Africa Retreat Centre (ARC)

Africa Retreat Centre (ARC)

Africa Retreat Centre Article by: Mwebaze Isharaza “Isha”. Images by: Africa Retreat Centre

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Are you Concerned about Your or Someone Else’s Drinking?

“If you need to control it, it is probably out of control”

There is an old saying that “If you need to control it, it is probably out of control”. This is certainly true for most people who are concerned about their drinking.

  1. Are you drinking more frequently than you previously did?
  2. Is alcohol taking a more significant role in your life?
  3. Have friends or colleagues raised concerns about your drinking?
  4. Have you experienced memory blackouts when you cannot remember or account for some segment of time after you started drinking?
  5. Have you woken up wondering how you got home (or wherever it is you find yourself)?
  6. Have you found yourself planning how and where you with catch a drink for the day?
  7. Do you drink and drive? Have you put yourself and others in danger because of your drinking?
  8. Have you been told that you become a completely different personality after a few drinks?
  9. Have you attempted to quit alcohol for a given duration or entirely and changed your mind before accomplishing this?


All these and more scenarios may be an indication that alcohol is beginning to interfere with your life. You may be already struggling with a condition known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). This is often also referred to as alcoholism.

Signs of alcohol use disorder include:

  • Blacking out or not remembering things that happened.
  • Continuing to drink even if it causes distress or harm to you or others.
  • Drinking more or longer than you planned.
  • Feeling irritable or cranky when you’re not drinking.
  • Frequent hangovers.
  • Getting into dangerous situations when you’re drinking (for example, driving, having unsafe sex or falling).
  • Giving up activities so you can drink.
  • Having cravings for alcohol.
  • Having repeated problems with work, school, relationships or the law because of drinking.
  • Needing to drink more and more to get the same effect.
  • Not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started.
  • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from drinking.
  • Wanting to cut back but not being able to.
  • Obsessing over alcohol.

A person with alcohol use disorder also might experience symptoms of withdrawal when they cut back or stop drinking, such as:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Nausea, dry heaves.
  • Racing heart.
  • Restlessness.
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Seizures.
  • Seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations).
  • Delirium tremens.
  • Coma and death.
Africa Retreat centre for alcohol use disorder
Africa Retreat centre for alcohol use disorder

What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?

Alcohol use that turns into a use disorder develops in stages. It is progressive and unless treated will get worse over any given time.


  1. At-risk stage: This is when you drink socially or drink to relieve stress or to feel better. You may start to develop a tolerance for alcohol.
  2. Early alcohol use disorder: In this stage, you have progressed to blackouts, drinking alone or in secret, and thinking about alcohol a lot.
  3. Mid-stage alcohol use disorder: Your alcohol use is now out of control and causes problems with daily life (work, family, financial, physical and mental health). Organ damage can be seen on lab tests and scans.
  4. End-stage alcohol use disorder: Drinking is now the main focus of your life, to the exclusion of food, intimacy, health and happiness. Despair, complications of organ damage and death are now close.


How is alcohol use disorder treated?

Alcohol Use Disorder is treatable. You can have a life free of alcohol and its effects. It is possible to live a happy, health, productive and sober life. Remember that having this illness does not mean you are immoral, weak, ignorant or lacking in willpower or resolve. It is an illness like any other and with commitment, you can overcome it. Millions of people worldwide have been able to do so.


Your treatment options and setting will depend on your stage of recovery and the severity of your illness. You may need inpatient medical (hospital), residential rehabilitation (rehab), outpatient intensive therapy or outpatient maintenance. Treatment may include a combination of Medications, Psychotherapy and Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

Africa Retreat centre arc

About Africa Retreat Centre

Africa Retreat Centre (ARC) is a Specialised Treatment Hospital for Addiction and Mental Health with facilities in Kampala (Naguru) and Mbarara. The facilities are fully-staffed and equipped within a safe and conducive environment. Our specialty interdisciplinary treatment team comprises Consultant Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Counselling Psychologists, Adolescent and Child Psychologists, Addiction Counsellors, Physicians, Psychiatric Nurses, Physicians, Social Workers, Recovery Coaches, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Fitness Trainers, Laboratory Services and other professionals and specialists.


Our team all work together to speed your recovery and provide the support you need to thrive once you’re back home. Many of our current and former patients continue to enjoy productive and functional lives and maintain healthy recovery.


Our services include Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment and Care for Persons with Mental Illness, Addiction Care and Treatment, Individual Psychotherapy, Group Therapy (including facilitating mental health and well-being trainings), Family Therapy, Critical Incident Stress Briefing/Psychological First Aid, Trauma Counselling and Therapy, Grief and Loss Therapy, Family Therapy, Speech Therapy and Employee Assistance Programs among others.

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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who come together to solve their drinking problem.  It doesn’t cost anything to attend A.A. meetings. There are no age or education requirements to participate. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem. A.A.’s primary purpose is to help alcoholics to achieve sobriety.


The Hill Rise Group of AA meets at Africa Retreat Centre on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5.30pm. These meetings are open and free. There are other AA meetings in Kampala and upcountry. You may find more information at

With more than 6 years’ experience in providing treatment, care and support to individuals and organisations some of our current and corporate clients include United Nations (MONUSCO, UNMISS, UNHCR, UNDP), Bank of Uganda, Centenary Bank, Coca Cola, VVOB, Evidence Action, Clarkson Insurance Brokers, Jubilee Insurance among others. We are also empanelled providers for Medical Insurance Providers including Cigna, Henner, ICEA, GA Insurance, AAR, APA, Minet, Prudential, among others.


Our objective is to assist the recovery process by professional guidance to ensure our clients are prepared to cope with the day-to-day challenges of living in their communities, rejuvenated with a solid understanding of mental illness and addiction and what is required to prevent relapse.


Our aim is for clients to return to a productive life, functioning well in the family environment, the workplace and social settings.


Our Vision is: “To be a haven of relief and hope through a holistic and dignified mental health services in the region.


Our Mission is: “To provide accessible and affordable integrated mental health services of the highest quality.”


Our core values include: Client-centeredness, Confidentiality, Integrity, Dignity, Teamwork, and Professionalism.


At ARC we aim to offer the highest quality of care to enable our patients and clients recover and maintain a healthy and productive life. Our clinical staff provide the skill and experience to meet the individual requirements and needs of our patients. Our programs are designed to effect the changes necessary to create a fresh start for our clients, repairing relationships with self, family, employer and other significant aspects of life.

Africa Retreat centre arc lounge
Isha Mwebaze Isharaza

Mwebaze Isharaza (“Isha”)

About the Author

He is a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counsellors (NAADAC), the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) and current Chair of the Addiction Prevention and Rehabilitation Association of Uganda (APRAU). He is also a trained practitioner of Compassionate Inquiry.


Isha is in long term recovery (over 13 years) having struggled with alcohol addiction for many years before that. This gives him the experiential knowledge of addiction, in addition to his professional training and expertise. He leads a multidisciplinary team of specialists in the field of mental health and addiction.

For more information

reach out to Africa Retreat Centre

Plot 10, Hill Rise, Naguru
phone: 0788 799399 | email; | web:

1 Comment

  1. Brenda

    We impact people and change lives as ARC💚🧡.


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