Guildford tackles drink issues

By Wanganui Chronicle

Hawke's Bay rugby star Zac Guildford is believed to have checked in to a problem drinkers' retreat in the Central North Island to overcome issues that threaten his professional career.

Guildford, who turned 24 on February 8, has reportedly been working out at a gym in Ohakune with people from the nearby Ahuru Recovery Retreat.

The New Zealand Rugby Union and player manager Simon Porter declined to confirm the reports or comment further than statements made after Guildford left the Crusaders' Super 15 squad. That move followed revelations of another alcohol-related incident.

A caller told the Wanganui Chronicle Guildford had been in the town several times since his withdrawal from the squad, and was nearing the end of what had been reported as his "one-month course of intensive treatment at an undisclosed North Island location".

Mr Porter, an Auckland lawyer specialising in sports issues and who, like Guildford, played in the Napier Boys' High School first fifteen, told the Chronicle: "We said all we are going to say about Zac's treatment plan in a press release a few weeks ago."

New Zealand union professional rugby manager Neil Sorenson, who also went to school in the Bay, said the union would not comment.

Ahuru Recovery Retreat is a plush lodge at Karioi, between Waiouru and Ohakune, in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu. Its website says it provides world-class treatment programmes "for the support of clients whose desire is to have an alcohol and drug-free life".

It takes only a few clients at a time, at a cost of up to almost $23,000, and its 28-day programme offers intensive therapeutic intervention, activities, one-on-one counselling, a psycho-educational recovery programme, excursions, all meals, and a follow-up plan.

The website said a typical day included physical activity, "self-directed reflection and writing," group discussions and individual counselling, which was "just the beginning".

"The focus is on developing the skills necessary to recognise and manage underlying vulnerabilities without the need for alcohol," the promotional material says.Wanganui Chronicle

- Hawkes Bay Today

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