What is it really like in Rehab? I recently spent a very powerful two weeks as a yoga/meditation teacher at the beautiful Gunnebah Addiction Recovery Retreat in North NSW.
First off - the location. Situated about twenty minutes outside of Murwillumbah, Gunnebah is a former Yoga Retreat. Hand-rendered concrete buildings, chickens, goats, rolling green hills, a couple of dogs and a very enthusiastic border collie puppy makes for an atmosphere that is both friendly, peaceful and conducive to healing. The residents are not allowed cars (they must be dropped off and collected at the end of their thirty day stay) but while they are on site, their time is their own. There are yoga and fitness classes each day, seminars on things like relapse prevention and gratitude, creative sessions, excursions offsite and weekly visits from clinical staff (doctors and psychologists). Residents are encouraged to participate in 'Love in Action' each day, essentially a couple of hours of karma yoga (or the 'yoga of action') helping out around the property - fixing fences, gardening, one resident used his free time to design, build and paint a new chicken shed.
Although the setting is idyllic, recovering from addiction takes work. A lot of difficult inner work and a willingness to sit with some of the uncomfortable emotions they have been repressing with drugs and alcohol.
We all do this to differing degrees, avoiding unpleasant emotional states by using drugs, alcohol, food, sex or social media (I know I am very quick to whip out my phone and engage in some mindless scrolling rather than experience 'boredom' or 'waiting'. But what happens when we try to cut ourselves off from experiencing things we do not want to experience is a kind of numbing, and we end up numbing ourselves to some of the good parts of life as well. This is an ongoing inner work for all of us - sitting with feelings we don't want.
What I noticed during my time at the rehab centre was that some were willing to do the work, and some were not.
I have had people close to me who have suffered from addiction, these people have now recovered. I think the reason they have recovered is that they really, really wanted to. And until someone really, really wants to change, is committed to change and is willing to devote themselves to that change, then there are very few things or people in the world that can help them.
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