With the growth of Bethesda’s international reputation and our incredibly attractive financial packages, more and more enquiries are not only coming in from various countries of Africa but we are also catering for more and more clients from as far away as Europe and the United States of America.
Since 2005 Bethesda Addictions Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre has worked with numerous clients from around the world, and in doing so we have learned several crucial lessons.
Plettenberg Bay is one of the most sought after holiday locations on the African continent, and it is for this reason that local holiday magazines sell it as: The jewel of The Garden Route; tranquil and charming, hospitable and rather special. Originally christened “Bahia Formosa” (beautiful bay) by early Portuguese explorers, Plettenberg Bay offers the visitor miles of sweeping, un spoilt golden beaches, a dramatic rocky peninsula, intriguing lagoons and estuaries, towering indigenous forests and unpolluted rivers and sea. With its exceptional climate and beautiful view sites over the Indian Ocean, Plettenberg Bay is perfect for tourists interested in exploring, watching or just lazing.
Whales really do play in our bay and dolphins really do show off for our tourists, they really do – However – and this is an essential ‘however’, if these attractions are your motivational reasons for coming to Plettenberg Bay for addiction treatment, I feel it’s only right that I share my experience with you and share how I believe that you could be throwing your money away and that you may well be drinking again before your pilot asks you to fasten your seatbelts as your return flight commences its decent in to your local airport.
Many people seek out exotic destinations like Plettenberg Bay, for the geographical benefits of being able to step out from under the pressures and expectations of their immediate contexts, which is great and it really works. The danger is though, once they arrive, and get through their detox period, several other attractions creep in and their addiction treatment programme slips down to second or third on their list of immediate priorities, and that is the conception of every relapse relapse. Overseas clients get talking with other overseas clients, and they then start making friends within the local recovery community, and before anyone knows it, the responsibilities of returning to their loved ones gets drowned under plans to ‘stay in this beautiful climate’. Manipulations begin to make ‘doing extended care here’ sound like a good idea, first to their family members back home and then to the treatment centre that they are in – that’s how we know it is a manipulation, they should talk to us first but they win the support of their fear driven family members back home first.
Personal experience has repeated the same lesson for us in Plettenberg Bay; those who choose to turn it into an extended holiday, usually end up relapsing through laziness or they start to exist outside of the law by finding themselves a part-time work, in contravention of Visa restrictions where thousands of locals are out work!.
What they then think is recovery is just naive group think shared and sustained by like-minded overseas clients, each of whom very often relapse as soon as the eventually return to reality.
Whilst relapse can very often prove to be a death sentence in any context, a relapse for overseas clients coming in to the South African context could fast-track that outcome. Whilst it is the easiest thing in the world to stay safe here, it is the second easiest thing to end up in trouble, and a drinking alcoholic or a using addict will have an attraction towards troublesome decisions.
Therefore, Bethesda Addictions Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre, working hand-in-hand with various European referral agencies extends to the loved ones back home, the assurance of personal security in that we only offer a supervised and concentrated treatment period of two months.
That two months treatment programme has it’s entire focus on Step 4 of the 12-Step Recovery Programme:
“We made a searching a fearless moral inventory of ourselves”
In Step Four we call it a “moral” inventory because we compile a list of traits and behaviours that have transgressed our highest, or moral, values. We also inventory our “good” traits and the behaviours that represent them. In our life’s moral inventory the defects or dysfunctional behaviours might include some that once worked; some dysfunctional behaviours may have saved our lives as children, but they are now out-of-date, self-defeating, and cause us a great deal of trouble when we use them as adults.
A Hunger for Healing, p. 61
Our logic? People coming into treatment for the first few attempts can very often find themselves stuck in the treatment-relapse-treatment-relapse cycle until, for those who make it, their recovery programme finally lands upon solid recovery foundations.
We inevitably find the fundamental reason behind this phenomenon to be quite simple; the lack of a life changing understanding of Step 1 of the 12-Step Recovery Programme:
‘We admitted we are powerless over our addiction and that our lives have become unmanageable’
Step 1 is the first step to freedom. I admit to myself that something is seriously wrong in my life. I have created messes in my life. Perhaps my whole life is a mess, or maybe just important parts are a mess. I admit this and quit trying to play games with myself any more. I realize that my life has become unmanageable in many ways. It is not under my control any more. I do things that I later regret doing and tell myself that I will not do them again. But I do. I keep on doing them, in spite of my regrets, my denials, my vows, my cover-ups and my facades. The addiction has become bigger than I am. The first step is to admit the truth of where I am, that I am really powerless over this addiction and that I need help. – From 12Step.org
So, as an aid to thoroughly explaining the foundational dynamics of Step 1 (powerlessness and unmanageable), with the goal of achieving the pre-requisite level of surrender necessary for lengthy recovery upon a solid foundation, Bethesda Addictions Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre offers it’s overseas clients a unique Step 4 window of opportunity, whilst residing in comfort, under the professional and seasoned experiences of Bethesda’s addictions counsellors, to unburden from the devastating and destructive impulses and urges which have governed life so far.
Everything Plettenberg Bay has to offer, remains on offer, but as an added ingredient to what will amount to being a life changing experience as opposed to being a life threatening distraction from keeping the main thing the main thing.
‘Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
This can be quite difficult because no one enjoys discussing their defects with another person. We think we have done well enough in admitting these things to ourselves, but in reality we usually find a solitary self-appraisal insufficient. Many of us thought it necessary to go much further. We will be more reconciled to discussing ourselves with another person when we see good reasons why we should do so. The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking and/or using. Time after time newcomers have tried to keep to themselves certain facts about their lives. Trying to avoid this humbling experience, they have turned to easier methods. Almost invariably they got drunk. Having persevered with the rest of the program, they wondered why they fell. We think the reason is that they never completed their housecleaning. They took inventory all right, but hung on to some of the worst items in stock. They only thought they had lost their egoism and fear; they only thought they had humbled themselves. But they had not learned enough of humility, fearlessness and honesty, in the sense we find it necessary, until they told someone else all their life story. A.A. Big Book p.72-73
At Bethesda Addictions Treatment and Rehabilitations Centre it will be our hope to do a partial Step 5 with our overseas clients, affording them the opportunity to expose and deal with the worst of the worst of their addictions carnage.
We then encourage our clients to return home with the bulk of their Step 4 and to use it as a Step 5 introduction to what we hope will be a recovery focused relationship with their recovery sponsor at home.