Alcohol rehab is hard work
The residential programme at St Mark's Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centre in Blenheim is like Outward Bound for alcoholics, says programme counsellor Carla Brownie.
Some clients say they would rather go back to prison than tackle the intense 12 to 16-week course, Ms Brownie said.
A normal day starts at 6.30am and can last about 14 hours with group sessions, one-to-one counselling and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at night, she said.
"It's not an easy programme. Residents are responsible for everything; their meals, the housework, maintenance, shopping and cleaning."
Applicants had to detox and complete a two-week probation period before they were accepted onto the course proper, Ms Brownie said.
Their first task was to write out their life story and read it to the other residents, she said.
"Help doesn't just come from a professional side but also from their peers. It's an environment we call the therapeutic community."
Their motto is "your recovery is my recovery", she said.
"They support each other to get well. Most drug and alcohol programmes work on that principle, Alcoholics Anonymous is about supporting each other and working together to maintain sobriety."
The treatment programme worked on the Te Whare Tapa Wha holistic healing model which focused on four key aspects: emotional; social; physical and spiritual, she said.
The centre had regular guest speakers who helped the residents build life skills and improve their general wellbeing with lessons on anger management, finance, legal matters, diet, exercise and cooking.
Spiritual coaching helped clients find meaning and purpose in their lives, Ms Brownie said.
"The place wouldn't run if we didn't have the support of the community and in particular our volunteers."
The St Mark's charity dinner and auction at the Marlborough Convention Centre tomorrow night has been organised by volunteers through Blenheim South Rotary, she said.
Residents would be performing, by singing and playing the ukulele, at the gala dinner, she said.
"They will definitely be stepping out of their comfort zone."
The rehab course tried to transform addicts into productive members of society who could be happy, Ms Brownie said.
Unfortunately, not many residents managed to stay clean, she said.
"That's the reality," she said. "There are no guarantees but hopefully they will blossom and get their lives together."
- The Marlborough Express