This morning I went on a long road run out towards Beaufort West. Just me and the open spaces of the Karoo.
This is what I came for – a decision that I made in Rand clinic psychiatric hospital in Hillbrow, Johannesburg- a lock-down psychiatric clinic where I found myself in February once again fighting GHB induced psychosis and bipolar-like symptoms. This WAS becoming a pattern. MY GHB use WAS always ending in a hospital admission.
In August I was fighting for my life on an artificial respirator in ICU after taking a sip of undiluted GHB. I had gone into complete respiratory failure.
YET this morning I hit the road to train, an aspect of the program HERE at Inner Peace that’s encouraged.
I feel I need to expand on the program that Inner Peace offers,and WHY after ALL the luxurious 12-step based rehabs I have attended- 6, in fact, in Johannesburg, since I decided to start a new life without GHB exactly a year ago.
In May 2018 I felt that I needed to leave Cape Town entirely. I was mistakenly under the impression that GHB WOULD be better understood in Johannesburg – me having this notion that IT was such a large city- and therefore that it would be more informed and open minded.
This WAS an incorrect assumption.
Johannesburg is in fact a very conservative city and lacks the large GAY community of Cape Town, which probably accounts for a large amount of GHB users.
SO NO, GHB wasn’t more understood as a drug of dependence and abuse – and treatment programs were not specifically catering for the complexity of treating GHB addiction.
After a prolonged x2 weeks of daily GHB use in December last year, I was admitted to an emergency ward by paramedics at a large Johannesburg hospital for GHB induced psychosis and for the monitoring of my vital signs. The attending physician didn’t have a clue what GHB was. This is the reality of what GHB users who want to get help from GHB addiction ARE up against.
It was in ALL this confusion, and continuously relapsing, that MY family sought HELP from my social worker in Cape Town WHO knew me and my history WELL.
He recommended a completely different approach to the 12-step rehabs- a treatment model called MRT – Moral Reconation Therapy.
MORAL RECONATION THERAPY IS AN EVIDENCE BASED TREATMENT PROGRAM FOR SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS THAT IS BEING SUCCESSFULLY OFFERED IN THE USA. INNER PEACE is currently the ONLY facility in South Africa with a trained MRT THERAPIST AND FACILITATOR.
For a serial relapser like myself I needed a new and completely different approach.
MORAL RECONATION THERAPY IS based upon the assumption that fully functioning reasonably content, happy persons have a strong sense of identity and that their behavior and relationships are based upon relatively high moral judgment levels.
The basis of MRT IS honesty – honesty with self and others, and being congruent in terms of how you present yourself in group in front of the therapy team, versus the person that one is outside of the group.
In this community you CANNOT hide.
You have to live the change, not just speak about it.
For me,the most profound aspect of this approach HAS been relabelling myself as someone with a substance use disorder, instead of labeling myself an addict. For the first time in MY life and the history of my substance abuse and use,I started to see myself differently. I felt dignified. I felt a deep sense of hope and dignity that permeated every fibre of my BEING. I could finally see a way out of the prison that my substance use disorder had created for me. I was taught the steps that I needed to take in order to reclaim my inner self – and learnt that personality is not fixed- that beneath MY personality, which was learnt behaviours, attitudes, perceptions and actions- lay MY true inner self.
And MRT IS the process of firstly discovering your inner self, and reclaiming it so that the personality is no longer a protective mask, but is congruent with WHO you really ARE at your CORE.
As you can imagine, this is not an overnight process, and Inner Peace encourages a 3 month stay. Many elect TO stay longer. It is that sort of a place, difficult to leave, as HERE one IS understood and accepted. Fortunately Inner Peace offers a secondary facility in Cape Town to help one reintegrate the MRT steps into real LIFE and society.
After much soul-searching, we have decided that this secondary facility in Cape Town will be the best way forward, allowing ME TO continue MY journey that I started HERE, while being able to reconcile with my family, which is a vital next step in MY process.
Much as I love the KAROO, I need to be closer to MY loved ones, at least for the time being, and also to lose my fear OF the temptations of the city IN a supportive and safe environment.
SO this is a week OF inner preparation for my return to Cape Town, co coinciding with my 47th birthday on Friday.
It’s appropriate that I am still HERE at Inner Peace FOR my 47th birthday, as THIS is where I finally learned TO grow up.
Below are photos of the facility, and how I look TODAY in comparison to me at the height of GHB addiction.