The Spirit of Serene Retreat (Sabah)

The road is long With many a winding turn That leads us to who knows where Who knows where But I’m strong Strong enough to carry him He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother So on we go His welfare is my concern No burden is he to bear We’ll get there For I know He would not encumber me He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother Bridge: If I’m laden at all I’m laden with sadness That everyone’s heart Isn’t filled with gladness And love for one another It’s a long, long road From which there is no return While we’re on the way to there Why not share And the load doesn’t weigh me down at all He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother He’s my brother He ain’t heavy, He’s my brother

By Hannah Russell, Molly Hyman and Linda Smith (C of Bob Russell)

Things that help in rehab

Grow to self-empowerment Retain honesty What goes around, comes around No free lunch Open-mindedness Willingness Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it Consistency Personal growth before vested status Principals before personalities Do the right thing, everything else will follow Responsibility You can’t keep it, unless you give it away Take charge of your life Replace fear, anger, despair – with love, forgiveness and hope Be self aware and self nurturing Now is the time As I change my approach, I change my results Me, myself and I All that I give is given to myself Appreciate all the good things, and people in your life It’s not what happens that determines my life, it’s what I do about it Cultivate a positive, hopeful outlook Take charge of your life Let go of the past and forgive It is better to give, than to receive I make a difference – I count Nothing is by chance, everything is a lesson for me to learn Unwritten philosophy – honesty – – trust your environment – – love – – responsible care and concern – – trust – – understand, rather than to be understood – – what goes around shall come around – – to be aware is to be alive – – no free lunch – – you can’t keep it, unless you give it away – – personal growth, before vested status – – compensation is valid – – sincerity – – responsibility – – be careful what you ask for, you might just get it – – blind faith – – consistency – – no cheap grace – – do your thing right, everything else will follow – Slogans – hang on though – – one day at a time – – talk the talk, walk the walk – – be open – – easy does it – – take a grip – – keep it simple – – only you can do it, but you can’t do it alone – – if it doesn’t apply, let it fly – – find a spot – – hang in there, it ain’t that deep – – reach out – – rock the boat – – talk about it – – make yourself responsible – – no passengers, except for crew on board – – clean and sober – – find a spot – – go through the motions – – feelings functions – – you slack, you go back – – comfort the disturb, and disturb the comfort – – respond rather than react – – principals before personalities –

Going Home – A guide to families who are welcoming a recovering addict back home

When it is time for your daughter, son, spouse or other family member to return home, you will need to be prepared. Mistakes can cause relapses and lack of preparation at home can result in stresses on the family. Be as prepared as possible. For simplicity, the text below is written as if it is a child returning, but the information applies equally to adults, fathers, mothers etc. Dealing with the change from rehab to home Rehab is just the first step towards reintegrating an addict into a normal social environment. Coming home is a serious test of the success of the rehabilitation process. Therefore view home as an extension of the rehab environment, not freedom from it. Prepare the home beforehand by removing all temptations such as alcohol and money stashes. The recovering addict needs structure and control. Decide on a routine that blends with the rest of the family. Work out the details and write it down clearly. You can consult with the Centre to clarify this but have it ready before you son or daughter arrives home from rehab. The routine starts immediately and you must STICK TO IT. Through addiction and related behaviours, the addict has lost his or her rights. Therefore: Do not delegate decisions to him or her Do not negotiate Do not explain your reasoning Just tell him or her how it will be.

Rights must be earned with time, based on adherence to the rules and proof that recovery is ongoing.

Include in the routine: Aspects of hygiene – check routinely how he or she feels Waking up and going to sleep times Meal times Exercise times and nature of the exercise – fix the times and durations Contributions to the family functioning – chores. Make sure the recovering addict has specific, well-defined family responsibilities. Time for spiritual activities Time for self-improvement Time for family interactions Make sure the routine is balanced in all areas

Be warned. During their addiction, addicts will throw away all aspects of quality of life. This will include things like doing tasks poorly or incompletely. Be strict about this and demand quality in all aspects of the daily routine.

Encourage each family member to communicate openly about concerns and joys Ensure each family member understands that he or she has an important role in all family communications. Hidden concerns become cracks that just get worse unless dealt with. Work at keeping the balance in the family and not spending all the family’s resources on the recovering addict Encourage all family members to work on their relationships with all other family members. Make a special effort to ensure the recovering addict builds or rebuilds relationships with all other family members and deal with all problems encountered Attend aftercare and family support at the Centre on Wednesday evenings Make sure the recovering addict knows he or she has the support of the family and feels free to talk about his or her fears and times of weakness Make sure all treatment is fair. It will be tough as in “Tough Love”, but still needs to be fair. Provide all care and love that is needed – but that is all. Watch for behaviours or paraphernalia (eg secrecy, smoking equipment, needles) that suggests the use of drugs. Get acquainted with what these signs are.

The recovering addict should not be allowed freedom to move about outside the home alone. Therefore when he or she goes anywhere, someone responsible must go along riding shotgun. Know where they are and when they must return You have the right to check on them if you want to, so do so at least some of the times

The recovering addict should not be allowed freedom to move about outside the home alone. Therefore when he or she goes anywhere, someone responsible must go along riding shotgun. Know where they are and when they must return You have the right to check on them if you want to, so do so at least some of the times

Healthy eating is essential. Unbalanced diets lead to unbalanced lifestyles. Take special care with balancing meals and avoid fast foods and other unhealthy foods. Sweets often become a replacement for drugs. Control access to sweets and allow them under supervision. Make sure they do not become a new addiction or threat to healthy living. Addicts tend to neglect hygiene and may easily slip back into these bad ways. Be especially strict on matter of hygiene. Compliment the good and correct the bad, strictly. Rebuild self-pride.

Money is a way to freedom, and the fuel for temptation. Never supply money. Just buy what the recovering addict needs. He or she will demand / request / try to persuade you that he or she deserves things like a car, cell-phone etc. No car. No cell phone. Privileges can be offered in time for “good behaviour” and sticking to the plan. However, privileges must be related to well-being, not things that can retrigger addictive behaviours (such as an unaccompanied trip to the movies). Avoid luxuries. Focus on a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Needs, not wants. Do not open the wants door. If it is not needed, it must not be provided. Intimate relationships should be avoided for at least 2 years. There is enough rebuilding to work on. Adding another complicated relationship to deal with will add instability Keep him or her away from old references – like places where drugs were used in secret, friends that were part of the problem, suppliers who will try to regain lost business Avoid triggers that led to using drugs. These may be anything from a specific place to an action of the family that disturbed the addict.

Most addicts will have damaged or even destroyed their education, and they will probably feel socially inferior because of this. They must be encouraged to rebuild their self esteem in this regard. But be careful not to add to their feelings of inferiority by highlighting this problem. Look forwards and not backwards. What can we do to fix this, not what did we do wrong to make it happen. Help the recovering addict to work on enabling himself through further studies or skill acquisition. Hobbies and interests will offer replacement activities to keep addictive behaviours away. If you do not yet know what interests the recovering addict has, help him or her to find out. Help to establish activities and hobbies around these interests. They may even become occupation opportunities. Make sure the recovering addict is not put into a situation where they will be, or will feel inadequate. This will be a sure way to return him or her to addiction. Empower them first through education and skills development.