The Retreat NZ Revealed as the Most Toxic Rehab Facility in New Zealand

A residential treatment facility known as The Retreat NZ and A Place to Be may be found in the Thuhu neighborhood of Auckland, New Zealand. It used to be a nursing home before it started acting as if it was a center for drug and alcohol treatment. People still go there, and when they leave, they might as well be dead — but we will discuss the deaths in a later section.

Because they are making an effort to conceal the fact that the establishment is filthy and in disrepair, their website does not contain any photographs of the rooms or the facilities. At The Retreat, there is consistently a problem with mold, maggots, flies, ants, and other vermin. Even something as straightforward as replacing a toilet seat can take as long as two weeks, during which time they will install the new seat. If you do end up going to The Retreat, please don’t forget to bring your own toilet paper because they don’t replace the 1-ply dunny roll very frequently and they don’t pay much attention to maintaining it!

Do not let yourself be misled by the stock photographs that are displayed on their website. They advertise The Retreat as a cozy private rehabilitation center, yet nothing could be further from the truth. The location is filthy, has been abandoned, and absolutely needs to be razed. They do not employ anyone to provide upkeep, and their cleaner is occasionally absent for several days at a time. The deteriorating buildings they rent cost them approximately $6,000 per week to rent out. That is a drop in the bucket for them. If the money keeps coming in, then the filthy condition of the location is of no concern to them at all. At The Retreat, where making money is the first priority, the customers of their inmates’ businesses are completely ignored.

The Programme

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The 30-day residential alcohol program at The Retreat New Zealand brings people from all over the country into a dangerous and uncaring atmosphere.

Even though AA is free and there is proof that it doesn’t work for most people who try it, The Retreat NZ’s main service is to introduce people to 12-step dogma. Their main form of treatment is sending people to 12-step groups.

Their method is very simple: they just tell you to read the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book and drive you to AA and NA meetings. Most of the groups are run by volunteers who come in once a week and talk about the same parts in their big blue bibles. The Retreat tries to get as many people as possible to lead groups so that they don’t have to pay staff for their time and pay them a wage. They often have people in Sober Living come in to talk about their experiences, strengths, and hopes.

The drug program at Retreats Crystal Clear isn’t even a program. There is nothing for the course. The method involves reading and answering the questions in The Green and Gold Narcotics Anonymous book for 6 weeks. Some of the “therapy” methods used by the Crystal Clear program are controversial, like calling the people they work with every name in the book until they “crack.” The meth program is just a pricey way to find out about Narcotics Anonymous. Buy a NA step working plan and do it yourself to save six weeks and $16,000.

One client, a woman, spoke up and said that one of the facilitators made her feel uncomfortable and “creeped out” when he tried to get her to move into his house. He would always message her outside of work hours to try to get her to leave the Sober Living program at The Retreat and move in with him.

A group of people who work on digital marketing wrote the material for the Retreats website. It is said that they spend more than $20,000 per month on marketing. Don’t let yourself be tricked into thinking that this place is more than just an introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

The Retreat has made a lot of money off of the 12 Steps of AA/NA. They make a lot of money by getting people who use drugs to join the free fellowships of AA and NA.

The Retreat NZ says that they only hire people who have been sober for more than two years. There are a lot of people on work who haven’t been clean for more than 6 months. Two months ago, a member of staff used methamphetamine and booze again. A month later, The Retreat hired them back. Not to add that they were caught sleeping with another client at the same time!

The Retreat NZ does not meet the requirements in New Zealand for government support. People don’t think of the 12-step program as a good way to treat addiction because it doesn’t work for everyone. Evidence shows that AA only helps 5–10% of people, which isn’t much better than not getting any help at all.

The book below is “their program” for The Retreat NZ. You can buy a copy or get it for free here.

Almost all of the information they use for their groups is stolen from other recovery websites and printed out. They don’t have any of their own work.

After two weeks in the program, guests always seem to wonder why they paid over $10,000 to listen to volunteer speakers, do yoga once a week, read text from the Alcoholics Anonymous big book, and be driven to free AA and NA meetings.

The Retreat NZ is a complete and total rip-off.

