A Luton-based addiction rehabilitation centre has for the first time opened its doors to community to attend free sessions to help strengthen understanding of addiction.
Liberty House is a private centre for people with addictions ranging from drugs and alcohol, to sex, online gaming, gambling and food disorders.
The facility in Old Bedford Road operated under UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), has been running its free weekly support sessions for close friends and family members of patients, but now it is welcoming anyone from in and around Luton to attend as well in order to support an addiction-aware community.
The aim of extending the session to people not directly involved in addiction, UKAT says, has huge benefits when it comes to breaking down prejudice and understanding how treatment facilities like Liberty House work in order to support its local community.
Qualified counsellors and therapists lead the open group sessions, discussing how to support someone in active addiction, or following treatment in order to help the addict live or aim towards an addiction-free life.
UKAT’s Founder Eytan Alexander – who has rolled the all-inclusive support sessions across all seven treatment facilities in England – believes that without a strong, supportive and empathetic network, an addict in recovery is at risk of relapse.
He said: “Addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. It creates a ripple effect and those around them can suffer just as much as they do.
“Friends and family members need help too. They need comforting, educating and supporting just as much as the individual gripped by addiction, so that following treatment at Liberty House, their support network is strong, which in turn, strengthens their recovery programme and can help avoid relapse.”
The free sessions runs every Thursday, 7-8.30pm and different topics are covered each week.
The sessions are now open to everyone in the local community and no booking is required. Each session is completely anonymous.
He added: “Unfortunately there’s still a negative stigma attached to addiction. We want this to end. We want to help friends, family and our local community understand more about addiction and how we can support those suffering.”
Liberty House is staffed 24/7 and can treat up to 20 patients at a time.