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believe

Believe will challenge and change your view on addiction and the counselling process. It vividly depicts the harrowing journey of two young addicts on their path to recovery. Extracts from their deeply moving journals along with Raphael Aron’s session notes unveil the raw and complex nature of addiction as well as the crucial role played by the counsellor. A profoundly humane and positive perspective is uncovered, holding the key to redemption. This book is a must read for parents of children of all ages, addicts and their loved ones, school and community leaders as well as professionals working in this field.

“Not only a valuable guide to treatment, reading this book is a healing experience...” - Dr Rebecca Adams, MB.BS

believe From Addiction to Redemption

“A kooky bus with syringes painted on the side used to drive around my neighbourhood. The man behind the wheel was Raphael Aron, the anti-drug guy. Far from an armchair commentator, Raphael is someone who has actually gone to the shadows of society to help people, and returned with an original insight.” John Safran, presenter, ABC television and Triple J radio

For further information, visit www.believebook.com.au

Raphael Aron

“...his personal and enlightening account of the addiction issue ...will enable the reader to gain a profound understanding of the problems faced by addicts in their struggle to regain control of their lives.” Mr John Winneke AC. RFD, QC
 Chairman, ODYSSEY HOUSE Victoria,
Retired Judge and former President, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria

www.fontainepress.com

Raphael Aron


“Raphael Aron has been able to penetrate and understand the minds of addicts. He provides the reader with insight into their complicated relationships and the difficulties they experience...This book should be read by all addicts, and especially by the families of still suffering and recovering addicts.” Dr Naham (Jack) Warhaft, MBBS, Grad. Dip. Substance Abuse, FANZCA, FAChAM. Specialist Physician in Addiction Medicine; past Medical Director, Victorian Doctors Health Program

“Despite substantial publicity and information drives by government, today’s youth still fail to grasp the insidious and destructive capacity of illicit drugs. The poignant stories contained in Raphael’s latest book, Believe should be read by every parent and concerned family member.” Dr Alan Rembach, BSc (Hons) Monash PhD (Unimelb) Postdoctoral Research Fellow CSIRO

“Believe provides a compelling insight into the life and struggle which surrounds drug addiction as well as the effects that addiction has on the extended family. For parents and community leaders the book sheds light on one of the most pressing issues confronting young people today.” Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO, The Jewish House Crisis Centre, Sydney

“This deeply compassionate, honest and wise book about addictions and the struggle to overcome them should be on every psychotherapist’s and psychiatrist’s bookshelf. And on the shelf of every addict wrestling with the difficult demons that block the arduous yet deeply meaningful road to recovery. Raphael Aron gives us an essential text on addiction by taking us inside a recovering addict’s psychotherapy.” Dr Rebecca Adams, MB.BS, Consultant Psychiatrist Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


believe From Addiction to Redemption

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Published by Fontaine Press P.O. Box 948, Fremantle Western Australia 6959 www.fontainepress.com Printed in Australia Š Raphael Aron 2009 National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication data: Author: Aron, Raphael. Title: Believe : from addiction to redemption / Raphael Aron. Edition: 1st ed. ISBN: 9780980417081 (pbk.) Subjects: Aron, Raphael. Drug addicts--Rehabilitation. Youth--Drug use. Drug abuse counseling. Dewey Number: 362.293 No part of this publication may be translated, reproduced, or transmitted in any form or by any means, in whole or in part, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The author and publisher do not take responsibility for any possible consequences of adopting the support measures recommended in this book. While the methods have provided significant benefit to many people, this book is an informational guide only and should not be considered as a substitute for consultation with an appropriately qualified and licensed practitioner. For further information about this book and the author, please visit: www.believebook.com.au All enquiries: liberty@planet.net.au


Dedicated to the hundreds of addicts who have sought help at the Gateway Family Counselling Centre in Melbourne, Australia. Many have survived, some have not. Every addict is an individual with a unique personality and potential. Each person is born to fulfill his or her own unique mission in life. Some have been privileged to fulfill this task; others seem to be cut down too soon. We are encouraged by those who have survived despite desperate odds, and are often inspired by the lives of those who struggled with these odds but lost. We cannot make up for their unfulfilled dreams and possibilities, yet we dare not overlook their cries.


Contents acknowledgements

ix

INTRODUCTION

xii

SECTION A – THE INITIAL WORK Chapter 1 Welcoming Sarah Chapter 2 Hello and Good Morning! Chapter 3 Honesty Chapter 4 I’m an addict

2 12 20 27

SECTION B - UNDERSTANDING ADDICTION Chapter 5 A love affair Chapter 6 The battered wife syndrome Chapter 7 A Letter from Sarah

34 42 48

SECTION C – FACING THE DILEMMAS Chapter 8 The choices Chapter 9 The twelve steps Chapter 10 Bup, rehab – taking the plunge Chapter 11 Off to rehab

56 62 68 75

SECTION D - LOOKING AHEAD Chapter 12 The homecoming honeymoon Chapter 13 Emotional pins and needles Chapter 14 Dealing with feeling Chapter 15 Doing your own thing

88 94 100 107

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SECTION E – WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD Chapter 16 Thinking of others Chapter 17 The pain of non-acceptance Chapter 18 Please explain Chapter 19 Lapse or relapse Chapter 20 Who am I?