Relapsing at The Retreat

Most drug and alcohol rehab centers have a “zero tolerance” policy for clients who go back to using drugs or alcohol. Things are a little different at The Retreat NZ. You can relapse as many times as you want, but each time you do, you have to pay a $5,000 fine and go back to the main program for two weeks. The Retreat NZ only cares about money. They don’t care if you relapse because they’ll still get paid.

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Some clients who have slipped more than six times are greeted with open arms when they come back. Even more so if mom and dad are paying for their “treatment.” These people who keep slipping back into old habits not only get a free pass to come back, but The Retreat may even hire them. Some people have one set of rules, and everyone else has a different set.

If you fail in sober living, which happens almost every week, there are two things that can happen. You can stay at “Retreat” for $5,000 or leave for two weeks. Most people with court orders will pay the $5,000 fine so that the Courts, Police, or Corrections don’t find out and they don’t have to go back to jail.

This will depend on whether or not they like you. When they want to get rid of you, they’ll just kick you out without telling you why. Because in the words of the CEO…

“We don’t need to tell you why”


When you first get to The Retreat, you’ll notice that a lot of people are wearing bands that can be tracked electronically. You could be forgiven for thinking they are customers, but some staff members are also wearing them.

As of April 2022, two people who worked for The Retreat NZ had claims going on in the New Zealand courts. One was in jail for having enough methamphetamine to sell, and the other just got a sentence of almost 4 years for having guns and serious meth supply charges. These are the kinds of people The Retreat hires to help take care of the most defenseless people in society.

The scariest thing about this so-called rehab is that one of the counselors is a convicted sex criminal. This person was just let out of jail about three years ago for sexually assaulting more than one woman. This is not a rumor or an accusation; it’s a fact. Sensitive Claims clients of ACC get paid to go to The Retreat NZ for “treatment,” where they end up sitting in groups or individual therapy sessions with this person and having to talk about their own sexual abuse. When clients find out that this person has been convicted before, they feel like they’ve been hurt again. This staff member is not allowed to work with women alone, but The Retreat has no problem with them talking to guys who have been sexually assaulted.

This “counselor” doesn’t show up on any online search tools, like The New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

A client said that this staff member had talked to her on Facebook Messenger and told her that they would make a great mom. Then he said, “Please don’t tell anyone that I sent you a message.”

The man works at The Retreat NZ, which is known to both the Department of Corrections and the Police. ACC also knows about this The Retreat NZ employee who was found guilty of a sex crime. They have told me that they are looking into some of the major claims that have been made in a formal way.

At The Retreat NZ, there aren’t a lot of qualifications. Just recently, they offered a “peer support course” to present guests who might want to become “Retreat Assistants.” A guest who had just used drugs a few days before signing up for the course relapsed and was kicked out of the program.

Only one or two of the counselors at The Retreat have been trained. The rest are just regular drinkers and addicts who still have a lot of bad traits. Employing recovering addicts and alcoholics is much better for The Retreat’s bank account than hiring trained, skilled staff.

To be fair, though, it doesn’t take a mind to read “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous over and over again for 30 days.

Inappropriate Client and Staff Relationships

This “counselor” does not appear on online search engines like The New Zealand Association of Counsellors.

A client said this staff member contacted her on Facebook Messenger stating they would make a great mom. “Please don’t tell anyone that I’ve messaged you,” he added.

The Police and Corrections know this man works at The Retreat NZ. The Retreat NZ employee’s sex conviction is known to ACC. They told me they’re investigating some of the severe complaints.

The Retreat NZ lacks qualifications. They recently provided a “peer support course” to guests who may become “Retreat Assistants”. A guest who had used methamphetamine days previously relapsed and was expelled from the program.

The Retreat’s counselors are mostly untrained alcoholics and addicts. The Retreat makes more money by hiring recovering addicts and alcoholics than skilled, certified workers.

However, reading “The Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous for 30 days doesn’t require genius.

Sober Living Program

When clients finish the Primary program, The Retreat sends them to “sober living homes,” which are often overcrowded, unregulated rental houses where drug and alcohol use is common.

The Retreat NZ’s clean living program costs $320 per week for a room the size of a dog kennel. It will cost you an extra $160 if you want meals to be included. The Retreat NZ does not own any of its sober living homes. Instead, they rent the homes, which are often in bad shape, from an owner and make money from them.

