Houghton House Reviews, Cost, Complaints

Houghton House


Houghton HouseHoughton House Review

Houghton House is a 12-step oriented rehab in Ferndale, Guateng, South Africa, a suburb of Randburg just northwest of Johannesburg and a fairly large city of 330,000 people. Houghton first opened in 1995 as a small halfway house. The original program, taken straight from famous rehab Hazelden’s Minnesota Model (the UK’s most accepted recovery model at the time), was started in 1996.

Accommodations and Food

The facility at Houghton is undeniably beautiful. The two programs are separated by Intensive Care Program and GAP (General Addiction Program), but are both in Ferndale. Houghton House is, unsurprisingly, more house-like than hospital-like. The rooms all have twin-sized beds, hardwood floors, individual bedside tables with reading lamps, extra blankets and thick curtains with views of a lush and green lawn next to the pool. Everyone has a roommate in the intensive care program and on-site.

At GAP, the facility looks like a country home. The simple but pleasant house sits on a massive lawn. There’s a communal garden and swimming pool and the rooms are similar to the ones in the intensive care program facilities. There’s also a TV lounge with satellite that’s available for use during any downtime.

A nutritionist designs the food menu, which leans more towards organic with vegetables and salads than cafeteria but chocolate and cold drinks are available at an on-site coffee shop.

Treatment and Staff

The treatment at Houghton House is 12-step based but also provides support for dual diagnosis clients and offers on-site detox. The 28-to-42 day intensive care program’s aim is to set a foundation of recovery for the clients leap back into the world. Their daily program includes exercise, group therapy, lectures and written assignments, individual therapy and family counseling. It also includes two off-site 12-step meetings and two on-site meetings, AA and NA respectively. Clients aren’t required to get sponsors but it is highly suggested

In GAP, residents are required to get sponsors because they must do step five in order to complete the program. GAP is a month-to-month program, though the facility recommends a three-month stay. The main difference between GAP and the intensive care program is in length and intensity. In both program, clients attend two group therapy sessions a day and have one one-on-one counseling session a week.

There are 10 staff members at both programs and they are highly credentialed from MD, MA Psych to MBBCh, FCPsych (SA), MaCC and Bachelors in Social Services.

The schedule at Houghton means waking up and getting dressed for breakfast at 8 am. Morning mediation, reading, lectures or therapy sessions are from 9 am to noon. At 12 pm, clients help clean up and do their chores (or “duties”), followed by lunch from 1 to 2 pm. After that, residents attend lectures and workshops until 4 pm. From 4 to 5:45 pm, it’s 12-step work time and then dinner is at 6 pm. At 7, clients go to an AA or NA meeting or another lecture. Between 8:30 and 9 pm is free time and lights out is at 11 pm.


Exercise is built into the program and that includes hiking, white water rafting, military-style boot camp, kettle bell workouts and volleyball. There’s an on-site gym as well as a yoga teacher that comes in from a local studio. Clients also go on walks every day and have personal trainers in GAP. In the summertime, if the weather permits, there are plenty of hikes. There’s also a pool at both residences.

Clients also volunteer at the nearby Princess Alice Adoption Home, reading to and spending time with the children there.

In addition, there’s a family program, which is designed not only for family members but also for close friends of clients. These meetings take place one night a week and Houghton also offers a one-day intensive family program held at Houghton’s outpatient center, First Step, in Sandton, Johannesburg one Saturday a month from 9 am to 3 pm. Both family programs include group therapy sessions and educational lectures from the counselors, social workers and counseling psychologists.

In Summary

Anyone looking for a 12-step based rehab in South Africa would be well served by Houghton House. The highly credentialed staff, dual-diagnosis treatment, solid family program and on-site medical detox place it above the rest.

Houghton House Location

432 York Ave
Randburg, 2194, South Africa
011 +27 11 787 9142

Houghton House Cost

Houghton House Cost: Intensive Care Program R40,000 [$3,676.62 per publishing day exchange rate] (28 days), GAP R28,000 [$2,573.64 per publishing day exchange rate] (30 days). Reach Houghton House by phone at 011-27-11-787-9142. Find Houghton House on Twitter or Facebook

Do you have a complaint or review of Houghton House to add? Use the comments area below to add your Houghton House review.



  1. It was September 11th, 2017, I sat in the passenger seat of my mom’s car as she drove me to rehab, watching the cars and people go by. I was so numb, so dead inside and yet two emotions kept on trying to surface – the idea that I wouldn’t have to fight anymore to get my fix and anger – anger at being stopped, anger at ever having started.

    I was confused, disorientated, lost. My mom kept on crying, asking questions, blaming me, blaming herself, blaming the world. I lashed out to stop her from talking, to stop the horrible and cruel voices inside – the sounds were too loud too invasive.