116 122 129 136 144

SECTION F - RELATIONSHIPS AND INTIMACY Chapter 21 Relationships, dating and sex Chapter 22 Intimacy Chapter 23 Addictive relationships

152 158 165

SECTION G – BON VOYAGE Chapter 24 Saying goodbye 172 Chapter 25 A word to Sarah’s parents 180 Chapter 26 Adam – a precious life wasted 187 EPILOGUE

193

APPENDICES Appendix A Treatment options 200 Appendix B The twelve steps of AA 209 Appendix C The twelves steps of dual recovery anonymous 212 BIBLIOGRAPHY

215

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Introduction As a drug counsellor, I have been accused of wasting my time with people who have no real chance of recovery. Seemingly well-intentioned people have suggested that for every addict, there are hundreds of ‘real people’ who have a genuine desire to deal with their problems and issues. Underlying this view is the belief that addicts are no longer really human and that through their behaviour, they have effectively forfeited their place on planet earth. Drug counselling is as much about changing community attitudes as it is about changing the behaviour and mindset of addicts. On a basic level, drug counselling is about keeping the addict alive while he is given an opportunity to redraw his roadmap for life. On a deeper level, it is a journey into the addict’s mind, heart and soul. Drug and alcohol counselling is set against a backdrop of high risk and physical danger, for as long as any individual is using, there is a risk of death or permanent damage. The stakes are very high. Counsellors face the challenge of engaging the addict in a therapeutic process while at the same time attempting to minimise the risk created by the drug use. While traditionally the ‘success rate’ for drug and alcohol counselling is regarded as relatively low, I believe it very much depends on the definition of success as well as the expectations and goals of the counselling process. - xii -


On a fundamental level, questions remain regarding the nature of drug addiction. The experts are divided. Should addiction be considered a disease, as emphasised by the Twelve Step approach and Alcoholics Anonymous? This view suggests that addiction is a disease in the similar way that diabetes or hepatitis are considered diseases. Simply put, some people will contract the disease, others won’t. Opposing this view is the theory that addiction is symptomatic of underlying issues. This concept, often referred to as the dual diagnosis approach, assumes that addictive behaviour is a symptom not a cause and that the real issues are the underlying psychological and emotional issues which have led to the addictive behaviour. It follows that as far as effectiveness is concerned, the addict needs to be treated for chemical dependence alongside an appropriate therapeutic approach which addresses the psychological and emotional issues at hand. The Twelve Step approach to addictions is controversial because of the paradoxical belief that to gain control of one’s life, one must give up control to a Higher Power. This concept, which is a cornerstone of the Alcoholics Anonymous movement, requires adherents to the program to recognise that they are powerless to control their addiction; hence the need for the addict to submit to a Higher Power. Nevertheless, the incredible popularity of the Twelve Step model for treatment as well as the accompanying growth of Alcoholics Anonymous and other Anonymous groups is testimony to the - xiii -


effectiveness of this approach. It must be considered as a very viable option for addicts seeking rehabilitation. Meanwhile, the treatment scene is changing. New medical antidotes enable addicts to detoxify and remain drug free without having to participate in in-patient or residential programs. For some addicts, this allows their family life or employment to continue while they undergo intensive counselling. In relation to heroin, two such antidotes are buprenorphine and naltrexone which act as blockers, removing the craving for the drug. For many addicts, these antidotes have provided an alternative to methadone which is also the subject of much controversy considering its addictive nature and other factors. For others, the ability for addicts to participate in home-based withdrawal programs has also altered the landscape. Innovative shorter term therapeutic community programs are being developed as the emphasis on community based models for treatment is gaining momentum. The effects of addiction are far reaching. In a similar way as heroin controls the addict, the addict controls the family. Every move of the family, what to do on weekends, whether to go for a holiday or what valuables could be left in the open, are dictated by the behaviour of the addict. He, in turn, is controlled by the drug; where he will get his next hit, how he will pay for it, how he will conceal it and where he will go to score next. Drug counselling is a complex and demanding process. Most addicts are extremely pessimistic about - xiv -


their chances of recovery. Many have seen their peers die as a result of drugs and many of those who have died have previously participated in counselling or rehab programs. There is a prevailing sense that counselling is a waste of time or, at best, something one undertakes to make somebody else happy. I believe that ultimately all drug and alcohol counselling, including the Twelve Step program, are about empowering the individual and restoring their sense of individuality and free choice. I believe an effective counselling program must incorporate individual empowerment as a primary goal. Most important, however, is the ability of both the addict and his loved ones to believe in the possibility of recovery. Such a belief can only be engendered by a counsellor who shares the same sense of confidence and optimism. My experience has taught me that many addicts, if not most, genuinely question their ability to kick their habit and move beyond their addiction. And when I beg to disagree with that belief, I am often told: “But you say that to everyone; after all, that’s your job.� I argue back that the very fact that they have presented for counselling or even just one discussion is an indication of some desire and motivation to move forward. The fact that we are sitting in the same room is significant in that it may represent the first tiny step in the long battle which lies ahead. That battle is an onerous one for both the addict and the counsellor. As has been pointed out by many experts in this field, effective counselling draws on numerous characteristics of the counsellor, including sensitivity, dependability, - xv -


consistency, and the ability to respect the addict. I believe that these traits need to be combined with a sense of empathy and optimism. Empathy is essential for the counsellor to be able to identify with the addict, and optimism to empower him to see beyond the death and devastation that result from addiction. Effective counselling also calls for evaluation techniques, screening, assessment and referral skills as well as a continuity of the relationship between the counsellor and the individual who seeks help. It is a sad reality that one of the downfalls of some government agencies is the staff turnover and a lack of this crucial continuity. Addicts find it extremely difficult to develop trust with anyone – family, friends and counsellors. Once having done so with a counsellor, the need to do it again and again with a second or third person can be extremely trying and counter-productive. Another component of effective counselling for addictions is the involvement of the family in the therapeutic process. Many families are forced to deal with feelings of guilt in relation to the addiction of a loved one. Invariably, parents question the degree of responsibility they share in acknowledging the predicament of their children. Often, their sense of shame and embarrassment forces them to lie to their friends and peers about the nature of the problems confronting them. Instead of revealing that their loved one has signed up to a residential program, they suggest he is on vacation. They will invent a series of ingenious reasons to explain why he is no longer in

