Drug & Alcohol Recovery and Education Centre

"Turning Lives Around"

Q: What is the length of time that I will be in treatment at Watershed?

A: Residents entering treatment at Watershed Drug & Alcohol Recovery & Education Centre can be admitted for periods between 5 days and 12 months. The detoxification program lasts between 5 and 14 days. The residential rehabilitation program lasts for 4 week and clients are then able to transition to the Carinya Halfway House supported accomodation facility for up to 6-9 months.

Q: What happens in a residential rehabilitation program and how does it work?

A: Residential rehabilitation involves living at a facility to receive treatment for drug or alcohol dependence, usually after a period of detoxification. Research shows that the longer a person remains in rehabilitation, the better their chances of remaining abstinent in the long term. At Watershed, residents live together in a small, highly structured “therapeutic community” with a supportive team of professional counsellors and staff. Watershed treats the misuse of alcohol and other drugs as symptomatic of underlying personal problems. These problems must be addressed to successfully overcome dependence in the long term. Clients work to change any negative attitudes and values, confront the reasons why they resorted to drug misuse and learn strategies for dealing with the ups and downs of daily life.

Q: What kind of program is best for me?

A: A variety of options exist and you can choose the best one for you. A brief episode of withdrawal followed by counselling might be the best option for one person. Another may need longer withdrawal, a few months in residential rehabilitation, assistance with employment, training or education and accommodation support. Someone else may be best suited to supported accommodation, participation in a self help group and longer term family counselling.

Q: How long is the program?

A: The full program is 4 weeks duration plus the detoxification period if applicable (usually 1-2 weeks depending on what a client is withdrawing from).

Q: How do I get into the program?

A: Clients must firstly submit the 'Get Help Now' form or personally call the Watershed to undertake a phone assessment. All clients are assessed individually to determine the program’s suitability in meeting their needs. Some clients may be referred to a more suitable treatment option. Clients are then placed on a waiting list whilst any necessary reports (eg. medication proformas, psychological reports) are sought. After all necessary reports are obtained clients are offered the next available bed. Face to face assessments are sometimes necessary and clients would be informed if this needed to occur prior to admission.

Q: How long does it take to get into the program?

A: Waiting list times vary due to the availability of beds and the reciept of medical/psychological and other assessment reports. Waiting times vary for each cient, however, Watershed staff make every effort to minimise client waiting times.

Q: What are the costs involved?

A: 15-17 years of age – $189 per week. 18-21 years of age – $217 per week. 21 years+ – $252 per week. Note: This does not cover costs such as medication, phone calls, and other personal needs.

Q: Does Watershed accept people on medications?

A: Watershed does accept residents that have pre-existing medication requirements. All medications are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Q: Can I change/cease my medication (not withdrawal medication) whilst in the program?

A: Usually the answer is No. It is preferable to see to your Doctor about changing any medications prior to admission and you must be stable on medications that have been changed.

Q: What if I have court to attend whilst in the program?

A: Clients are encouraged to have all court matters adjourned whilst in the program. Clients will not be permitted to take day leave for court purposes.

Q: What personal items do I need to bring?

A: Clients need only to bring a medium size bag of clothing only. Other personal items such as soap, shampoo etc. can be supplied. All food (including tea/coffee) is supplied. Clients will not be permitted to bring in their own food. Arrangements are made by staff for clients with special dietary considerations.

Q: Can I bring my mobile phone/Ipod/mp3 player or laptop?

A: No

Q: Is there a dress code?

A: Yes. Because proper dress and respect for oneself is an important aspect of recovery, we require all of our residents to abide by our dress code.

Q: Can I make phone calls during my stay?

A: Clients are allowed one personal phone call per week. An additional phone call is permitted for clients with dependent children under 18 years of age. Clients are permitted to make other phone calls in conjunction with their caseworker to arrange aftercare options or personal needs. Family and friends are able to call and leave messages for clients but they cannot call and speak to them directly.

Q: Can I write/receive letters during my stay?

A: Yes. Clients are encouraged to write and receive letters from friends and family throughout the program.

Q: Can I leave the grounds whilst undertaking the program?

A: No. The program is strictly residential and clients are not permitted to leave the grounds without supervision under any circumstances.

Q: Can I get overnight or day leave?

A: No. Leave is not permitted

Q: Can I have visitors?

A: No family/friend visits are allowed during your stay at the Watershed, as we find that clients find it easier to focus on their recovery without visits. However, you may be allowed a visit from your caseworker/youth worker/aboriginal health worker/religious officer if it is therapeutically useful. This has to be negotiated with your caseworker.

Q: Can I have a car while in treatment?

A: No. Clients participating in the residential rehabilitation program are not permitted to have a car.

Q: Will I have my own bedroom?

A: Clients usually share rooms with other clients. This helps to orientate the person to the program, and improve social interaction.

Q: Am I able to work whilst in the program?

A: No. The program is strictly residential and clients are not permitted to leave the premises for any purpose. Clients would need to make alternate arrangements (eg. annual/sick leave) with any employer prior to admission.

Q: Can I make appointments for when I leave program?

A:Yes. Clients are encouraged to put arrangements in place for appointments to take place upon leaving the program.


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Watershed acknowledges the traditional custodians of country and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future.

Watershed holds accreditation with the Australian Council on Health Care Standards (ACHS).

Formerly: Wollongong Crisis Centre

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