“Sober Living” is the furthest thing from the truth. The amount of methamphetamine that goes through these sober places is crazy. Many guests have been caught selling drugs on the property more than once. Some of them were given warnings, while others were kicked out of the program. It depends on who you are and whether or not they like you.

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Most of the time, these events or crimes aren’t reported to the police or corrections because The Retreat will do anything to protect its reputation in court. A good amount of their money comes from criminals.

Staff at The Retreat have often known that someone was high on methamphetamine and let them stay in the community until they had “come down.” They were still around other people who lived there. There have been a lot of guests at The Retreat who had never been around drugs before they came to The Retreat.

Even if someone hasn’t used drugs, a simple accusation that they have is enough “proof” to get them kicked out of the school. They want as many beds as possible to be free so that they can run their main program. If they can replace a guest in a sober living facility with a main guest, it’s much better for their finances.

One person who was living in a clean house went back to using methamphetamine. After a week, they thought it would be a good idea to send them to their sober living house around the corner. You guessed it! The same week, they did it again.

The Retreat NZ has a bad habit of putting people in one of their sober living homes and then forgetting about them. They will only talk to someone in sober living if they don’t pay their rent on time.

Drug Testing

The Retreat, like most other rehabs, does “random” drug tests. It can be done with either a swab test or a pee test that is watched.

One good thing for people who have been to court is that The Retreat NZ rarely tells the police about a positive result, which could lead to a violation for that person. They have often turned a blind eye to people who went back to using drugs.

If you go to The Retreat, you should know that every month or so, drug-sniffing dogs will do a check. This is sometimes followed by a visit from a company that tests for drugs and swabs you in their cars. If the swab test shows that you have HIV, they will take a sample of your pee and send it away to be tested.

The tests on pee The Retreat can sometimes be used in a very wrong way. Putting out fake positives. You can complain all you want, but if they want to get rid of you, they will just kick you out.

Complaints have been made about a certain staff member who is in charge of watching men urinate into a drug test bottle and gives them a lot of “attention.” The person in charge has been told about this worker’s curious behavior.

EM Bail and Home Detention Clients

People in remand bars all over New Zealand know that they should get in touch with The Retreat if they want a “get out of jail free card.”

The Retreat says they won’t work with anyone who has been convicted of violence, sexual abuse, or being in a gang. The Retreat has helped people who have been convicted of murder and other very serious crimes.

But that shouldn’t surprise you when they hire sex offenders and drug sellers.

Several members of gangs have been in the program at The Retreat. Some of them were let out on parole to The Retreat, and others were on sentences that were watched by technology.

If an EM Bail client or a client with present court restrictions breaks their bail by failing a drug test, The Retreat will do everything it can not to tell the police. They don’t want the courts to hurt their good name.

The Retreat NZ loves the money that meth dealers give them, and they don’t mind taking it. At The Retreat NZ, people often hand stacks of cash to the desk.

Without a doubt, the money is from a crime.

If a client is on an electronic monitoring term, The Retreat NZ charges them an extra $5,000.

As long as you have money, they don’t care if you have a criminal record or are in a gang.

Social Detox

The Retreat charges $1,000 per day for a program called “social detox.”

If a new client has been drinking in the last few days, which is almost always the case, the staff will try to get them to go to the social rehab room.

This service isn’t run by a doctor or other medical worker. Instead, they usually ask one of their sober living residents to watch over the detox. This saves them money because they can just take the money off the $320 rent of the Sober Living client.

Some new guests have been scared by the fact that thieves are in charge of their detox. People who are on home arrest or EM Bail often forget about the detox.

When a client comes to The Retreat NZ social detox, staff will give them valium without a prescription from a doctor. They don’t have any people with medical training. They will either use diazepam that they already have on hand or “borrow” it from the medicine box of another client.

This is a crime.

There have been many times when a person who was going through social detox needed a medical detox. Some people have had very bad withdrawal symptoms, but The Retreat doesn’t care because they can get even more money out of a weak person that way. For every day they keep someone in rehab, they get an extra $1,000.

There have been times when people in rehab have been forgotten, which meant that they didn’t get their medicine or lunch, or dinner.

