The celebrity guide to detox: Pass out, check in, and dry out

If you're going to own up to drink dependency or a painkiller problem, you might as well do it in style. As Britney Spears checked into an exclusive resort in Arizona with 'exhaustion', Helen Brown sneaks a peek at the rehab elite


The Meadows, Arizona

High in the Sonoran Hills, where the cactus roam free and celebrities actually "need" their sunglasses, The Meadows "multidisorder inpatient facility" offers "a path to personal completeness and integrity, for those seeking treatment for trauma and addictions". And it has a tanning deck. Which is nice.

The approach out in the desert is based on the 12-step programme, augmented by "small group sessions, intensive boundary work, individual psychiatric sessions, topic groups, educational videos, recreational and art therapy, spirituality counselling, nutritional consultation, yoga, tai chi and acupuncture".

The Meadows may also be the ideal place for bedhoppers who find themselves addicted to love, as Pia Mellody, the clinical consultant, is the author of Facing Codependence, Facing Love Addiction and, most recently, The Intimacy Factor. The centre is good on sexual healing, offering help to those with issues involving: sexual obsession and intrigue; compulsive masturbation with or without pornography; compulsive use of cybersex; use of prostitutes, strip clubs, peeping or sex bookstores and exposing oneself - which may be another good reason the place is in the desert. Other counsellors include a depression specialist called Dr Black and guru John Bradshaw, author of The New York Times bestsellers Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child and Healing the Shame That Binds You.

Celebrity Alumni: Kate Moss, Eric Benet, Mike Tyson, Elle McPherson, Tara Palmer-Tompkinson, Paul Gascoigne, Ron Wood, Kerry Katona, Michael Barrymore and Whitney Houston.

Price: £500 per day

Luxury: ****

Toxic Shock: ***

The Priory, Roehampton

With its name a quaint hangover from more monastic times, The Priory is the British answer to the Betty Ford clinic. Built in 1872, it is London's oldest private psychiatric hospital and through its white, gothic arches our bleary-eyed celebrities have shuffled since the hedonistic 1980s. Its 107 beds have been warmed by those with addictions to alcohol, gambling, sex and computing. And it treats those with eating disorders. It offers cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, EMDR (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing), NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), equine assisted psychotherapy, psychodrama, and art and movement therapy.

Dr Peter Rowan, founder of the eating disorder regime, has admitted receiving cash gifts from a patient and benefited from a £1.5m change in her will. But that could be argued an incentive to stay alive all the longer ...

Celebrity Alumni: Kate Moss, Caroline Aherne, Johnny Depp, Paula Yates, Michael Barrymore, Ronnie Wood, Stan Collymore, Paul Gascoigne, Justin Hawkins

Price: Assessed individually, but reportedly up to £2,500 per week.

Luxury: ***

Toxic Shock: ***

Passages, Malibu, California

No 12 steps for the rehabbers in residence at this beachside resort whose faux-classical Doric columns positively drip with bougainvillea and whose Luxury: rooms offer widescreen views to the "contemplative power of the ocean". Passages was founded in 2001 by the former real estate developer Chris Prentiss, whose co-director son Pax battled a 10-year heroin addiction. Prentiss Snr gushes that "as soon as they walk through our mahogany double doors into our beautiful marble atrium, [our patients] feel the healing energy and beauty of Passages". He argues that the Spartan regimes at places like the Betty Ford clinic are "demeaning". The upscale resort hosts 29 patients at a time. Facilities include a library with a big scary fireplace, a media room with flat-screen TVs, a meditative koi pond, massage room, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, "metaphysical classes " (no Woody Allen style cheating by looking into the soul of the celebrity next to you) and a restaurant catering to each individual's dietary whim. Guests are, apparently, welcome to "hang out" in the kitchen, though presumably not the ones with food addictions. Executive chef Lisa Stalvey is, incidentally, behind two sauces in Paul Newman's range. Oh, and there's a 12ft replica of the Statue of Liberty out back.

