Inner Peace – A wholesome recovery and the role of sports and exercise here

Lucas Belliard, March 5th 2020

a - Inner Peace – A wholesome recovery and the role of sports and exercise here
The link between the mental and physical in recovery, and how Inner Peace will take you from the detox room to a physically active recovery.

Abstinence – The building block of a new beginning

In recovering from substance abuse, allaspects of one’s life need to be re-examined. Everything from physicalwellbeing to emotional wellbeing.

Let’s talk about the role of sports andexercise, but first let’s look at why it’s an important topic, and an importantpart of many patients’ recovery here.

Recovery is a process that needs to bewholesome and abstinence can only do so much. It’s only the beginning.

Saying that abstinence can only do so muchmight sound strange to someone who is new to recovery, entering a rehab for thefirst time, or to someone with limited knowledge of SUDs.

“Abstinence isn’t everything? I thought that’swhat the whole point of going to rehab was, to abstain from drugs and alcohol.”

The reality of the situation is thatabstinence is only a pre-requisite to recovery. Abstinence is the first hurdlein fighting the mental battle against addiction.

Many can abstain for a time without goingthrough any treatment whatsoever. It’s known as “white knuckling”, and it’s anuncomfortable exercise that achieves little. Many people still in denial abouthaving a problem use these short periods of abstinence as a way to “prove” tothemselves or others that they can quit any time they want. For those who havea Substance Use Disorder, it’s just not true.

Abstaining can be the most difficult aspectwithout the right help, but here at Inner Peace, same as other rehabs, it’sprovided free of any extra charges through the absence of drugs and alcohol, sodon’t worry about it.

This is where it becomes clear that staying sober in the long run, and treating SUDs is not that simple. SUD sufferers have an illness.

Detox – Getting some much-needed rest

You’re going to first have to go throughdetox. Although this has nothing to do with sports it’s necessary to mentionthat Inner Peace will make sure you’re ready to get active. A few days of restand monitoring is all that’s needed to determine when you can join the program.

Once you’re out of detox here at InnerPeace, you’re already eating 3 meals a day, at consistent and normal hours.You’re getting to bed at a normal time, and sleeping a normal amount.

This is when you can start to think a littleabout how to spend your free time here, and many patients find that gettingsome physical exercise is just what they need to release some of the feel-goodendorphins their bodies are craving. Different strokes for different folks asthey say, so if you’re keen to stay active there’s a bunch of options to choosefrom here.

Hitting the Gym

Inner Peace’s gym is equipped with enoughweights to stack 160 kgs on a barbell, and it doesn’t end there. In the room isalso a whole host of equipment for those who like to burn some energy or buildsome muscle that way.

Some patients find that a training routine,goal or schedule helps them kill time in a way that leaves them relaxed,releases energy and provides a sense of achievement and personal development.

But don’t shy away or feel intimidated ifyou come through the doors never having lifted a dumbbell in your life, asthere’s no shortage of encouragement to join in and camaraderie coming your way,and no one will be judging a newcomer who has an interest in starting from thebottom.

The opposite is true, and those who arealready following a gym routine will ask you if you’d like to join them. Nopressure at all, but if you take up the offer, you’ll find that many are keento offer advice, give tips and suggest new things.

Going for a run

If going for a run is for you, there’s a sports field just across, so feel free to enjoy a morning or evening run. Some enjoy solitude and some thrive on doing it as a group, finding that not being on your own can help you push yourself to run just one more lap. And with the beautiful sunsets, sunrises and the clean fresh air of a small town like Fraserburg, you won’t miss a treadmill.

Kicking a ball around

It’s also the perfect place to kick around a rugby/soccer ball or set up for a game of cricket with the house. With weekends and evenings being mostly free to relax, work on yourself or blow off some steam it’s no surprise that old and young find themselves bonding over sport.

Play a game of tennis or twenty
1 - Inner Peace – A wholesome recovery and the role of sports and exercise here

Many also pick up tennis, with a courtbeing right next to the field. Bring your own racket or use one of the manyInner Peace has as spares if you’d like to join in.

Tennis is a little more competitive aroundhere than kicking a ball around, but as with all activities here you’ll only beencouraged to join in and your peers will only build you up, never tear youdown. Although it’s rare, Clinical Director Johann will join on occasion.

Find your groove, no one’s going to force you

While some hit the tennis court, the gym,or the field, others kill an hour or so with a skateboard on the empty courtaside. There’s something for everyone.