- xvi -


employment, has lost his girlfriend and is rarely seen at family gatherings. Counselling a family faced with addiction involves a whole new set of variables. It is not uncommon for a family to become destabilised once a loved one stops using drugs. This often results in the precipitation of new crises involving other family members who may begin to ‘act out.’ Many families find it very challenging to adapt to life without the presence of an addict and all the ramifications of addictive behaviour. In addition, the personal relationship of the addict’s parents is put under the microscope. Sometimes, there is substantial divergence between the views of the mother and father. One parent may be more accommodating and trusting while the other takes a harder and less forgiving stance. The dissymmetry which underlies these differences often reaches far deeper into the fundamentals of their relationships and may even provide clues regarding the fall of their loved one into the drug scene in the first instance. An effective treatment plan will ensure that all these issues are being addressed. Indeed, there is ample evidence to show that drug and alcohol counselling which involves the whole family has a better chance of a favourable outcome. I believe that regardless of the fate and future of the addict, families who commit to the counselling process undergo significant change. As complex relationships are put under the microscope, the various parties involved are forced to reassess their place in the family

- xvii -


and their relevance to the addiction issue at hand. It can be an onerous process, but ultimately a very rewarding one. My own experience working with addicts who have completed residential programs clearly demonstrates that the relapse rate of those who continue with counselling is significantly lower than those who choose not to do so. Former addicts are quick to testify that counselling was an integral and indispensable part of the recovery process. This book includes various anecdotes and stories of addicts with whom I have worked over many years. A number of quotations are taken from their journals or from letters they have written to me. More significantly, the book documents the life of two addicts who were part of my practice and records my counselling sessions with ‘Sarah’, a twenty eight year old woman who started using heroin at the age of seventeen. Her counselling lasted for just over a year. During that time, Sarah participated in a residential program followed by a number of family sessions involving her parents and siblings. Significantly, Sarah kept a very personal and articulate diary in which she recorded her responses to the counselling process as well as her progress in the residential program. In particular, the diary records some of the pertinent yet painful issues surrounding Sarah’s family. Sarah’s diary records the transformation of an addict who could not look at herself in the mirror, to a young woman with a zest for life and a keenness to embrace the future. Her notes complement my records, - xviii -


providing the reader with an insight into both sides of the counselling process. Sarah’s prognosis at the commencement of counselling was poor. Today, she has reclaimed her independence and her life. Sarah knows that the battle is never over and that having been an addict for such a long time, she remains vulnerable to the possibility of relapse. Nevertheless, her progress in the face of overwhelming odds has been admirable and her story is both touching and inspiring. The book also records the writings of another addict, Adam, who was eighteen years old when he started using heroin. His addiction lasted for almost two years - not because he recovered but because he died as a result of an overdose. Like Sarah, Adam completed a rehab program and looked forward to a creative future. Adam had expressed the hope that his literary gift would one day benefit others. Tragically, that hope may have been fulfilled with the inclusion of Adam’s writings in this book. Adam’s death was particularly tragic because it happened as he was beginning to emerge from the hell of addiction. He had been clean for several months but suddenly and unexpectedly relapsed. His writings recall his experiences in rehab, the hope derived from counselling and his dreams for the future. Adam’s poetry and prose appear as a preface to each chapter in this book. Adam’s poignant life story speaks volumes about man’s innate need for love and family. His eloquent writing which I have copied without changes or - xix -


alterations, portrays a life of pain and suffering and his efforts to reach out to a new family and peer group. I hope that in recounting the highs and lows of his short life, I am doing justice to his memory and the legacy he left behind. Every addict has something to offer others in terms of behaviour, relationship and family. The numerous lessons to be learnt from the addict’s experience are often hidden behind the misery of addiction. Those experiences cover the full spectrum of human experience and psyche. Human emotions, family connections and alliances, spirituality and the meaning of life, are all put to the test by the challenge of addiction. There are very few emotions that are not present in the dynamics of an addict’s life. Despite the trauma of the addict’s life, these experiences are invaluable. The insights that they provide into the human condition are powerful and compelling. Rarely, however, are they shared with families who are suffering the daily reality of addiction or with those suffering the pain of addiction. In this book, I draw from these experiences in the hope that they will be instructive and instrumental in helping others overcome their challenges. Writing this book has been difficult, even painful. If the counselling process has challenged my beliefs and values, recording the more intimate details of many addicts’ lives has certainly not been easy. I have powerful memories of Sarah’s first appointment. I recall my sense of joy as she learnt how to smile and laugh again. The pain of Adam’s death lingers on and - xx -


even today, years after the event, I struggle to make sense of his short tragic life. Reading his poetry and his writing evokes very powerful memories. Nevertheless, I feel honoured to have worked with Sarah and Adam as I do with the hundreds of other individuals and families I have seen over the past twenty five years. Every drug is different as are the personalities and families involved in addiction. While Sarah and Adam were both heroin addicts, I believe that the issues discussed in this book are relevant to the abuse of the full range of drugs, including alcohol and legal pharmaceuticals. This book is about life and the individual’s struggle to establish a meaningful identity in a complex world. Sarah and Adam’s stories are powerful reminders of man’s innate need to belong and be loved. The lessons to be learnt from their experiences are as relevant to individuals and families from all walks of life as they are to professionals in the helping profession, teachers, mentors, politicians and community leaders. Ultimately, community attitudes play a vital role in the way addictions are viewed and treated. For those people and families who have become victims to the scourge of drugs and addiction, I sincerely hope that this book will provide the inspiration and guidance required for the difficult but rewarding and life saving journey to recovery. Raphael Aron

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believe From Addiction to Redemption

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SECTION A THE INITIAL WORK Chapter 1 WELCOMING SARAH Chapter 2 HELLO AND GOOD MORNING! Chapter 3 HONESTY Chapter 4 I’M AN ADDICT


Chapter 1 Welcoming Sarah

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I am not safe I am not happy Interrogated by people who care.. I have been invaded Put in a position Where no one believes me I can only state what happened I speak but no one listens Why does this happen to me? I don’t deserve this My beloved diary From Adam’s diary.