    I knew I couldn’t stop using on my own, I knew I could no longer live with drugs and I knew I could no longer live without them – I knew in all my arrogance, in all my vanity – I knew nothing – especially not how to live. As we drove up to the rehab, I made myself one promise – to live I would have to follow everything they said, everything I was told – if I wanted a chance at life any chance at all I would take it, I would fight for it and I would do anything.

    Driving into Houghton House, my new home for a while, the one ever-present deep green tree stood out. A lone tree in the middle of the parking lot, a part of but separate – kind of how I live my life. It would be for me a symbol of the past. A part of me I would say goodbye to and never return to. After I had been admitted, I sat on the bench overlooking this idyllic garden that slopes down towards the pool, and for the first time in over a year,r I could acknowledge something beautiful…. I had no idea of the powerful journey I was to embark on, no idea on the gift Houghton House was about to give me.

    The journey, the foundation took 7 weeks. I could write a book on that alone …. maybe for another time. For now, I will highlight a few life-altering events.
    The first thing I learned was the deep denial I lived under – I believed my actions were good, that I wasn’t hurting anyone but myself – the counsellors help me see that all I was doing was hiring people, including myself. They showed me in powerful ways that these were the actions of a sick person, not a bad person. They showed me the nature of my disease and the fact that I was joy alone in it – contrary to what every toxic thought told me. They broke my denial, painful layer by painful layer. They laid me bare, vulnerable and raw. All the lies I wove to protect my addiction were peeled away until there was nothing left. I got shown the naked me, hidden by over a decade of drug usage. Then they tended my wounds, they helped me with scars where I needed them, they helped me nurture and they helped me rebuild. One day at a time they showed me how to live, how to be.

    Houghton House didn’t just halt my drug addiction , they ripped away the lies and helped me find myself – they gave me myself back and a program on how to live , not just an existence without drugs – but a life of serenity , a life of purpose , a life of growth , a life worth living .

    Frightened I reentered the world, scared of how I would survive even a single day out of the protective walls of HH, but the counsellors helped me plan, gave me the guidelines which I stuck to religiously. One day a time, make sure I do the next right thing, go to meetings, get a sponsor, do service, help the newcomer.

    Well for the first year I did a meeting every single day with a few exceptions. I made new friends in recovery, I surrounded myself with the principles of recovery and the 12 step fellowship I belonged to.

    The counsellors said they couldn’t promise I wouldn’t use again but that they had given me the tools to make it my choice. And I chose every day to stay clean, I chose to make the company I kept to be of wholesome and life directed values. They said life would be life and I had to accept life on its own terms, do what I can, and when the choices were out of my control – to surrender.

    I am just a little over 7 years clean now. My life has had its up and downs. There have been times when the pain was unbearable, there have been times when the joy was so bountiful I thought my heart would burst – never once in of those moments did my mind ever go to the thought of using. I once couldn’t go for more than ten minutes without thinking about drugs, now my thoughts are filled with things of life – from the mundane to the extraordinary – all spectacular.

    I am now at a place in my life where the gifts of recovery are clicking together beautifully.
    – I have mended all the damaged relationships which are stronger than ever
    – I have formed new and healthy relationships
    – I am a person who can be trusted and I value that trust more than all the worldly positions
    – My relationship with family improves with every day, sometimes slowly but always forward.
    – I have found the love of my life, I finally am in a relationship I have dreamed of but never thought would be a reality.
    – My connection with my higher power is stronger than I ever thought it would be.
    – I am in a job I actually like going to and am actually contributing to. It’s good to be productive.
    – But above all this, I have finally found me. I am forming a deep relationship with myself, I have learned to be honest with myself and to be faithful to myself – this gift is beyond all because with it I can have everything else.

    Houghton House taught me that anything I put before my recovery I would lose, for without my recovery I would have nothing. And living each day, choosing to be clean, I have a life, a life filled with many choices and so many promises.

    And the worst thing is, it wasn’t the just the addiction they helped me fix, it was an emptiness I had all my life that I filled with drugs, now I fill it with purpose and direction.

    My name is Jonty, and I am a grateful Addict.

  2. Richard John Howson on

    After leaving South Africa in Feb17 to relocate to Cyprus, Maria Celeste Howson, a former patient of yours, started drinking in Apr18 which put her in hospital, here in Cyprus. She started treatment here for depression, but on the evening of Sunday 17Jun18, entered our pool and drowned.
    I wish to thank you for the support your team gave to Celeste and myself during our time in South Africa.

Leave A Reply

About Author

The largest and most trusted rehab review site in the world.