If none of this sounds like your cup oftea, you’re more than welcome to spectate, or just take a dip in the pool orwatch the pros do it on TV in the lounge.

But at the very least, you’ll find it hardto resist joining in for a walk around the block and bond with the group overthe day’s banter, special moments and endless stream of jokes being cracked.

Recovery is about building a new healthyand life, and whether you’re an active sportsman or a couch potato, gettingyour pulse rate up and having some fun while doing it is just one of the waysInner Peace suggests building that foundation. After all, getting physicallyactive is a great start to the next chapter of the sober life that awaits youbeyond this facility.

Inner peace in 2020. Continuing to succeed by doing things differently.
LB, February 4th 2020

Inner Peace is a treatment centre for drug and alcohol addiction that is utilizing new therapies and taking a refreshing and new approach to substance abuse treatment.

Inner Peace has a characteristically unique and special way of treating patients with compassion and kindness. When you enter the building as a new patient and meet Johann, clinical director and founder of Inner Peace, you immediately pick up on this. Whether your inner monologue is one of confusion and apprehension like so many entering treatment for substance abuse disorders, or you’re experiencing feelings of comfort at the homely atmosphere and unintimidating pace of things, it’s clear that this treatment centre is unique, and you know you’ll be okay sooner rather than later.

“When I first arrived, they didn’t tiptoe around me and treat me like a customer, I was immediately made to feel right at home. Soon I realised that the whole atmosphere and ethos of this place is that of one big family. Everyone involved in your recovery really cares and shows genuine compassion towards what you’re going through.”

Inner Peace treats patients with Substance Use Disorders. Inner Peace doesn’t treat drug addicts. And part of that is not treating you LIKE a drug addict.

“When I first arrived, I’d done a 28-day program and been told “addict, addict, addict”. Inner Peace helped me look at recovery in a different way. I’m not an addict, I have a Substance Use Disorder. I don’t have to live life with that stigma, I can transcend that and focus on healing myself as a human being.”

Substance Use Disorder. SUD. That’s the medical term, and it’s not an identity, it’s a condition.
Inner Peace teaches that recovery isn’t life. It’s a short period of a person’s life, one to get through before you can go back to living a fulfilling life, not stigmatized and labelled as an addict, but as a human being.

One of the ways in which Inner Peace is different therapeutically is that it provides Moral Reconation Therapy [MRT].
MRT is designed to give those who participate in the process a new set of lenses through which to view the world. It helps people deal with trauma and goes back to basics on the root causes of many of the issues they face today.

“I’ve been at Inner Peace for 4 months now. I’ve completed the first 3 MRT steps, Honesty – Trust – Worries, Wants and Needs, which is what is recommended to work through here at Inner peace [MRT consists of a total of 12 steps]. MRT helped me a lot with my childhood traumas in my past. It helped me learn that not everything is my fault. Inner Peace brought my family together, and I’m now working towards a better future for myself with the help of my therapist and the support of my family.”

Going through the steps of MRT, a group process, helps patients with Substance Use Disorders begin reframing their experience of life opens doors to new perspectives and ways of interacting with society.
Here at Inner Peace, it has taught and motivated many patients to start living by the principles of honesty and trust, granting them hope and giving them courage to face a world that they once thought the worst of, without the need to numb and bury their feelings and emotions with substances.

“I tried NA a few times, and I believe MRT is better, it’s a worthy practice that builds morality. It makes you think about the disease in a different way. MRT doesn’t just teach you to stay sober, it teaches you how to have a worthy life and a purpose.”

Flawed moral frameworks like this keep many who struggle with SUDs caught up in living a life coloured by negative and hopeless thinking that traps them in a cycle of justifying and rationalising destructive and immoral behaviours.
Without therapy, this can go on indefinitely, and for those with SUDs, certain points of this cycle are where they are at high risk of relapsing, going back to using drugs and alcohol.

“When I started doing MRT, the content discussed resonated with me on a deep level. It led me to realise that I had been seeing the world as unfair, unjust and completely broken, and I ended up justifying behaviours that were very destructive without even realising that I was doing any justifying. I thought everyone was as cynical as I was deep down, just better at hiding it.”