- 3 -


Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

Dear Diary, There are days when I dread seeing my counsellor; but there are also times when I need a session to see me through. I don’t think anyone can understand my painful feelings of desperation, the fact that I have lost touch with my family, my friends. But what scares me most is the fact that I have lost touch with myself. I really think that I’m going to die; I just can’t handle this by myself anymore. I know that I’m killing myself slowly, I no longer smile, I no longer laugh; somehow I think the party is over. Sarah’s diary, two weeks into her counselling.

Most people who seek an appointment in relation to addictions are presenting with a drug and alcohol problem. In recent years, the number of people presenting with gambling issues has increased, perhaps as a result of the growth of that industry. But these are not the only addictions. Others include sexual addiction, romantic addiction and certainly eating addictions of various sorts. For many individuals and families who present at our centre, it is not their first attempt to seek counselling. Ironically, I often wish that it were the first time. Instead, the individuals seeking help often provide a long list of people they have seen in the past. In relation to drug and alcohol addiction, the individual may have participated in detoxification programs, residential communities, counselling, AA, NA, or numerous other self-help groups. In many instances, I cannot help but question what more can be done over and above these programs and other - 4 -


Welcoming Sarah

professional encounters. After all, the individual has been to detox, he may have tried methadone or been involved in long term counselling. In part, the answer lies in a greater availability of therapies to assist the addict. As will be discussed later, there are various medical therapies which have only recently become available. A naltrexone implant, for example, serves as a blocker, removing the addict’s urge to use heroin. If the implant is accompanied by counselling and therapy, the addict’s prognosis improves dramatically. More significantly, it is important to recognise that rarely does an addict recover as a result of treatment with one particular counsellor or one particular program. Recovery is a highly complex process which may be affected by the method of counselling as well as other numerous factors. These factors may include family issues, the availability of drugs, financial constraints, the ill-health of the addict or a personal relationship. The death of a close friend may serve as a wake-up call whilst the fear of going to jail may encourage the addict to seek assistance. Recovery is an ongoing process with its ups and downs, highs and lows. As a counsellor, I regard it a privilege to witness the final step as the addict farewells his previous behaviour and moves onto the ‘straight and narrow.’ I also know that the decision and the ability to give up drugs is the result of a cumulative process involving other forms of professional help, complex family dynamics and changing circumstances, to mention just a few. I don’t always enjoy that privilege. Instead, I hope that I am making a contribution to a sequence of professional contacts and events in the addict’s journey which one day will result in his recovery. Even if the addict continues to use - 5 -


Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

drugs, or if after having been clean for some time reverts back, I still hope that my work will eventually contribute to his recovery. No one professional can claim responsibility for an addict’s recovery. I refer to this issue with parents who are often quick to inquire about ‘my success rate’ in assisting addicts with their recovery. It is an interesting question because in one sense, it almost suggests that recovery is a product of my effort rather than the work of the addict and his family. More importantly, I respond to this inquiry by referring to the ongoing value of counselling and the cumulative nature of the recovery process. I may not be the one who sees the addict cross the line, but hopefully my work has brought him closer to that step. If there is such a notion as success, it lies in this area. Certainly the timing of the first appointment is significant. Addicts need to feel right about attending their first meeting. Many addicts attribute their progress to the timing of their counselling. Six years ago, I was seeing a young man, Michael, who was addicted to marijuana. He came in for at least thirty appointments. Eventually, I lost touch with him. Three years later, Michael presented with a raging heroin habit. Six months later, he had detoxified and was a resident in a medium-term residential program. Since that time Michael, has been drug free. He has been in a relationship for two years and is employed full time. We have kept in touch and talk every so often. He believes that his earlier efforts failed because the timing wasn’t right; his commitment to recovery being poor. Like many others, he considered marijuana a soft drug; he was sure he could stop using whenever he chose. Heroin was another story. An overdose almost cost him his life. The love of his life had left him as a result of his addiction and he was depressed. - 6 -


Welcoming Sarah

He knew his days were numbered and that it was time to do something about his life. Any addict is at risk of serious illness or death. If they do present for counselling, I try my best to ensure that they continue to attend their sessions. But I know that no amount of convincing or coercion will provide the right space and mindset for recovery. Ultimately, it is for the addict to decide when he is ready to commence the long journey towards recovery. Unfortunately, there are no fast forward buttons. I had heard about Sarah from a friend who had once shared accommodation with her. The friend had since died from an overdose. She had often spoken about Sarah who, for a time, appeared to be her best friend. In fact, she had shown me some photos of Sarah and herself at a party only a week before her fatal overdose. Dear Diary, I’m sort of nervous about this appointment tomorrow. I feel ok because I just used but I have no idea how I will feel tomorrow morning, probably as sick as a dog. I suppose I’ve gotta use again anyway so I should be okay. Something has to happen real soon. I know I can’t keep killing myself. I know my parents are at the end of their tether. They can’t hack this any more. They know I take stuff from home; I’m not sure what they know about the credit cards. Is this counselling really worth it? They say this guy is good, but in the end it depends on me. I feel so lost, so hopeless, so dirty and dishonest. My honesty has been reduced down to my diary. You, my diary seem to listen to everything I say and feel. I wish you - 7 -


Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

could talk and tell me what to do because you know me better than anyone else does. I’ve often thought if I died, I want to be buried with you. Weird stuff? But when I look at what I’ve written, I realise I have no choice. This is my entry exactly three years ago to the day. Today, I used a needle by myself for the first time. It was hell. They say it’s harder for women to shoot up because they have deeper veins. How true. Till now Liz had been hitting me up but she wasn’t around and I had the stuff and man I needed it really bad. But it was all yuk; three times, I mucked up. First time couldn’t find the vein and the other two times I missed it, actually went right through it. I was so desperate, gasping, breathing deeply and starting to feel really sick. Then I did it and wow, it was such a relief, I can’t tell you but then after that I had to clean up the mess, all the blood. I felt like throwing up. I was fuming at myself because I had wasted the stuff and I had nothing left. I started panicking. I knew there was a small clothes store near my apartment. Terry told me there was a new lady serving in the late afternoons and that she was an easy take. I decided this was my only choice. Put on a big ugly coat and went down there. Took a couple of really cool blouses from the shelves, stuffed them under the coat and asked for the - 8 -


