Reviews and Testimonials

Average Rating: 5.0 stars (based on 19 ratings)

“As a wife and working mother of a 3 year old, I thought my life was too busy and complicated to go into a 30 day residential treatment program – that on top of the fact that I wasn’t entirely convinced I needed to.”

I mean, sure I was drinking too much and my life was starting to become unmanageable, but rehab? I mean, that’s a bit extreme! Sure I haven’t been successful in controlling how much I drink, and yes, maintaining sobriety has been a struggle, but if I just worked harder…

And what could I possibly achieve in 30 days in there that I couldn’t just figure out on my own anyway… I’ve never been more happy to be proven wrong!

Since leaving The Sydney Retreat in August 2022, for the first time in my life I am looking to the future with optimism. Not only do I now truly understand the disease of alcoholism, but I have an effective program to support my sobriety.

The Sydney Retreat is much more than your average drugs and alcohol treatment centre. All staff and volunteers are part of the recovery community, and are there to support and guide you through the 12 step recovery program. There is truly no one better to support your recovery journey then those who have successfully walked the path before you.

I’m finding my inner peace, rebuilding my relationships, and making genuine connections with others. I can pause when agitated, let go of what I can’t control, and change my negative inner-dialogue. Despite my staunch atheism, I’ve discovered my own spirituality. I spent the better part of 20 years trying to achieve these things, and at some point I gave up and surrendered to a life of just “existing”.

I’ve since been offered the tools to live a happy and peaceful life and, for that, my family and I are indebted to The Sydney Retreat. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.

 – Lisa JP

“I look forward to my life in recovery. I’m excited about what I know I’m capable of. “

Thank you so much, John…

That was more than I was expecting. Your words of support and encouragement mean so much to me that I can’t even put them into words. Your program has transformed my thinking and my life. I will forever be grateful.

You and all your stuff are truly the definitions of AMAZING!!! Your method of education mixed with experience and knowledge is something I’ve never seen before. I’ve been to 2x rehabs before I made the decision to try The Sydney retreat and I can tell you without a doubt that I finally understand how to live my life as a happy productive citizen.

Thank you so much to every single staff member and to all the countless volunteers that you arrange to come in and talk and attended the meetings for my/our benefit.

May God bless everyone who walks in and out of the gates at The Sydney Retreat.

Forever Thankful

 – RR

“The Retreat showed me that a sober life is possible and how to do it.”

The Sydney Retreat completely changed my recovery. For the first time I feel I really understand the disease of addiction and can see the path forward. The Retreat showed me that a sober life is possible and how to do it. It is a testament to the power of one alcoholic helping another. I have since recommended it to people struggling with their addiction as well to people living sober but seeking a deeper understanding of the AA program.”

 – LN

“Life Changing Centre”

The Sydney Retreat is more than just a wonderful treatment centre, but a LIFE CHANGING centre. The 12 step program literally has saved my life when I had nothing left.

All of the staff truly care about your sobriety and wellbeing. Not to mention the COOK “who will remain anonymous” dishes out the best home cooked meals I have had in a very long time. Accommodation is modern and well kept. They even have a pet possum that greets you every night to say goodnight. I am truly grateful to the Sydney Retreat and everyone there for showing me the way to sobriety.”


“I now look forward to the future with some hope.”

“I was very grateful to spend 30 days at The Sydney Retreat (TSR) in April/May 2022. I had reached a low point in my struggle with addiction and while I was aware of the 12 Step Program, I had failed miserably to implement it into my life. The result prior to going into TSR was that my personal relationships were in tatters, my business relationships were going from bad to worse as I tried to hide my struggle, and I hated the person I had become through the course of my addiction.

I still have a long way to go, but after spending my time in TSR, I now look forward to the future with some hope. One day at a time I am slowly rebuilding trust with my family and my professional life is looking better and better each day. The staff at TSR were understanding and non-judgmental of my situation and were willing to share their own real-life experiences with me as I navigated a very rocky start to my recovery journey. The holistic approach which included an excellent healthy eating program, exercise and a tunnel vision approach to the Step Work have given me a new understanding of how to live.

I’ll be forever grateful to the TSR, the staff and the people who were a part of my time there.

 – JL

“Soul, Family and Community”

Abstaining from alcohol was just one gift I received by attending The Sydney Retreat. The real blessing is that you’re given the tools to find yourself, to re-engage with your soul, your family and your community.

I thought my defects were mine alone and that no one else understood me. How wrong I was, it turns out everyone in the retreat including the staff were just like me. I entered the retreat with one goal, to give up alcohol. I left the retreat a new person and with a new sense of belonging.”

