Drug treatment centers in South Africa are becoming more widespread as the continuing battle with significant drug abuse continues. For many addicts, admission into a drug rehabilitation centre is the foundation they need to enable them to break through their first few months of abstinence in a safe and supportive environment, away from the regular routine of their using.
However, rehabilitation is not an escape from life and the problems associated with it, although in the first few months of recovery it can be immensely beneficial for an addict in treatment to focus only on themselves and not face distractions caused by problems in their everyday life.
Addiction is a disease which is incurable and progressive; over time it will get worse and can be fatal. The disease can be arrested with abstinence, proper counselling and a programme of recovery. Daily vigilance and working a programme of recovery will allow a sufferer to rebuild a life for themselves and become a functioning member of society. However, for an addict to evolve from a state of hardened drug use and absolute self destruction to being an abstinent, reliable and happy individual is not a change which occurs in a few days. The abstinence will need to be immediate, but the real problems which require attention are the deeply rooted psychological problems all addicts have.
Giving up is hard to do
There is a common saying, “an addict without drugs is like a fish out of water,” and in many aspects this statement is true. An addict is reliant on drugs, hence addiction has earned the nickname “habit”.
An addict will find drugs enmeshed in all aspects of their life and giving up something that has been the focus of their life for a long time is a shock. After years of numbing and avoiding feelings, they will suddenly have to cope with their problems without drugs and feel the emotions they have spent years avoiding.
The lifestyle associated with drug use is engrained into the addict. Associations, hang outs, dealers, image; all of these are part of an addict’s using and when drugs are removed from the life of an addict, they will still find themselves entwined in evidence of addiction, except they will not be high.
Why a treatment centre can help
In a treatment centre, addicts will still have to face life head on, but will be able to do so in a clean environment with trained professionals helping them to deal with the difficulties of beginning on road to recovery.
As mentioned previously, the problem is not the drugs, the addict’s associations, the places they frequented or the music they listened to: the problem is within the addict themselves. Being in a safe and supportive environment will make the transition into a clean life a little easier to manage.
After an addict has become abstinent, it is completely normal for them to crave drugs. Just as drug use is a symptom that something within the addict is wrong, cravings are a symptom too. Many addicts with years of recovery behind them find that when something such as feeling an uncomfortable emotion occurs, they may crave, but they are aware that it is merely a symptom that something is uncomfortable within themselves. When an addict is in the clutches of an addiction, they may want to stop but just cannot get through a day without using, similar to an addict who has just become abstinent and craves.
What to expect from a treatment centre
Every addiction treatment centre is different, depending on the psychological model of addiction treatment they follow.
Many centers provide only counselling and therapy without placing too much emphasis on the patient managing life on the ‘outside’ of their centre. Others use religion or labour as a treatment method. The most successful rate of recovery is definitely seen in addicts attending treatment centers which provide therapeutic counselling, a Twelve Step recovery programme and endorse a healthy lifestyle.
Counselling coupled with a Twelve Step programme is so successful because the counselling helps the addict deal with the past and present issues they face. A Twelve Step programme provides a way for them to remain abstinent once they have left their treatment centre as the members of a Twelve Step fellowship apply themselves daily to the principles and suggestions of the programme, keeping them motivated and able to cope with life as it happens.
The length of a patient’s stay can also help prepare them for life outside their treatment centre. Many addicts only complete a short term in a primary care facility. Such a facility usually treats patients for three to four weeks using an intensive therapy programme where the addicts are required to be in-patients and abide by strict rules. Once many leave the centre, the shock of returning to normal life can often be so great that they return to using straight away.
Addicts who attend a programme at a secondary and tertiary care facility after their primary treatment seem to have a higher rate of recovery than those who simply attend a month long course. Secondary and tertiary care facilities allow patients a little more freedom and are able to help addicts become accustomed to living life without drugs and become immersed into society once more, but in a safe and controlled environment.
Drug treatment facilities can be an incredible help for an addict beginning the process of turning their lives into a happy existence that is not dependent on drug use. Attending a treatment centre offering therapy and counselling from trained professionals on a one-to-one and group basis coupled with a Twelve Step programme and a healthy lifestyle is the best chance for an addict to create a firm foundation of recovery.
Oasis Counselling Centre is a drug treatment centre in Plettenberg Bay that offers therapy by professionally trained counselors. The Oasis Centre also endorses a Twelve Step programme of recovery and a healthy lifestyle.