Welcoming Sarah

bathroom. She looked at me sort of funny but gave me the key. Ran inside, put on the blouses which just fitted, put back the coat and just ran out. I didn’t even give back the key. Then I had to find a joint where to pawn these blouses. They were priced at $55. I’d be happy with anything that would get me through. But there were no stores around. The two that already knew me were shut hours earlier. So I took a taxi to the nearby mall where the girls hang out. I could see the driver knew something wasn’t right. I proved him correct when I jumped out at the next intersection. Ran to the corner; Jane was there and very surprised to see me. “Sarah, this is my corner and anyway, you look like crap, don’t waste your time here.” I begged her to loan me $25. She sort of said yes but then this guy came up and I knew she had a job. Ok, she said, here’s the cash. I just gave her the blouses and ran. I don’t know what she thought or what she wanted but I had the cash and I didn’t care any more. I’d just have to avoid her and that corner next time. Now I had to score again. Heck! My dealer wasn’t answering his phone. Now I started feeling really sick. Help, I screamed as I lay on my bed. I was gonna throw up so who cares. And my entry after my grandma died. And I didn’t even go to her funeral. - 9 -


Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

Today my grandma died. I don’t know whether she was sick or anything like that. Mum just called and left a message when the funeral would be. There was no way I could go. I was feeling real sick. My dealer was gonna give me some smack so as long as I paid him later. He was gonna drop it off before 3.00pm and he said that I better be there. And the funeral was at 2.00pm so I wasn’t going. At least I had the cash in the bank to pay him. Thank God for social security and the dole. I wouldn’t survive without it But that was just an excuse. I didn’t want to go to the funeral anyway. Do you think I want to face my parents and all their friends? They know how I stuffed up big time. No way. And my grandma? I haven’t seen her for about a year now; I didn’t know what I feel about being at her funeral. I suppose all I would have thought about would be my funeral and how I’d look in that horrible wooden box which is where I’ll end up pretty soon the way I’m going. I do think about death because I’ve seen enough of it and I think about my own death a lot of the time. I wonder whether that’s it, the end of the line or would I get a chance to live again a better life without smack and all the pain. But I don’t think I deserve a better chance because of what I’ve done till now. I feel so lonely, so by myself, so unloved. It’s like this enormous feeling of being cut off if that - 10 -


Welcoming Sarah

makes any sense. Like being disconnected from everyone; like they’re there but not really there as people. I’ve hurt some people so bad and I don’t even feel bad about it. Everything’s totally stuffed. Not much comfort, thinking what my life could have been about if I wouldn’t have touched this crap. But that was so long ago that I can’t even recall anything. I can’t remember the last time I hugged anyone properly or felt something for somebody. I don’t think anybody could really understand that emptiness without being where I’m at. Somebody once told me that when drugs come into the picture, love flies out the window. How true. So that’s me, Sarah. Pathetic Sarah who has no life, who has to steal and thieve in order to score, who sticks needle into her worn body, who has no real friends and certainly no future worth thinking about. But counselling seems scary. I suppose I’ve got to admit that if I knew it would work, I would do it but I don’t know. So many people have told me that it doesn’t work and that I might as well give up or use till I die. But I must admit, the image of me dead in a toilet block or even on my bed with a needle stuck in my arm…..no that’s not me either. Ok dear diary, I’ll go tomorrow and see what happens; can’t write any more now. Love, Sarah - 11 -


CHAPTER 2 HELLO AND GOOD MORNING!


Where do I belong in the weird world? Do I have a place? I feel like I’m from another planet I want to curl up into a ball And fucking hide Be sheltered from the storm. I want to run. I want to get away But my legs won’t let me I can’t see what I have to live for. I just have a dream that may never come true I often wonder if there is any point in dreaming. Dreams can be really disappointing Do we just set ourselves up for failure. A target that simply can’t be reached. Can’t we just forget the whole fucking deal. Sorry, you’ll just have to put up with it Learn to handle pain. It’s good for you Until the end. Suffer until the end!

From Adam’s diary.

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

I don’t believe in chance meetings. If two people meet there is a reason for that encounter. Knowing that I may play a significant role in an addict’s life, I approach the first meeting with a degree of trepidation. I pray that the meeting will be successful and that my contribution to the individual’s recovery will soon be realised. Sarah looked reasonably calm. I wasn’t sure whether she had just used or whether this was her natural manner. I had no intention of asking her at this stage. I told her that I knew very little about her, other than the fact she had been using heroin for the past eleven years. Sarah was eying me with suspicion. That was when there was eye contact. Most of the time, she was looking away, around the room, anywhere but towards me. I was curious to know why she had presented at our centre; whether anything significant had happened to her in the past few days. Before coming in, she had filled out a questionnaire. She had left most of the spaces blank. In response to the question, “Why have you chosen to attend counselling?” She had written just two words: “Don’t know.” There was no set agenda for this meeting. I told Sarah that the subject matter was open to her. We could talk about lots of things – in fact anything she wanted to talk about because addictions are not just about drugs. We could talk about behaviour, about family connections, relationships, feelings, about believing in oneself, about goals and aspirations, even spirituality. I thought it would be worthwhile asking Sarah whether she could tell me why she was here and what she hoped to achieve. She didn’t like the question and looked away. “I told you already; didn’t you read the stupid sheet I filled out?” I

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Hello and Good Morning!

kept quiet. She turned around and stared in my direction. “I hate myself, I hate life, I hate my family – you don’t get it.” I wanted to clarify what we do at the centre. If Sarah decided to continue coming in, we would spend the next few sessions talking about herself, her family, her relationships and her addiction; perhaps, how it all started, why she continued to use drugs after so many years and where she wanted to go from here. I explained that at some point in time, we would need to make a plan. I acknowledged that that could be difficult because in one sense drugs were very much about the present, the immediate present – certainly not about tomorrow or any time later on. There would be numerous options. We might just continue our sessions; it may be worthwhile to consider AA or NA, it may be necessary to consider a residential program. But right now all Sarah needed to do was to make a commitment to attend the counselling sessions for an initial period of a month. I acknowledged that it would be difficult to think beyond that and I didn’t expect that of her. She actually laughed when I said that we would get much more done if she wasn’t stoned during our appointments. I assured Sarah that our meetings would be absolutely confidential. It was clear that she didn’t want her parents to know that she was attending this meeting. She said that in the past, when she had told her parents about counselling, they asked more questions than she could answer. On one occasion they had called the counsellor which created a very unpleasant situation. I made no secret of the fact that counselling would be difficult but that she owed it to herself to give it a serious try.

