Why should I come to an Outpatient Addiction Treatment Programme?

Residential rehab is undoubtedly the most appropriate option for many people who suffer from an addiction related illness. However, the majority of people with substance addiction problems will be binge-pattern alcoholics or drug addicts. Binge-pattern addicts and alcoholics will not require medically supervised detox and are likely to possess more or less intact lives and social support systems. The same is true for people with gambling, shopping and sex addictions, and for many people suffering from codependency or an eating disorder.

If there is a sincere motivation to turn things around, then Outpatient Treatment offers many advantages:

  1. Excellent care at Start2Stop is affordable. This is because outpatient treatment doesn’t involve the costs and overheads of residential rehab or daycare. 100 days with Start2Stop will cost about the same as one week in a private residential rehab.
  2. Star2Stop is committed to a long-term therapeutic engagement, in line with best practice. From a clinical perspective, this allows structural and deeply embedded problems to be properly addressed and resolved. Upon admission, every client will, with the help of their counsellor, develop a unique treatment plan that will act as a roadmap for the intense and challenging journey ahead. Because Start2Stop treatment is, at 100 days, so long term, there is time and space for our clients to address and work through all presenting problems in depth.
  3. Start2Stop is convenient. Our treatment programmes are after-hours, with group therapy and educational lectures occurring two evenings a week and on Saturday mornings; a weekly individual counselling session is to be arranged with your counsellor at a mutually suitable time within normal business hours
  4. Start2Stop is about recovery in the real world. Every day there will be challenges to face and choices to make, triggers to deal with and temptations to overcome. Start2Stop will be with you every step of the way, guiding you safely through the minefield of early recovery and supporting you as you build exceptionally vigorous and dynamic recovery foundations.
  5. Start2Stop delivers effective treatment. We are a first-class treatment centre with a proven track record and a higher than average success rate. We believe that Start2Stop is a place where friendships are made and lives are restored.
  6. Start2Stop is a London addiction treatment programme, which means that you will be able to build your recovery in the geographical area in which you live. Help will be available every step of the way, not least from the Star2Stop peer group. Whether attending the Start2Stop 100 day programme or the Aftercare Programme, you will find yourself with others suffering from similar addictions and feelings, and the peer group will be an enormous source of support, friendship and inspiration.
  7. Aside from the obvious advantage of long-term and evidence-based care that is convenient and affordable, an important advantage of the Start2Stop programmes is that they can be extended, depending upon individual circumstances and requirements. This affords our clients the opportunity to finish treatment when they have all their recovery structures in place and feel ready for the next step.

The care offered by Start2Stop is ongoing. Once a client has successfully completed treatment, they will be encouraged to attend our free weekly aftercare for as long as it seems helpful and they wish to come; many alumni have been coming for years.

How do I know if I need treatment?

If you have become aware that your drinking or substance use is causing you problems or starting to take over your life and you have sincerely tried or wanted to cut down or control your use, but failed to do so, then you probably need professional help. Equally, if you know that your relationship with food, gambling, shopping, other people or sex is causing you problems and making you unhappy, and you have been unable to change things on your own, then you probably need professional help.

What is Addiction?

Addiction has been defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as ‘a chronic, relapsing, illness’. It affects some 10-12% of any population and can be thought of as a pathological relationship with a substance (e.g. alcohol) or behaviour (e.g. gambling). Over time, there will be an increasing preoccupation with, and compulsion to engage in, the addictive relationship. Accompanying this obsession and compulsion will be a spiralling loss of control over the substance or behaviour of choice. Accompanying this loss of control will be ever greater damage, loss and suffering.

Is Addiction a Disease?

Yes. While no biological marker for addiction has yet been identified, there is strong evidence that addiction is caused by a neurobiological disorder. Brain imaging suggests that addicts possess a spiralling disregulation of the mesocortical limbic pathways (seat of the brain’s reward and pleasure centres). As with any illness, addiction follows a predictable course, regardless of who you are or where you are from. Untreated, addiction will inevitably end badly. The good news is that, as with any illness, the quicker you seek professional help, the better the prognosis.

Can people choose to become addicts?

People choose, for example, to drink or take drugs, but no-one chooses to be an addict — what you can do, though, is choose to recover.

Is there more than one type of Substance Addiction?

Yes. The main sub-types of substance addiction are the chronically out of control alcoholic/drug addict, the functional (or ‘top-up’) alcoholic/addict, and the binge-pattern alcoholic/addict.

Do the majority of alcoholics and drug addicts have a physical addiction to their substance of choice?

No. While the usual stereotype of the addict or alcoholic is probably someone who is drinking or using drugs all day, every day, and who is physically addicted to their substance of choice, it is actually a minority of addicts/alcoholics, some 30%, who conform to this stereotype. The majority of people with an addictive disorder are in fact binge-pattern addicts.

What is a binge-pattern alcoholic or addict?

Being a binge-pattern addict can be very confusing. There will be no physical addiction and days or even weeks might go by with either no use of alcohol or chemicals, or apparently appropriate use of them. And then, almost out of the blue, what was meant to be a quiet pint or a solitary line of cocaine may become an unplanned and out of control binge, with often destructive consequences to the addicted person and their loved ones.

