Amelia’s blog – part 6

This is going to possibly be a controversial topic, but it is very much on my mind,and plays into my life story.

In 2016 I was court sectioned to a long term rehabilitation center for a year.
If you were to look at my LinkedIn account, you will see that despite struggling with a substance use disorder, I was functioning in society, yes, and I get it, obviously not as fully functioning as someone who didn’t have a substance use disorder, but none the less functioning.

I understand the circumstances under which I was court sectioned by my family – I had been writing fraudulent scripts for prescription diet pills, in dangerously large amounts, and a full criminal investigation into the fraud had taken place, and a warrant of arrest had been issued.

This is where I must bring into the picture the fact that my primary diagnosis is that of an eating disorder.
At the age of 11 years I was diagnosed with anorexia, and since then struggled with debilitating bulimia, a binge eating disorder, with accompanying depression.
And prescription diet pills completely took away my need to eat, especially after I had binged, they served as a way of purging, along with laxatives and diuretics and excessive exercise.

I had enormous pressure on me when I started modeling again at the age of 43yrs, after 13yrs being out of the industry.
I also had joined the thriving Cape Town film industry as a featured film extra.
My income now depended on my looks.
Below are some of my modeling portfolio photos. (Also, two pictures of my new home in Fraserburg).

You can see the pressure that I was under to maintain a low body weight, that I am not sure would have been possible without prescription diet pills.
The other issue for my family is that my husband and myself had sold our house,and they were left with the dilemma of where I should live, at a time when professionals, especially my psychiatrist, were encouraging a court section.

The problem here is removing someone like myself from society to a long term institution where most of the inmates were court sectioned, where for the first time I was introduced to hard core street drugs, forming very close bonds with users who introduced me to mainlining methamphetamine, and I was also introduced to the manufacturers and distributors of GHB from the Cape Flats in Cape Town.

I just have to expose this.
The public and family needs to know that just locking someone who is suffering from a substance use disorder up for a year will not solve the problem.
It is in my opinion damaging.
It certainly was damaging for me.

I felt completely betrayed by my family, the very people whom I should have been able to turn to to get me out of a situation that I knew was damaging for me, kept me under the section, no matter how much I pleaded my case that the facility was damaging.
I want to stress the following points here, I was court sectioned by my family and a social worker, yet I was never interviewed by the social worker, and it was never explained to me that I had a right to fight the section in court.
Even criminals have a defense, and their day in court.
I never did.

It is only with the family’s side of the story that the section is issued, I never had a voice in any of this.
I feel I need to research this more, as this is just from my heart, my personal experience.
And why I am bringing this up today is that I have now joined the staff in a volunteer capacity here at Inner Peace to manage the marketing and social media and promotional work for Inner Peace.
It is the first time that I have worked since 31st December 2015.

I have been in treatment since May last year and I have lost all confidence in myself to fulfill a work position in society, in fact I can go as far as to say that I have lost all confidence in myself to live in the outside world, outside the walls of an institution.
I have got used to life in an institution, and although hard, life outside the walls of an institution seems harder now.
So today is a very important personal step in my journey.

I am going to have to learn to trust that I still have the capacity to be professional.
To get up every day and arrive on time consistently.
I have moved completely out of Inner Peace to a nearby cottage that I am sharing with the social worker who works here at Inner Peace.
I have to learn to trust that I can be on my own again.
That I can be in the cottage on my own, with myself. In other words, it has now become a fairly complex process to reintegrate me back into society and for me to learn that I can indeed trust myself to function in society again.
Today is the first step in this process.

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.

Amelia’s blog – part 5

I am moving up to FRASERBURG – this is going to be MY home for the foreseeable future – if not forever, then the next few years.this is where I need to be. This is a LIFE saving decision. No debate. No more SOUL searching or questions to be asked. I have the answers i need.and life now seems simpler knowing that this is my future life plan and purpose. My furniture is coming up from storage in Cape Town, a unit I  have been keeping my worldly belongings in since my husband and myself sold my Woodstock home in 2016, the year the wheels came off.after the sale of my home and the break down of my marriage, and I started to use GHB. So actually this is a deep relief – finally I am able to find an anchor in this world after being rudderless since the sale of my Woodstock home in May 2016,the HOME I had owned WITH MY husband – a loss, although caused by my actions and decisions, – a loss I have never been able to come to terms with, and have continued to muse over. So, in fact,  an anchor once again in this world, HERE in FRASERBURG. I realise it IS a crucial step in MY healing from my substance use disorder, and me being able to manage it. This is all part of a bigger plan that is coming TOGETHER. I didn’t come to Inner Peace by coincidence. I didn’t meet Johan and Joan,the directors here by mistake. In the AA Big Book of Alcoholics anonymous IT states that NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, HAPPENS IN GOD’S WORLD BY MISTAKE. THIS IS NOT A MISTAKE. THIS IS NOT COINCIDENCE. THIS IS, IF THERE IS A GOD, PART OF GOD’S PLAN. THIS I KNOW WITH EVERY FIBRE OF MY BEING. MY ORIGINAL INTENTION WHEN I WANTED TO COME TO THE KAROO TOWN OF FRASERBURG WAS TO BE ABLE TO WALK FREELY DOWN THE STREET WITHOUT BEING TAUNTED BY GHB. HERE I AM NOT TAUNTED BY MY DEMONS.