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

Many people had sat is this office questioning whether there was any value in even attempting counselling. But many of the people who were convinced it was all a waste of time, had since kicked their habit. Hopefully, becoming drug free wouldn’t be a question of ‘if ’ but ‘when.’ All we could do right now was to begin the journey which would hopefully see her through the darkness and pain which had been the story of her life over the past decade. Although Sarah was somewhat reserved at the beginning, she did perk up and started talking. She appeared to have a lot to say. The change in her demeanour was quite striking; now she wanted to tell her story and she was very candid about it. Sarah said that she had used heroin that morning and hoped I wouldn’t be angry with her. She had a long history of drug use. She had started smoking marijuana at school. During her teen years she had experimented with various tablets. She couldn’t remember how many times she had been rushed to hospital to have her stomach pumped, only to return to the drug scene the very same day. She readily admitted that she experimented with heroin for the first time at the age of seventeen and started using regularly around the time of her eighteenth birthday. From there it was downhill. She dropped out of her tertiary studies two months into the first semester. By the age of twenty, she was living out of home. “I moved house twelve times in one year.” Her habit worsened and at the age of twenty-five, she started injecting. In fact, I was surprised that it took so long for her to graduate from oral to intravenous use. Sarah didn’t say much about her family and I didn’t push her. She preferred to talk about what she wanted rather than

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Hello and Good Morning!

answer questions. Although nervous at times, generally she was now looking more at ease, even slightly confident. She was less dismissive and less angry. Sarah said that she wanted to stop using heroin. But she admitted that she seriously doubted her ability to achieve this outcome. Whilst appearing to welcome my optimism, she seemed cagey about making any firm commitment. I did get the impression, however, that she would attend another session. As Sarah left the first appointment, she stopped at the door, looked at me and smiled. I felt good about Sarah. Although her sadness was palpable and her soul was tormented, Sarah had personality. I felt confident that if she could overcome the fear of counselling, she would get through. I hoped I was right. Dear Diary, Hey I really did it. It was pretty full on for me to talk about my addiction but it was good. I feel different but I’m not sure why. I mean nothing changed since yesterday; I’m still using drugs. Crazy how my dealer called me whilst I was in the waiting room. But somehow I sort of feel that this time round I might just get there. I didn’t ask the counsellor whether he’s an ex-user. Maybe I’ll do that next time; that’s if I go back but I think I will. Wow! I haven’t even told my parents that I was going to see somebody. Should I tell them now? I dunno. In the beginning the counsellor said that something must have happened in order for me to front up for - 17 -


Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

the appointment. But nothing really happened. I mean the last few days have been hell but I’ve been there before and done nothing about it. And even when I did, it was a very half-hearted effort. But I suppose that’s not really important. I’m supposed to work out what I want from this counselling. Not sure what that means because it’s pretty obvious to me; I just want to get rid of this raging habit that has destroyed my life and pretty well wrecked my family. I want to be normal. But what’s normal? Like my perfect sister who does everything right? No way. How do I live on the edge without using smack? This is so hard even thinking about it. And it’s not just about no longer living on the edge. I mean it’s the whole idea of life after drugs. The fact is all my friends, if you can call them friends, are junkies. I have no career, no work, nothing. My uni is out the window; I can’t remember the last time I was in a relationship. I owe heaps of money, I don’t even know how much. I need a medical check-up but I’m scared of that too. But I must admit that I’m tired too. Tired of running, cheating, stealing. The last time I OD’d and landed up in hospital, the nurse warned me that next time would be the last time. I had this huge abscess under my arm which was bleeding pus. It was so infected I could have got blood poisoning. I don’t think I want to die. No I don’t. I mean I think I don’t.. I think he’s trying to find out whether I’m serious like he doesn’t want to waste his time or mine for - 18 -


Hello and Good Morning!

that matter. I liked the question about ‘what I want to achieve.’ He knows I’ve been to counselling before so he wants to know what’s different this time round. Fair question but I dunno. He says that it’s not a question of whether I will get off smack but rather when that will happen. I wonder whether he doesn’t just say that to everyone or whether he has a reason to say it to me. After all, he doesn’t know anything more that what I told him in the session and that wasn’t much. But then again, what’s the difference? At least he’s positive which is a heck of a lot more than I can be these days. Yeh! I think I’ll go back. Check it out and see if it’s worth it. I think I liked him. But anyway, it’s a start. Right now, believe it or not, I’m still using and that’s what I need to think about. It’s so pathetic but that’s why I need to do something soon, now. Love, Sarah

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APPENDIX A TREATMENT OPTIONS

Fortunately today, there is a range of treatment options available in the field of addictions. Addicts and their families need to familiarise themselves with these different options. Numerous factors must be considered for the best choice to be made. The following information should be considered as a guide only. Further information should be obtained from accredited health professionals. Methadone Methadone is a synthetic opiate. It is not a “blocker� which means that it does nothing to reduce the cravings for heroin. Instead, it replaces heroin and is no less a drug of dependence than heroin. Indeed, it is more addictive than heroin. Withdrawing from methadone is far more difficult and painful than withdrawal from heroin. Methadone does not resolve the underlying issues which are responsible for addiction. It simply shifts the addiction from an illegal and dangerous opiate to a synthetic alternative which, if taken as directed, is considered safe. However, a closer look at methadone suggests a number of pluses and minuses. On the positive side: Methadone does not involve injections and therefore avoids the risks of septicaemia, endocarditis, hepatitis B & C and HIV from shared or dirty needles.

