“Learning to be a recovery coach is a life transforming event for most of our students because, they are able to become a functional member of society. Many addicts and alcoholics relapse because they are not in contact with their addiction on a daily basis. By becoming a recovery coach and coaching other addicts they are able to earn a living and stay clean.” Says David Collins the founder of U-ACT.
SHARP stands for Self Help Addiction Recovery Programme. We offer a three-month programme for the rehabilitation of people suffering from addiction. This is any kind of addiction; from alcohol to drugs and even sex. When we talk about drugs we mean: cocaine, heroin, marijuana, crystal meth and prescribed medications such as tranquilizers, painkillers and sleeping tablets, otherwise known as benzodiazepines.
The three month programme (in-patient) is broken down into Primary, Secondary and Tertiary (halfway house), each for a period of 28 days. During this period the client receives: one-on-one therapy with a social worker; step-work counselling with a counsellor who is in recovery ( up to ten years clean or more); recovery coaching; trauma counselling with a clinical psychologist; daily attendance of NA/AA meetings; workshops and lectures; monthly excursions such as hikes; music therapy; arts and crafts and gardening.
*Jasmine is recovering from an addiction to sleeping pills. Here she talks about a year of recovery and her recent relapse.
“I am not an everyday drug user; I use sleeping tablets every three to nine months. I use to escape feelings I don’t like. I take two and then take the rest - I usually can’t remember much after that.
Having treated over 1000 people for addiction at the SHARP Rehabilitation Centre since 1991, it’s time for the addiction arena to expand its domain. Now that the treatment has moved towards a medical model, we need to make it easier for people to use the resources available to them i.e. medical aids, community development, NGO’s and NPO’s.
Addiction is still greatly misunderstood, the fact that it is a systemic problem and the impact thereof, still needs to be addressed. Even when it is not someone’s problem on a personal level, it still has an impact, whether it be, drunk driving, the baby that was taken away by child services for the mother smoking tik (crystal meth) or the angry child in the school yard who brings down the classroom because of the alcohol abuse at home.
The major challenge facing this contentious topic is that addiction is viewed as a moral dilemma and not addressed as medical issue. This is mainly because of the shame and the stigma around mental health. Far too often people are given misleading information when seeking help; it’s a bit like treating HIV with the African potato view.