Australia is one of the best countries in the world to have a drug problem. It’s one of those countries where the government will allow you to go to rehab and basically pay for you to go through the Centerlink health benefits package. There are some private rehabs like South Pacific, The Raymond Hader clinic in Melbourne and the Sanctuary in Byron Bay that are great but can also be expensive if you do not have private health insurance.
If you simply want to go away for a few months and clean up your act and do it on a budget my suggestion would be to try ‘The Buttery’ in Byron Bay,’‘We Help Ourselves’ or ‘William Booth’ in Sydney. Shorter 28 day options in Sydney would be ‘Foundation House’ in Rozelle and there is also Ward 65 at Concord hospital which is a four week C.B.T based treatment option and very thorough.
If you have private health insurance and three weeks free you can’t go past South Pacific Private which uses the Pia Melody Relational- Developmental model, a lot of group work, yoga, meditation, extremely professional health workers and nurses, art therapy and other stress management options like daily beach walks as well as 12 step meetings and process groups.
So what happens at rehab? All rehabs are different in style, in what they can offer and length of time. If you have been struggling with addiction for a while and have been attending 12 step meetings like C.M.A., A.A. ,N.A .or SMART Recovery and you still don’t feel that you are getting anywhere then this might be the time to think about going. Generally any medium length rehab which is 4-8 months works on the idea that no major or traumatic life issues are looked at in depth for the first three months. The first three months are about ‘download groups’ or process groups where clients get to learn what their triggers for using are. They then talk about these ideas to develop a deeper understanding. Then there are groups that help you learn about your relationship with your feelings and you start to learn how to identify and process them better. Then there is the learning of life skills and other groups like anger management, dealing with conflict, boundary work, co dependency, building community supports, and so on. Most programs also have a stress management aspect that includes activities such as Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and exercise so that clients begin to get an awareness of how managing stress decreases anxiety and in turn decreases the stress that causes people to use drugs and alcohol. Many treatment centers have counselors and therapists that offer ‘one on one’ sessions or at least access to talk in times of crisis and most treatment centers have staff who understand the accompanying mental health concerns like depression, bi-polar, anxiety etc. and this too is a good time to get medication and support structures in place so that upon leaving you are able to better manage your mental health and therefore in turn be more likely to stay abstinent or at least moderate and safely use of your substance of choice. Some rehabs will take you to 12 step meetings regularly and some will work more from a C.B.T angle. Ultimately these first three months focus on the individual learning how to stay abstinent or learn about harm minimization ideas. This needs to be a solid and clear foundation upon which the rest of one’s recovery can be built. After this point a client can then, if they are robust and grounded enough, begin to look at deeper childhood issues, trauma or abuse. The idea is that once these issues have been examined and the energy of them has been released then they will not take up so much time and focus in one’s life and this then allows you to move forward with new skills and tools for living and freed up to enjoy each day without needing to use drugs and alcohol as a crutch. While rehabs often have the primary goal of helping you learn how to manage drug use or to help you become abstinent the added benefits are that you come out the other side with better communication skills, increased self awareness, greater confidence and self esteem and more developed living tools, not to mention an understanding of how to manage stress and the capacity to then help your mates get through similar challenges if required.
Most treatment centers have certain criteria regarding having to be properly detoxed for at least 4/5 days either through a detox unit like Gorman House, Ward 64 at Concord Hospital Nepean Detox or the Alf Dawkins Detox in Surry Hills. They usually need you also to have any court cases adjourned for 6- 8 weeks from entry so that you can get focused on the program. In addition it is best that you have any medical or medication concerns or mental health issues sorted as much as possible before coming in so that you are able to start working on yourself emotionally and mentally from the beginning of treatment. Most of these services are really gay friendly, especially the Buttery, South Pacific Private, Ward 64 and We Help Ourselves.