsellors that have first-hand experience with both dependency and recovery. In our experience the odds of recovery are greatest when both approaches are combined. Medical and psychiatric care covers the dual diagnosis of any other psychiatric conditions that often accompanies alcoholism and drug addiction, for example depression or other anxiety disorders. Trained counsellors that have gone through the experience of moving from active substance abuse to recovery are able to personally relate to the patients’ challenges as well as provide living proof of the new life that can be achieved in recovery.

Our programme has been refined and shaped to manage a wide variety of patients in terms of demographics and diagnoses. We offer 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 or recovery support.  Based on the understanding that addiction is not a moral failing, but a recognised and diagnosable disease, Houghton House offers programme phases that address the different stages of addiction that the individual may be in.

The experienced multi-disciplinary team of experts at Houghton House include doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, certified addiction counsellors, nurses and other medical professionals. We are able to offer treatment for dual-diagnosis patients. More often than not, addiction occurs with other pre-existing psychological issues, such as anxiety or depression. Houghton House provides a clinically integrated approach that addresses these underlying issues. A sustainable recovery depends on the treatment of the co-occurring disorder along with the addiction.

Based in Gauteng, South Africa, Houghton House has become a destination for individuals seeking recovery from around the globe. Treatment services from Canada, Holland, Germany and the United Kingdom have found private treatment programs in South Africa to be comparatively inexpensive when weighed against their counterparts in those regions.


What services to you offer?

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.


Tell me about your staff.

The experienced multi-disciplinary team of experts at Houghton House offers the full spectrum of care including a detox programme, inpatient care, outpatient clinic, and step down services such as aftercare and relapse prevention.

Alex Hamlyn
, NAADAC; UKPCBADC – Co-Founder and Director
: “If you want to stop using, you are going to have to stop using”
Alex Hamlyn is co-founder and director at the Houghton House Group of addiction treatment centres in Johannesburg and is a nationally recognised expert in addiction rehabilitation.
 As a certified member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counsellors (NAADAC) and an accredited additions 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.
Since 1995 Alex has been involved with several prominent addiction recovery practices and participated in numerous road-shows, seminars, training programmes, authorships and advisories on the field of addiction rehabilitation.
 He specialises in the field of groupwork with addicted populations, maintaining that groupwork is the most powerful dynamic available in psychotherapy. Alex has been running groups for almost 20 years.
 He currently provides counselling and group treatment services from the recovery facilities where he supervises and coaches numerous addiction counsellors both inside and outside of the Houghton House Group.
Alex also trains counsellors, human resources departments, medical professionals, student counsellors and a number other professionals including doctors studying at the University of the Witwatersrand school of family medicine, through a series of specialised courses namely 12 Core Functions of Addiction Counselling and Counselling the Addicted Communities.
Alex has walked the harrowing line of heroin and crack cocaine addiction into recovery and has remained clean and motivated since 1994 and continues to be active both inside the and out of the substance abuse community.

Learn about more of the Houghton House staff by clicking here:


How does one know which of your services are needed?  For example, when does one need inpatient vs. outpatient care?

One will be accessed and then professionally advised on treatment options suitable for them.


How do you support family members?

We run a family Programme every Monday evening from 7.30 to 8.30 which is completely free of charge and highly encouraged. We also keep the family updated on the progress of their loved one throughout the treatment process and we do arrange family therapy sessions, if necessary.


From your website, it looks like you provide “evidence-based” treatment.  What does this mean?

Evidence base means that we “have evidence” that certain approaches or interventions have certain results. Usually through research.  It’s tried and tested methodologies. CBT, Motivational Interviewing and 12-step facilitation.


How do you help clients remain sober after leaving Houghton House?
We encourage clients to follow the process from Primary, to Secondary and then Tertiary – we also have a Relapse Prevention Programme.


What specific tools or skills do people need to recover from addiction and live productive lives?
To follow the suggestions, and use all the tools and skills provided to them whilst in our care.

  • Support Groups & Step Work:
    • There is a reason that NA and AA meetings exist. They work. There is no cure for addition, however it can be arrested through hard work and dedication. The 12 step program offered by these support groups breaks down the recovery process step by step. Allowing you to take on your recovery slowly, efficiently and orderly.
    • The steps provide you with tools that allow you to identify your character defects, embrace your great qualities, acknowledge your mistakes and embrace your present. These are life tools that guide you to a serene, sober, successful and fulfilling life.
    • Go to a meeting: There are always special holiday time meetings open to you, get yourself to one in your area.
  • Ask for help: Reach out to friends, family and of course, your sponsor. Call yourself out on your concerns and let them know you need help during this time.
  • Sponsorship, Honesty, Open Mindedness and Willingness: Working with your sponsor is vital to a successful recovery. It is important to be honest with your sponsor – they are available to help you and can only help you if you embrace your truth, face your resentments, accept your mistakes and move forward
  • People. Places. Things. Stay away! You know this.
  • Avoid H.A.L.T: Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. If you need food, get something to eat. If you are angry, figure out why and deal with it. If you are lonely – call a friend in recovery. If you are tired – sleep!
  • Continued Care: After care is also important in recovery, your addict behaviour doesn’t simply stop once you have stopped the drugs and had some clean time. Houghton House offers an after care and relapse prevention program, ensuring that recovering addicts do not slip back into old habits

Do you have any advice for those people who feel beyond hope?
You can do it, one day at a time.


How can a person know if Houghton House is right for him or her?
Houghton House is right for all types of individuals.


What’s the best way for someone to reach you?
We have a 24hr helpline +27 797707532. Or can call Houghton House during office hours on +27 117879142 or through our website or Twitter @HoughtonHouse or facebook https:/


Do addicts seeking recovery, living outside of the city, have the ability to access NA/AA meetings?
Any addict seeking recovery has the chance to heal and find a new way of life. NA/ AA meetings are found all over the world, from small towns to large cities. Look for a meeting in your area. If you cannot find a meeting, simply go online. Thanks to the internet, addicts have access to a variety of support groups and NA/AA chats online.

NA meetings are held via the World Wide Web to ensure every addict has a chance at recovery. You can find yourself a sponsor online easily and the web gives you the ability to access digital NA/AA literature and the step working guides. Simply reach out for help and you will find it.

Recovering addicts have a strong code, they pass the message on to those who still suffer. ‘One addict helping another is without parallel.’ Thanks to the internet this step is more pertinent than ever. Recovery awaits.


Any other message you’d like to share?
They only way to stop using is to stop using!


Thank you, Houghton House, for sharing your thoughts about recovery and your addiction recovery center.  

Houghton House’s website is You can contact them at their hotline at +27 797707532.

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This is not a licensed or medically-approved program or treatment. Rather, this site teaches timeless principles, that if applied, can help people overcome their addictions or other bad habits. In the case of prolonged or intense drug or alcohol use, we recommend that you work with an addiction or medical professional, especially before you first stop consumption of the addictive substance. In the case of alcohol, not doing so may result in death. In the case of other drugs, a professional may be able to reduce the discomfort of withdrawal.
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