If you want a free social or medical detox in Auckland, you should go to either The Auckland City Mission or Pitman House.

  • Auckland City Mission’s “Social Detox”: 09-303-3008
  • Medical Detox at Pitman House 09-845-1818
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Mental health

This text has information about hurting yourself and killing yourself. The advice to readers is to be careful.

The Retreat only has a few trained psychologists working there. The rest of the staff are either alcoholics or former users. Even though they say they only hire people who have been clean and sober for at least two years, some of these people don’t even have a year under their belts.

One of the teachers at The Retreat is a PRISONER FOR SEX CRIME. This person works with men in private, one-on-one meetings. They also run groups once a week for both men and women clients. This person didn’t get out of jail until about three years ago. This guy may have been sober longer than a lot of the other staff, but his convictions for sexual assault happened just a few years ago. This person talks to men who have PTSD because of sexual abuse and helps them deal with it.

The Retreat NZ knows very well what this person believes.

In the past few years, there have been a number of cases of self-harm at The Retreat. More than once, one person cut their wrists. You would think that if someone tried to hurt themselves or kill themselves for the first time, they would be sent to a mental health facility that could deal with such a major problem. Instead, they just let that person back into the group right away. Shortly after that, the same person cut their wrists and passed out. They were taken by paramedics to the hospital, where they were treated for their serious injuries.

The Retreat only took the person out of the program at that point.

Several clients of Retreat NZ have killed themselves after leaving The Retreat. One client left The Retreat and killed themselves just a few days later. The Retreat kept this a secret and didn’t tell many of their clients about it. The Retreat did not tell any of the dead person’s current clients or friends about funeral or memorial plans.


One big problem with The Retreat is that they don’t help their clients after they leave. Once you leave, you are no longer useful to them because you are no longer giving them money.

The Retreat has said that their healing rates of 60% to 70% are the best in all of New Zealand. This seems to be made up. We’d like to know where they got that number because from what we’ve seen, the opposite seems to be much more true: over 60% of people who go through The Retreat end up going back to using drugs.


The Retreat NZ can be dangerous and mean.

At The Retreat NZ, there have been several violent events, and the people who did them seem to get away with it.

One afternoon, a staff member hit a client in the face and wasn’t told off for it.

Another friend punched another customer in the head several times. The staff didn’t seem to care when they were told. All they did was write it down in their log. The person who did wrong didn’t get in trouble, and management tried to act like it never happened. In this case, it’s important to know that the attacker was sent to The Retreat on bail after being charged with major violent crimes.

Clinical staff have yelled and screamed at clients many times, saying that it was part of their treatment.

The Retreat NZ is nothing like the safe place they say it is.


The Primary Programs cover all three meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll have to make your own food, and you can choose from toast, cereal, or eggs. Most clients end up getting their own breakfast because these basics seem to run out quickly.

Lunch and dinner are not always good. Sometimes it’s absolutely wonderful, and other times it’s deep-fried, undercooked garbage you wouldn’t feed your dog. The kitchen is a real health danger, and it’s surprising that so many people can eat there.

During the summer, flies are everywhere in the house and the area around it. There is always dirt on the floors. Cutlery and plates are never cleaned properly and are covered in filth. The mismatched plates and bowls look like they were bought in the 1990s from a Salvation Army thrift store. There are spots on the tablecloths that have been there for about 15 years. There aren’t many things to clean with. People always leave food on the bench. Food is left out in the open in the fridge, and some cooks don’t know how to handle food properly.

Vegans and vegetarians always have something bad to say about the food they are given. There is always a vegan salad, and falafel is another choice for vegetarians and vegans. Sometimes, but not often, a veggie quiche is made. They say they can meet all food needs, but we have yet to see if this is true.

The Alcohol Drug Helpline gives professional help and information in a friendly, nonjudgmental way. If you are worried about how much you drink or use drugs, they can give you information, advice, and help.

If you are a family member, friend, or worker who is worried about someone else, the Alcohol and Drug Helpline can help you and that person come up with plans.

On their Helpline services page, you can find information about all of their services, including those for Mori, Pacific people, Youth, Work and Income clients, and people who are affected by methamphetamine use. You can look at a list of people who offer services in your area. They can also send you a lot of helpful written information. You can also find out what happens when you call the Helpline and what kinds of help we can send you.