Binge-pattern addicts tend not to use or drink every day, don’t require medically supervised detoxes, tend to have jobs and are often high-functioning, tend to have partners or families, and tend not to have significant psychiatric co-morbidities. They also tend not to see themselves as addicts, believing that they have sufficient control over things. Loss of control will become undeniable when the substance use (or gambling/shopping/binge-purging) ‘bleeds’ into normal daily activities and relationships. This is when help is likely to be sought.

At Start2Stop, the majority of our clients are binge-pattern addicts and we have a wealth of experience in helping such clients to recover.

If I am already a few months into my recovery, do I really need to come to the Start2Stop Aftercare Programme?

If you have worked hard to get into good early recovery in London, then while you would benefit from the extra support offered by Start2Stop, you may well have strong enough recovery foundations to continue as you are.

However, for those clients who have returned to London after doing a stint of residential rehab elsewhere in the UK or abroad, the Start2Stop Aftercare Programme is an ideal option for ensuring a ‘safe landing’. This is because it is one thing to get into a recovery process while overseas or elsewhere in the UK, but quite another to hold that process and avoid relapse upon the return to London. For most people, to return to London is to leave behind all the support systems that have been so carefully built up, just when they are needed most. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that some 65% of people relapse within 90 days of returning home from residential rehab.

The Start2Stop Aftercare Programme has as its goals: relapse prevention, successful adjustment to life back home, the creation of recovery friendships and the development of strong connections to the fellowships. For some clients, the best option might be to live at the Mews House for their first month back and then attend the Aftercare Programme once they have moved back home.

Does Start2Stop take people who need to be detoxed?

We require clients to be three days clean from drink and drugs upon admission and to test negative for all mood-altering substances (with some exceptions for people suffering from behavioural addictions). If you are physically dependent on your substance of choice, we would recommend that you consider undergoing at least 28 days of residential rehab before joining Start2Stop. However, if it is not possible for you to do residential rehab, we may be able to help arrange a safe and appropriate detox for you. Once this is completed, you would then be admitted to Start2Stop.

Does S2S do drug and alcohol screening?

Yes. We regularly use urine and breathalyser testing to screen clients for alcohol and drug use.

What happens if Start2Stop doesn’t work for me?

If it becomes apparent that Start2Stop is not the right programme for you, we would openly and honestly discuss the situation with you and then recommend what we felt were the very best alternative treatment options for you.

Does anyone need to know I am at Start2Stop?

Attendance at Start2Stop is entirely confidential if you are aged over 18 and self-funding. If you are under 18, Start2Stop is obliged to appraise the relevant significant others of your attendance.

Will I be discharged from Star2tStop if I have a slip?

No. We follow the World Health Organisation in understanding addiction to be a chronic, relapsing, illness. Punishing someone for having a slip is akin to agreeing to treat someone for hip cancer and then discharging them from treatment if the cancer comes back.

A slip, or using episode, is simply a sign that things need to change in a client’s recovery practice. We will therefore do our best to work with a slip and convert it into a learning opportunity, helping a client to make the necessary changes to their recovery programme.

Do I have to attend 12-Step Fellowships while at Start2Stop?

Yes. We acknowledge that there are many pathways to happy recovery. We also know that the 12-Step pathway has, since 1935, proved to be a tried and tested route to recovery for millions of people. We therefore want Start2Stop clients to be exposed to the 12-Step fellowships and ask that a minimum of one such meeting per week is attended. Many Start2Stop clients will go on to develop deep roots in the Fellowships and others won’t. Either way, we want you to be in a position to make an informed choice about whether 12-Step recovery is right for you.

Am I allowed to use mood-altering substances while at Start2Stop?

If you are being treated for alcoholism or drug addiction, then you are not allowed to use any forms of mood-altering substances while on a Start2Stop or Mews House programme. If you are being treated for a behavioural addiction, then we would recommend abstinence from mood and mind altering substances. However, we would allow moderate alcohol use if there was no evidence that you had ever had a co-existing alcohol problem (alongside the behavioural addiction that we are treating you for). We would, though, carefully monitor any such alcohol use.

Are 12-Step fellowships cults?

No. A good definition of a cult is that it takes your money and its members have sex with you. 12-Step fellowships do neither. Rather than being a cult, a 12-Step fellowship is a mutually supportive group of like-minded people who have the shared experience of addiction and a desire to recover from it.

Can I pay for my treatment at Start2Stop in monthly instalments?

Yes. We undertake to do our best to prevent money being a barrier to entry into our treatment programmes and to this end will try hard to be flexible over payment.

Is treatment at Start2Stop confidential?

Yes. Admission to Start2Stop requires all clients to sign a binding confidentiality agreement.

How can I tell if I have an addiction?

Please look at our Common Addictions section on this website. Here you will find descriptions of the various addictions that we treat. Next, please turn to the Screening Tests section, where you will find screening tools and tests for these addictions.


of Start2Stop alumni surveyed strongly agreed or agreed to the statement that treatment had met their expectations.

Professional Referrals

If you are a professional and would like to refer a patient or client to Start2Stop, click the link below for more information.