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treatment options

The addict on methadone usually has regular contact with healthcare professionals who are trained, experienced and resourced to help people with addiction and associated problems. They also know when to refer addicts to other appropriate consultants or agencies which may help further. Addicts on methadone may develop a comparative stability in their life including job stability, unlike during their rollercoaster existence of chasing and using heroin. This increased stability may greatly benefit them and their position in life. Accidental overdosing with methadone alone is unlikely with the usual program. However, combining other narcotics such as benzodiazepines or alcohol with methadone may result in the death of the patient. Methadone is a very effective physical pain killer and may be better than detoxification and naltrexone, at a time of strong physical pain that would take time to be controlled by other means. Methadone is now available through many government clinics and is usually subsidised or free. This removes the need for lying, cheating, stealing, armed robbery, drug-dealing and prostitution to get heroin. It diminishes the impact on both the addict and the rest of the community by reducing organised crime, and also by taking some of the pressure off overstretched law-enforcement resources. On the negative side: Methadone is a very powerful addictive drug - the patient is still an addict and may continue to be part of the drug scene. Many addicts really dislike methadone for reasons that they may not be able to fully explain, but mainly because it is much harder for them to withdraw from it than from

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

heroin. They are often very upset by the fact that they did not fully understand this before they went on methadone, even though most were probably told. Whilst using methadone, the addict may still crave and still use other narcotics. Methadone, especially as part of poly-drug abuse is still a potentially fatal substance. Unless addicts on methadone clean their teeth several times a day, these may decay rapidly. The loss of teeth may require dentures which are difficult for them to get. This can greatly affect their self-esteem and self-confidence, aggravating the whole situation. Addicts on methadone are comparatively tied down as they have to report to the same pharmacist daily to get their dose. This may interfere with jobs, job seeking or other important matters. Some patients report other important problems such as severe chronic constipation, fluid retention, weight gain, drowsiness, loss of concentration, poor memory and debilitating lack of motivation. These problems can cause them to seriously regret going on methadone and to resent the authority which advised them to do so. Clearly, methadone is one option that addicts need to consider, but like every option, it must be viewed within the context of all its pros and cons. Buprenorphine Unlike methadone which maintains the addiction, buprenorphine acts as a “blocker� as well as having moderate narcotic effects. People on an adequate dose of buprenorphine very seldom crave or use heroin because it both blocks nerve receptors and is a narcotic replacement chemical. - 202 -


treatment options

It is not nearly as powerfully addictive. It is a drug of addiction but not nearly as addictive as methadone. It has been alleged that up to 50% of people on methadone continue to use heroin or other narcotics intermittently or regularly. They still crave the euphoria of heroin or morphine, and methadone doesn’t stop them from experiencing these cravings because it is not a “blocker.” In contrast, buprenorphine is a powerful blocker as well as having moderate narcotic effects. Buprenorphine doesn’t rot your teeth and make you embarrassed or frightened to smile.. It is not as sedating as methadone and you are therefore normally alert with more normal powers of memory and concentration. You remain more normally motivated and able to do things. Buprenorphine does not usually cause chronic constipation, excessive fluid retention or weight gain. A dose of buprenorphine is effective for more than twice as long as a dose of methadone, so most patients are not as tied down by it. Most can visit their pharmacy to pick up a does of buprenorphine every second day, rather than every day. Some patients have reported that they could last three days on one dose. There appear to be very few disadvantages associated with buprenorphine. It may be a little more expensive than methadone but is still comparatively economical and affordable. Minor problems have allegedly been reported with the illicit use of buprenorphine as an alternative to heroin. This is a small price to pay for all its benefits, and this problem can be managed. A few chemically disturbed people may seem unable to live without narcotics, and buprenorphine

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

appears to be by far the least damaging alternative for these people, their families and the community. Buprenorphine can also be combined with naloxone in tablet form. This is known as suboxone. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist. This means that it blocks the opiate receptors in the brain and subsequently the drug’s effects. Naltrexone By nullifying the effect of heroin on the brain, naltrexone stops the craving for narcotics. Once the right dose is found, it stops narcotics from having any effect if they are used. However, if the underlying issues which have contributed to the addiction are not resolved, the user will be in great danger of stopping naltrexone and reverting back to heroin quickly. At the same time, it does not remove the desire to experience heroin; addicts using naltrexone are still vulnerable to the pursuit of heroin for this reason. Naltrexone can only be administered to a person who is drug-free. This can be achieved through various forms of detoxification, including the more recent and popular ‘rapid opiate detox’ method whereby the addict is detoxified rapidly overnight. Using heroin while taking naltrexone can be dangerous, even fatal. It is therefore essential, as is the case with other chemical remedies, that the treatment is accompanied by counselling and therapy as well as a strong support system. A note of caution, regarding the rapid detoxification method. Although this method is effective in removing the opiate toxins from the body, it does not address any of the psychological or other factors associated with addiction.

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treatment options

As an addict continues to use drugs, his ‘tolerance level’ the level at which he feels a benefit from the drug - rises, leading to an increase in his drug intake. Following rapid detoxification, this tolerance level drops right down and the addict may be at risk of overdosing, even on small quantities of drugs. For reasons other than the physical need associated with drugs, he may still be tempted to use, placing himself at greater risk. Rapid detoxification must be considered within a supportive environment so that the addict is protected from any form of drug usage during the early days following the treatment. The Therapeutic Community Therapeutic communities offer addicts the option to remove themselves completely from the drug scene and cut their ties with other addicts and dealers. Most therapeutic communities are situated outside urban areas in order to place the addicts away from their former environment. They provide a substantial opportunity for the addict to participate in extensive counselling, as well as group work. Some are staffed by former addicts who serve as role models once they have been able to kick their habit. Peer group environment is essential for the community to enable residents to reinforce one another’s progress. Critics of the therapeutic community model argue that it simply serves to protect the addict from the reality of life in the real world. Others argue that the therapeutic community is not a good choice for addicts who still enjoy a place in the workforce or for those who have partners or children. Losing a work opportunity or further straining family ties can be threatening.

