The Choice Counselling Centre in Church Street, Athlone, is home to several recovering drug addicts from all corners of the Cape Flats.The drug rehabilitation centre has to date successfully helped willing individuals to transform into a whole new life of sobriety.Drug testing and screening, life skills coaching, early youth intervention, religious counselling and guidance, in-patient treatment, aftercare services, youth programmes, courts and criminal justice, and mother and baby in-patient units are among several services offered to the community.“We started this centre about nine-and-a- half years ago. The establishment came about after I discovered that a relative’s son had started using drugs. I booked him into a facility that I became actively involved with. I liked what was being done to change the lives of young men and women who were going through the rehabilitation process at the centre,” says Rif’at Browers, founder of the centre.“After four years of assisting at the centre, I decided to break away and opted to get more knowledge on addiction, travelling all over the world to get information on addictions. I came back and started out working from my apartment.”He says the centre is not subsidised by any arm of government.“There are reasons why I choose not to be subsidised as our emphasis is placed a lot on the home environment of this space. We believe that punishment is not to criminalise and institutionalise them when they are in a programme where they are striving to change.” “If you walk in here, one of the main things parents ask is why we do not have security gates up. If the person wants help and is willing to relinquish their substance abuse habits then they will not require being behind security gates due to their desire to change. I don’t believe that they should be caged like animals.”The group does not discriminate against any race or religion and welcomes the public with open arms. “Those who step into our doors should just be willing to recover. We have had people from the four corners of South Africa coming to our facility, with the majority coming from our own city.“Six out of every 10 people that see us, there is a desire for change, but they sometimes don’t have money. The waiting period to get into government facilities is long and many don’t get the help needed,” Browers says.A minimal and affordable fee is charged at the centre for the intensive programmes offered. Those who can’t afford the cost are covered through fundraisers held by Browers and his team throughout the year.Recovering addicts who spoke to People’s Post last week say their stay at the centre has been very welcoming and successful thus far. “Just coming into the entrance of this rehab centre shows the treatment they are providing us with. Everything is professional and the team has lots of respect for us,” says a young lady from Belhar.“The services provided by centres are of great help and I wish everyone could take the first steps to recovery. It will take some time but we will all get where we need to be with the assistance of centres like this.”Browers invites members of the public to visit the centre to see the work they are doing and to invest in changing the lives of those in need across the Mother City. For more information, call Rif’at Browers on 021 821 8191 or visit www.drugcounselling.co.za.