Celebrity Alumni: Natasha Lyonne and Lindsay Lohan's ex, Brandon Davis

Price: £30,000 a month

Luxury: ****

Toxic Shock: **

The Betty Ford Clinic, California

Almost a byword for detox, the former first lady Betty Ford founded her not-for-profit treatment centre in 1982 after recovering from an addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. The centre has always saved 50 per cent of its space for women and treatment is gender-specific with women and men bunked up in separate "sober" halls. The centre's philosophy is based on (take a deep breath) "a bio-psycho-social-spiritual" philosophy rooted in the 12-step programme devised by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935, beginning with an admission of dependency, humbly asking God (any god - the Betty Ford Centre is nondemoninational) to "remove all these defects of character", and finally experiencing a "spiritual awakening". It's hard graft on the soul-searching front and more pampered types are wont to call its strict and structured approach " old-fashioned".

Celebrity Alumni: Tony Curtis, Elizabeth Taylor, Stevie Nicks, Johnny Cash, Billy Joel, Drew Barrymore, Liza Minnelli, Kelsey Grammer, Bobby Brown, Ozzy Osbourne, Keith Urban, Alice Cooper, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tammy Wynette, Robert Mitchum, David Hasselhoff, Richard Pryor and Jay-Z.

Price: Programmes begin from £180 for four evenings to £19,700 for 90 days.

Luxury: ***

Toxic Shock: ****

Promises, Malibu, California

Forbes magazine says that "when celebrities need to dry out, the first place on their speed dial is Promises, perhaps the quintessential California rehab centre". Checking into the website can chill you out (or wind you up) as zen world music kicks in (Indian drums and Hollywood violins) and views of the Santa Monica estate pan to show paths leading to the Pacific. The chef catered for Emmy parties and the tennis pro coached Lindsay Davenport.

Run by a former Pennsylvania dentist, Promises hosts up to 40 at a time in "Spanish villa style luxury". Days begin at 7am with meditation and private and group therapy. Then there's acupuncture, yoga, one-on-one meditation, art therapy, psychiatric assessments and "equine therapy" - psychobabble in a saddle. Rising at 7am to see Mel Gibson pitching movie ideas at an annoyed pony, one might well feel the need for a very strong drink.

Celebrity Alumni: Diana Ross, Ben Affleck, Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jnr, Charlie Sheen.

Price: £25,000 a month

Luxury: ****

Toxic Shock: **

Tham, Thailand

In Thai, Tham means "cave" and "Kra ja bawk" means " to have something to say". So the name of Thamkrabok Buddhist monastery in Thailand means "Cave of the Teaching". Around 130km north of Bangkok, Thamkrabok is home to 100 monks and 20 nuns whose lives provide inspiration to addicts. They built the place themselves and eat their only meal of the day at 7am.

The order began treating opium addicts in 1961 and continues to treat drug addicts by encouraging them to meditate and build inner strength against the clutches of chemicals. Buddhists believe individualls are responsible for their own actions - so no blaming the parents, or the agent, or the pressures of stardom here.

And detox begins with a "Satja" ceremony, where the addict is connected to their own willpower and with something "beyond" that the monastery's founder, Luangpaw Charoen, has called "the whisper of God". Then there's "strong herbal medicine and vomiting", "black pills" a steam bath, tea and lots of meditation.

Celebrity Alumni: Pete Doherty

Price: Treatment and lodging are free. Donations welcome

Luxury: *

Toxic Shock: *****

The Clinic, Northampton

For those who can't afford the glamour detox, there's still the Goody detox.

The former Big Brother contestant Jade Goody has been busy promoting Northampton's answer to the celebrity purification centre. A short drive from junction 15 of the M1, opposite Old Racecourse Park, where the annual Balloon Festival is held, The Clinic is housed in a large Victorian building promising "a calm and tranquil atmosphere every day". You can see Jade on the website undergoing some "Aqua Detox", based on traditional Chinese medicine.

You pop your feet into a bowl filled with warm salt water and a small electrical charge passes through the water creating "a magnetic field which corresponds to your body".

Unsurprisingly, this may "tingle". And the water will change colour. I'm not quite sure why - unless your toes are dirty - but they say: "We can never diagnose what the colour of the water means as it will change regardless of the presence of feet!"

The clinic is also very big on colonic irrigation, promising to help " eliminate stored faecal matter, gas, mucus and toxic substances" from within. I'm pretty sure the water changes colour then, too.

Celebrity Alumni: Jade Goody

Price: 30 mins of Aqua Detox costs £30

Luxury: **

Toxic Shock: **

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