Bespoke Treatment for Addictive Disorders
Sporting Chance is the only charity of its kind to treat sports personalities for addictive disorders - specifically problematic behaviour relating to alcohol, gambling and substance misuse. We understand the world of high-level, high-profile sport and how addictive behaviour affects both those competing within it and those who have struggled to adapt to life following the end of their sporting career. Whether an active professional or in retirement, Sporting Chance has helped hundreds men and women across a range of team and individual sporting disciplines who have experienced difficulties with addiction.
Our residential treatment programme was established in the year 2000 as the primary function of Sporting Chance. The programme has a proven track record in encouraging sportspeople to look at their problems both personal and professional, and, under the expert guidance of our experienced team in an atmosphere of understanding and strict anonymity, address the underlying causes linked to their addictive behaviours. As the flagship service of an organisation established by a top level sportsman for the benefit of other sporting professionals, Sporting Chance's residential treatment programme has been designed to treat athletes and former athletes suffering from the illness of addiction and to help them either to return both physically and mentally fit to the sport at which they excel or to move on the next phase of their lives.
Our relationship with a client only starts when they are ready, and they either pick up the phone or drop us an email to ask for our help. We always invite clients to attend a short clinical assessment, to discuss their own concerns and their current situation and look at the potential ways in which we can support them to move forward. Our aim is to tailor the care we provide to each individual sportsperson on a case by case basis, and residential treatment is only one of a number of options available. Some clients may decide to try other services that we offer, such as one-to-one counselling or further assessment by our consultant psychiatrist and in certain situations, accept a referral to an affiliated service to address issues that lay outside of our focused addiction remit. It is important to stress that certain ancillary issues, including specific mental health conditions, need to be brought under control before we can commence any form of addiction therapy. However, for many sporting professionals or former professionals who contact us each year concerned about their relationship with alcohol, gambling or other drugs, joining our residential treatment programme is the appropriate next step for them to access the help that they need.
More About the Programme
We offer a 26-day residential programme in a caring and supportive environment at our clinic within the grounds of Forest Mere where our clients can begin the journey of recovery from addiction. Living in a shared house, we ask that they commit to a seven day a week compulsory programme which incorporates an established, professionally recognised recovery model. As we accept only a small number people at any one time for residential treatment, our dedicated staff are able to give clients the attention and understanding they need. The treatment we offer is designed to treat a sportsperson's mind, body and spirit. As a clinic set up exclusively for those who play or have played sport we believe that by working with our clients intensively across all three of these areas we can achieve our mutual goal - enabling and empowering individuals to make lasting changes in their lives and for many of our active professionals, completing a full transition back into the daily routine of elite competition.
Mental & Spiritual Care
The mental aspect of the programme focuses on self-defeating behaviour patterns. Our treatment plan is designed to help the individual understand how these patterns have contributed to a downward spiral affecting every aspect of their lives, from their relationships through to their sporting performance. Our programme for recovery from addictions is based on the widely used 12-step philosophy (originally created by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous but since adopted to treat a range of issues including gambling and drug addiction) and attendance at 12-step meetings is an integral part of treatment. Self-reflection, written work and clients' support for one another also play an important part in an individual accepting the reality of their addiction and beginning the process of changing the thinking and behaviour that has supported it. As well as individual one-to-one counselling and group work, our clients can access a range of complementary therapies including forms of meditation and Equine Assisted Therapy that experience has shown us can accelerate mental rehabilitation and for those for whom it is an option, a full return to the sporting arena.
Physical Training & Conditioning
We also understand that for many of those who join our residential programme, maintaining or regaining a high level of physical fitness alongside mental and spiritual rehabilitation can be vitally important. Many are highly motivated to get back to the sport they love and have worked all their lives to be able to participate in on a professional basis. Every aspect of the set up at Sporting Chance is designed to give an athlete the best chance of returning to their club or their coach in optimal physical condition. We have a range of physical training programmes and courses of physiotherapy and massage delivered by highly qualified professionals, tailored to the needs of each client and the requirements of their chosen sport. All those on our residential programme will have full use of the gym, swimming pool, spa facilities and restaurant at the luxurious Champneys resort adjacent to our clinic in the grounds of Forest Mere. With the help of our care and guidance we have witnessed many clients over the past 15 years who have not only overcome their addiction, but who have gone on to enjoy prolonged and successful careers either in professional sport or in an entirely different walk of life.
The ideal outcome for the majority of clients who attend Sporting Chance is to return to their employer in peak physical shape and with the psychological tools at their disposal to continue in their recovery from addiction. However, our support does not end at the conclusion of their residential stay with us; each client is offered an aftercare programme on their return home which may involve ongoing one-to-one counselling provided locally or at Forest Mere. Additionally, our team are always available to offer telephone support or to arrange refresher visits to the clinic. We also recognise that an individual's addictions or other destructive behaviours will have had a negative effect on their families, loved ones and employers. Therefore, we seek to involve those close to the client in the recovery process wherever possible, and provide additional levels of support where needed.
How Do I Pay for Residential Treatment?
For individuals participating in professional football or rugby league, the cost of treatment at Sporting Chance is met by the PFA National Network and the Super League/Rugby Football League Welfare System. Sporting Chance welcomes (and frequently receives) enquiries from professionals operating in other sports, although any subsequent treatment would carry a small cost.