If down and out, this rehab helps

2015-07-07 06:01

When you’ve hit the lowest point of an addiction and lost everything, there’s a place you can go to for help.

Dominique fought her battle with drug addiction for 17 years, bouncing in and out of rehab facilities. When she found herself on the street, alone, for the second time in her life, she knew she’d hit rock bottom.

“I had this earnest desire to change my life. I felt I had nothing left to lose. But I gained everything through this place,” she says.

Dominique now works at Living Grace, the same rehabilitation centre that she attended three years ago.

Giving hopeLiving Grace started as a shelter and feeding scheme for the homeless, but soon moved into rehabilitation after substance abuse was identified as a deeper problem among those at the centre.

No longer exclusively for those on the street, Living Hope focuses on the underprivileged and under-resourced.

“We cater for the flat broke, broken of spirit and those crying out for help,” director Raymond Bowman says.

The centre on Muizenberg Main Road combines treatment and faith-based intervention to empower addicts.

“When you’re addicted, you either don’t know God or you’ve lost your faith. You feel helpless. But Living Grace introduces you to God as a friend,” Dominique says.

While based on the 12-step recovery programme, the eight-week course also provides various educational components, including TB and HIV education, parenting courses and family days, art and games.

However, providing these services is becoming increasingly challenging, Bowman says.

With many clients from impoverished communities, just attending support groups can be difficult.

“Many have to steal train rides or walk. One of our clients walks for two hours to come to sessions,” he says.

The centre also provides meals to those in recovery, but this is a small token when many of their families are hungry.

“We have no money for maintenance and we have 23 clients crammed into a room,” Raymond says.

The centre is not able to afford more staff than one social worker and one councillor.

A lack of funding has even seen it forced to cut its 12-week programme to eight weeks.

Living changeMany addicts abuse more than one substance, Bowman says, so the centre looks to treat the addiction and its causes.

Keeping recovering addicts motivated is a huge part of their work, explains Raymond.

“Many of our clients are drop-outs and don’t know what it is to excel,” he says.

“But when a client goes back, they have an even greater impact. We tell clients when they leave: ‘The world is still the same. Drugs are still there. But you have changed. Live out that change.’”

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