For some, Inner Peace is their first and last rehab. For others, it’s a breath of fresh air, providing a different treatment approach to a life ruining condition when other treatment centres have failed. Its unique methods and compassionate team will surely continue to help countless people recover from the damages of substance abuse for years to come, healing many individuals and families, and most importantly saving many lives along the way.

Transcendence of a substance use disorder

Inner Peace is known for innovative, outside-the-box therapy, and this is more than psycho-analytical groups – therapy is also out of the group rooms – outdoors. The physical therapeutic benefits of outdoor activities are increasingly becoming part of the daily Program here.

For instance, this past Sunday – a group of about sevenclients on the program took their own initiative and decided to walk to thedam, about a 1Km walk to the outskirts of the town of Fraserburg.

The result was sheer playfulness – a result the therapistscould not have planned or anticipated.

In fact, they were not even there, and maybe this is whatenabled the clients to experience this degree of freedom and spontaneity.

A group of adults suffering and fighting to transcend their substance use disorders.

This spontaneity was experienced in mud fights, falling inthe muddy water – no longer caring about outward appearance, just enjoyinginnocent mud wrestling. Burying each other in the mud – described as atherapeutic way to get rid of personal negative energy, like a mud applicationat a spa? Same concept?

Yes, there were mud masks – there was laughter – there was apureness experienced, to quote a participant:

“I don’t feel like I have a substance use disorder-Ifelt like a child of the wind”.

“To play in the mud, it was an amazing liberatingexperience.”

“I felt free from the world”

“I felt free from everything”

“The mud itself was rejuvenating, the experience oflaughter and bonding, and beauty and fun was Powerful and healing.”

“My spirit was free”.

“I experienced child like fun again, free of my substance use disorder”.

“I don’t know when I have ever laughed so much.”

This is what the clinical director of Inner Peace, Johann, refers to as transcending our substance use disorders – THE ULTIMATE AIM OF THE PROGRAM HERE AT INNER PEACE.

What makes Inner Peace Different from other Substance Use Disorder and Addiction Treatment Facilities within South Africa – Part 1

Inner Peace is the only Substance Use Disorder and Addiction treatment facility in South Africa that is accredited and trained in the provision of Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT). This training was attended within the USA from Correctional Counseling Inc.

About MRT Addiction/Substance Use Treatment

MRT, as an evidence-based substance use treatment program, consists of 16 steps. A person is considered to have completed once they reach step 12, with the last 4 steps being optional (though highly recommended). The program takes around 24 to 36 group sessions to complete, which are conducted in accordance with Inner Peace’s implementation needs and requirements.

During the treatment process, each person will complete a workbook homework prior to coming to a group session. Within the group, each person will have an opportunity to present their homework to the facilitator, who will decide on whether the person passes and can move onto the next step. If the client does not pass, they will have the opportunity to go back and redo their homework, and present it again at the next group session.

All MRT groups are open-ended, meaning that new clients can enter an ongoing group at any time

New Recreation Centre taking shape

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Inside the current Recreation Centre, that is having a face lift

When it comes to physical activity and recreation, Inner Peace has always been committed to making sure this can happen. As part of this, we have worked with the Local Government, and been the stewards of the community Tennis Courts and Club. This has allowed us to enjoy endless practice and many fun-filled tournaments. On top of this, the linked sporting facilities have granted us the ability to always have a cricket team, that maintains the position of local champions against the Fraserburg SAPS. These are always hard-fought battles, and always well attended by the community.


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Our new entrance under renovation

The benefits of engaging in these sports and physical activity, have created major changes for our residents, but also for the Fraserburg community. The science has always backed the importance of engaging in physical activity to promote health, but it is also shown to have major benefits in supporting those who are trying to recover from addictions or substance use disorders. Activities such as: weight lifting, yoga, meditation and other physical activity have shown to significantly support healing.


Taking this into account, Inner Peace has searched for how it can create a recreation centre, where weight lifting, yoga and meditation can occur (along with other physical activities). As part of this drive, we have started renovating a building, that will be a site for healing, and allowing people to refocus and renew themselves. Finding joy in exercise, ad connecting with their physical bodies. Rebuilding an identity and belief in self again.

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Every gym needs a wall of mirrors!

We are hoping to gain support, through donations of equipment and material to help us finish this centre. We are needing:

Rubber floor mats to protect the cement flooring




Weight machine

Rowing Machines


Stationary bicycles

Yoga mats


Miscellaneous gym equipment

We appreciate all the support you can give us, so we can continue to help those in need!