Amelia SB

Amelia’s blog – part 4

What went wrong?????
This is too difficult for me. I will have to write later.
Yet I am struggling to sit still with myself. This all happened so quickly.
I am sitting here in a state of shock and disbelief. It is now the following morning.
Johan is adamant that I pick myself up and we carry on where we left off, that I do not allow myself for ONE more minute TO buy into the part of my mind that is now telling ME that I am an addict and will never be able to do it. That is not MRT. THAT IS THE VERY THINKING THAT WILL KEEP ME STUCK. I CLEARLY DIDN’T WANT TO GIVE UP, IF I HAD, I WOULD HAVE CLEARED OUT MY MOTHER’S HOUSE, AND would be with my dealer right now in his flat.
So that was not it.
And I have been told not to analyze it too much,but in a nut shell I BECAME COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED BY THE IDEA OF STARTING OVER IN CAPE TOWN FROM SCRATCH,WITH NO MONEY, A HUSBAND THAT I WAS ONLY GOING TO SEE OCCASIONALLY, AND RETURNING TO A CITY WHICH I NOW INCREASINGLY REALISED WAS A TICKING TIME BOMB IN TERMS OF WITHSTANDING THE URGE TO USE GHB. JUST KNOWING THAT IT WAS ACCESSIBLE AND WAS CAPABLE OF KILLING EVERY EMOTION THAT I WAS SITTING WITH THAT SATURDAY AFTERNOON, WAS JUST TOO MUCH FOR ME TO WITHSTAND.
I HAD A LOADED GUN TO MY HEAD,AND I PULLED THE TRIGGER.
AND YES THE NEXT THING I KNEW I HAD A PARAMEDIC ASKING ME WHAT I HAD TAKEN,AND TAKING ME TO HOSPITAL.
NONE OF THIS WAS MY INTENTION.
IT HAPPENED THAT QUICKLY.
LETS LOOK AT THE DAY AGAIN.
I WAKE UP IN A SPACE OF INTENSE DEPRESSION, A DEPRESSION THAT SEEMED TO GATHER MOMENTUM DURING THE COURSE OF THE MORNING, A DEPRESSION THAT SEEMED TO STEM FROM MY ORIGINAL EXPLANATION AS TO WHY I ALWAYS CONTINUE TO USE,AND THAT IS NOT BEING ABLE TO ACCEPT AND COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT MY MARRIAGE AND HOME AND ENTIRE LIFE IN CAPE TOWN HAD TO START FROM SCRATCH DUE TO ME HAVING SPENT ALL MY MONEY ON USING, GAMBLING AND LIVING THE HIGH LIFE BETWEEN JUNE 2017-May 2018.
It just seemed seeing my husband again, no matter how successful it had been,bought up a loss and longing that increasing became too much for me to sit with.
at 1pm I was on the phone to Inner Peace explaining that I felt I couldn’t make it in Cape Town, and 4 hours later I had collapsed on GHB outside my mother’s house.
A counselor left Inner PEACE in FRASERBURG at 5-30am the following morning to come and offer me unconditional love and support and hope.
And the next day I was on bus back to FRASERBURG. My safe place, where I have no access to GHB.
I fought the urge to get off the bus at Bellville with every ounce of strength in me, as that is where my dealer lives, and I knew that he would collect me, and that I would be able to stay with him. My cravings were so intense that day, I was not sure how much longer I could fight them. I just knew I had to stay on that bus and get the hell out of Cape Town.
Once I was through the Huguenot tunnel I could breathe again. There was now distance between me and GHB. I started to cry with relief.
And this time the song that described how I felt about my return to Inner Peace,and a therapist who knew my battle, and would not in any way judge me for not being strong enough to withstand the pull of GHB, was Pinks song “Love me anyway”.
ALL I KNEW WAS THAT I HAD TO GET TO A PLACE WHERE I COULD NOT ACCESS GHB, AND TO A PLACE WHERE SOMEONE, EVEN IF IT WAS JUST ONE OTHER HUMAN BEING, WHO IN THIS CASE HAPPENS TO BE MY THERAPIST AND CLINICAL DIRECTOR OF INNER PEACE, UNDERSTANDS EXACTLY WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH, BUT ALSO KNOWS AND HAS WITNESSED MY POTENTIAL AND AS A RESULT WILL HELP ME NOW FIND MY LIFE’S PURPOSE.
I DO NOT HAVE TO FIND IT ALONE,I WILL BE SUPPORTED EVERY STEP OF WAY,I JUST NEED TO GO BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD.
DO I GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL IDEA WE HAD OF ME WRITING MY BOOK? An idea we were pursuing before I started my blog.
Tomorrow I will check in with Johan again.

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