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Calls to the Helpline are always free and kept secret. You can stay anonymous if you wish. Their counselors will listen to you and help you figure out what changes you want to make and what steps you can take to make them happen. If you have a long way to go to get better, they can walk with you as you make small changes in your life. If they can’t give you all the help you need, it’s their job to put you in touch with services that can.

The Health Promotion Agency and the Ministry of Health pay for the Helpline, which is run by Homecare Medical.

Drug Dealing

As was already said, The Retreat is a paradise for drug users. A lot of customers come right out of jail, and it only takes them a few weeks to start selling again.

A staff member who no longer works at The Retreat NZ was caught giving his then-girlfriend to a guest there. His ex-girlfriend now lives off-site at a clean living house and is in a relationship with another staff member. A few days later, the same staff member who sold the drugs to the guest tested the guest for drugs. When the test came back positive, the guest was kicked out of the program right away.

People have made up stories about the reasons why a person in the Auckland area runs Narcotics Anonymous groups. High-ranking members of some groups have said that they are using their recovery to hide the fact that they are also selling drugs.

Police have searched the Retreat before and found drugs, guns, and cooking tools. The police still check on bail every week for Retreat clients.

If you’re lucky, you might even be able to buy a bag of Botox from one of the employees who runs a secret filler business on the side.

Alcoholics Anonymous Success Rate

The success rate of AA is somewhere between 5 and 10 percent, according to a large body of data. Because it’s not widely known, it seems like most people don’t know that. … Some studies have said that they can prove scientifically that AA is helpful. These studies are full of scientific mistakes and don’t tell us anything new. We already knew that AA has one of the lowest success rates in all of medicine.

Not only does AA only work 5–10% of the time, but if it worked sometimes and didn’t work at all the other times, we’d say it was fine. But it hurts the other 90% of people who don’t do well. And there are many important reasons why it’s bad. One of them is that everyone thinks AA is the best way to treat alcoholism. AA says that it is never wrong. If you don’t do well in AA, you’ve failed.

AA is mostly a faith program, and its main idea is that people can’t control their drinking problems on their own and must “turn their lives and will over to God”

Service at The Retreat

As was already said, Retreat NZ does not pay anyone to do maintenance. Instead, they depend on sober living guests to cut the grass, drive people to meetings, and sometimes cook, clean, and mow the lawns. They do this to save money, and The Retreat sees the “service” as a thank-you for giving them a place to stay.

They expect each sober living guest to do one hour of work per week. The Retreat NZ is laughing all the way to the bank because they get free labor and charge $320.00 for a small room the size of a shoebox.

The Business of Recovery

The Retreat NZ takes advantage of the most vulnerable people in society by making them a lot of claims and stealing millions of dollars while giving them a bad program in a very dangerous and unsafe place. Anyone can go to free AA and NA groups to learn about the 12 Steps.


The Retreat USA

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The Retreat NZ Warkworth

The Retreat NZ has recently acquired a property in Warkworth, north of Auckland to use as a treatment centre. The same staff and management team will be running the show. Their 30 day alcohol programme will be run from this location where as the meth programme will be run from their current Otahuhu slum.

Neighbours to this property in Warkworth have already started to object to The Retreat NZ running their “treatment” racket in their small country town. Letters had been sent to neighbouring properties making them aware of who their new neighbours could potentially be.

If you are a neighbour of this property and received the warning letter. Please take the time to read over this website.

Our Mission

The purpose of this post is to warn people of what to expect if they or a family member become a client at this facility.

We have protected the identity of clients and staff members, however in formal complaints these people have been named in full.

This post was created by past clients of The Retreat who wanted to speak out in regard to the toxic culture. Trying to raise concerns to management at The Retreat always seems to fall on deaf ears

A Place To Be Rehab Otahuhu

The current counselor at A Place to Be is a convicted sex offender who was only released from prison a few years ago. The place is run by criminals for criminals.

Fake Google Reviews

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If you look at A Place to Be or The Retreat NZ on Google, most of the reviews are by fake people who only have 1 review on their profile. Or the reviews are made by current staff members.

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