 – DB

“The Sydney Retreat saved my life.”

“I wanted to stop drinking alcohol though no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. Year after year I was effectively drinking against my will. During my stay at the retreat a miracle happened. The obsession to drink alcohol was removed and I was supported to begin working the AA 12 step program. I’m happily sober now and with the support of other sober Alcoholics in AA I need never drink again. If Alcohol is costing you more than money and you want to stop, I highly recommend the program, and the kind people at The Sydney Retreat can help.”

 – DOM

Happy Family

The Sydney Retreat has been a godsend and blessing for my nephew, his parents, and our extended families. The initial one month of intensive input at The Sydney Retreat engaged him in a way that no other rehabilitation program has been able to do. He continues to be strongly connected to The Sydney Retreat community and has gained much strength, encouragement, and support from all associated with this community.

My nephew has constant communication with the people with whom he attended The Sydney Retreat. This has become a form of self-help group within which, my nephew tells me, each member feels safe to share, is understood, supported, and accepted.  The Sydney Retreat has also given my nephew a personal sponsor from whom he receives ongoing guidance.

Since being involved in the program, my nephew has stopped self-medicating with alcohol and drugs and, with the ongoing support of The Sydney Retreat community, is continuing to win the battle “one day at a time”.

In the four months since entering the program, my nephew’s personality has changed. He has become stronger in character and his empathy and concern for the needs and welfare of others has escalated. Thanks to The Sydney Retreat my nephew is now on a positive journey to rebuild his self-esteem, realise his potential, and become a valued member of society.

Thank you The Sydney Retreat staff for this excellent program that has had obvious life-changing benefits for our nephew.”


“The Sydney Retreat is different. It’s intimate and welcoming.”

“To go to The Sydney Retreat was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time. I’ve been to another rehab, and 2 other detox’s. They helped me stay sober for a while, but I couldn’t maintain sobriety. Life would happen & I would drink again. The Sydney Retreat is different. It’s intimate & welcoming. I was immersed in the 12 step fellowship (TSF) program from the moment I got there. I left The Sydney Retreat with the ability to pick up the pieces of my life that my drinking had broken. I am happy, healthy & sober. Without The Sydney Retreat I don’t think I would have fully understood TSF & could not be building the life I have today.

Miracles happen at The Sydney Retreat!”

   – KATIE

“Overwhelmed at the level of care and guidance she receives from your group.”

“Dear John,

Thank you for you call today following up on my daughter’s wellbeing after her recent stay at your facility.  I am very pleased to confirm that she is embracing her renewed wonder in her life and the possibilities she sees before her.  Apart from the continued contact your group has maintained with her she is also building on the benefit of a growing number of supportive and caring individuals in her local community.

With regard to myself I feel overwhelmed at the level of care and guidance she receives from your group and the wider network that you are engaged with.  As parents responding to a second flight north to pick our daughter up from an ED department we were bewildered as to what help we could secure for her to deal with her drug and alcohol use.  

Initial help came to us from a family member who put us in touch with one of their colleagues who had been through a detox and rehabilitation program who then referred us to a local lady who my daughter could speak with who she may be able to relate to.  This lady knew of your new beginnings and suggested we might like to speak with you and how you may be able to help.  As mentioned above we remain grateful for your care and guidance at The Sydney Retreat and the assistance given to us in finding you.

Best Regards”


“At the Retreat, I found hope”

“The Sydney Retreat has completely changed my life and without a doubt saved it. I had been suffering from addiction issues for the better part of 20 years and in mid 2021 was unable to stop drinking without a trip to a hospital detox unit. I left that detox unit and went straight to the Sydney Retreat. It was one of my only options as I did not have top tier health cover for a private facility.

I did not know what to expect, but at the Retreat I found hope. It is a smaller facility and has a homely feel, has great food and is a loving, supportive place to get well. Nothing is forced, it is a gentle program but you must be willing to do the work.

I met many amazing people who have become friends for life. I am nearly 5 months sober and I already have a life beyond my dreams, all the things that addiction took from me are now coming back and it’s thanks in a large part, to this wonderful place. If you have a desire to get sober and/or clean all the tools and support are available to you here.”

 – TOM

“The best thing I have done for myself in a very long time

“I am writing this to relay the incredible experience had during my time at the Sydney Retreat. I was lucky enough to be a beneficiary of the scholarship program without which I would have been unable to attend. 

The program is really well structured and the routine set me up with a positive blueprint for success in the outside world. The staff and volunteers are compassionate and caring and a constant source of support and understanding. Coming here is the best thing I have done for myself in a very long time and I look forward to a long future not crippled by alcoholism. As my husband put it, “I finally have my wife back”.



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