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

Whilst some people may argue that participation in a therapeutic community is a cop-out, others will agree that the very readiness for an addict to devote six months to fulltime rehabilitation is the strongest endorsement of their genuine awareness of the seriousness of their addiction - a significant step on the road to recovery. Bearing in mind some of these issues, in recent years there has been a shift from the long-term program (six months to a year) to shorter or medium term programs (four weeks to several months). With the introduction of various medical therapies such as naltrexone and buprenorphine, as well as a general shift toward community based models for treatment, it will be interesting to observe the effects these changes have on the popularity of therapeutic communities. Counselling and Therapy Counselling and therapy as well as group process form an integral part of any effective recovery program. There are numerous approaches that different practitioners adopt in order to work effectively with their patients. Counselling has been shown to be more effective when it is ongoing. A non-judgemental approach encourages addicts to be more honest about their addiction. Counselling of addicts can be particularly difficult as many of them genuinely doubt their ability to become drug-free. Empowering the addict and creating a sense of optimism significantly assist the therapeutic process. The counsellor may be the first person in years in whom the addict can place his trust. For some of them, counselling becomes a testing ground within which the addict can be honest to both himself and the counsellor. This is an important step in the recovery process. - 206 -


treatment options

Most counsellors work towards the development of a treatment plan for the addict. A family based approach will facilitate sessions involving the parents and also other members of the family when relevant. The treatment plan may involve various people, as it may be impractical for the same person working with the addict to also work with the family and others. Ideally, the treatment plan includes the opportunity for review so that both the counsellor and others involved in the process have the opportunity to discuss their progress and attend to any issues which may be relevant to the counselling process. Group Therapy There are numerous reasons why group therapy is an important tool in the recovery process. Because interpersonal relationships are a significant issue for the recovering addict, group therapy provides a safe setting within which these issues can be addressed. It removes the sense of isolation experienced by the addict and assists in the validation of his feelings and experiences. In doing so, the process assists in correcting the addicts’ distorted view of the world. At the same time, by learning that they are not unique in their problems, addicts are able to face the recovery with a greater sense of confidence. The feedback received from members of the group assists the addict in learning which behaviours are acceptable. As the group members interact with each other in a mutually supportive forum, a sense of trust is created. As the group members are able to develop mutual trust, they experience a sense of cohesion and belonging. For many

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

former addicts, this represents the first time in many years, where they are able to feel accepted and protected. They can deal with confrontation, knowing that they will not be harmed. These feelings, in turn, serve to create the backdrop within which the group members can explore issues of intimacy and closer inter-personal relationships. As feelings are experienced and shared, group members are able to learn how to identify and best manage them. Instead of having those feelings masked by a chemical substance, the former addict is able to behave and respond in a supportive and safe environment. As the group members role-play new experiences, they become more confident about their ability to communicate effectively and interact appropriately with friends, family and the community.

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APPENDIX B The Twelve Steps Approach Alcoholics Anonymous & Narcotics Anonymous Most people are familiar with or at least have heard of AA or NA. Alcoholics Anonymous is the best-known and largest self-help program. It has been the model for other 12-Step programs. Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, with the meeting of two alcoholics. One was Bill W. who had a spiritual experience which was a major precipitating event and the beginning of his abstinence from alcohol. After Bill W. had been sober for about a year, he went on a business trip and was hit with a strong desire or compulsion to drink. He hit upon an idea of seeking out and talking with another suffering alcoholic as an alternative to that first drink. He reached out for help, made contact with some people and they led him to Dr. Bob (another alcoholic). Bill W. and Dr. Bob met and started a fellowship which is now famous as their first meeting. In the years that followed, a simple structure was written down as a guide. It is referred to as the 12 Steps: 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand him. - 209 -


Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. We admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. We humbly asked Him to remove these shortcomings. 8. We made a list of all the persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. We sought, through prayer and meditation, to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand him, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. The cornerstone of the AA model is the paradoxical belief that to gain control of one’s life, one must give up control to a higher power. Although AA distinguishes between spirituality and religion, it advances the belief that addiction is both a physical and spiritual disease. AA has been referred to as a spiritual program for living.

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The twelve Steps Approach

Central to the AA program are five fundamental aspects: (a) learning to give up control to gain control (b) self-examination and discussion of this examination (c) making amends (d) group participation (e) daily reminders As one of the most successful components of recovery from addiction, it is worth noting that in 1990, the fellowship involved 15 million individuals in over 500,000 groups in 114 countries.

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APPENDIX C The Twelve Steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) DRA began to form in Kansas City in the U.S. in 1989. The members were men and women who experienced a dual disorder. Their goals were simple: • Apply the principles of the Twelve Steps to both their

chemical dependency and their emotional or psychiatric illness. • Provide meetings where members could openly discuss

recovery issues regarding both their illnesses with other members who could relate to their experiences, and offer one another support. • Carry the message of

recovery to others who experienced dual disorders and help develop DRA as an organisation that could offer assistance to others who wish to establish DRA groups.

DRA is an independent, non-profit, non-professional, self-help organisation. DRA was established to help men and women who experience a dual disorder. This occurs when an individual is affected by both chemical dependency and an emotional or psychiatric illness. The primary purpose of DRA is to help one another achieve dual recovery, to prevent relapse, and to carry the message of recovery to others who experience the same

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The twelve steps of Dual Recovery Anonymous

disorder. The DRA program is based on the principles of the Twelve Steps and the personal experiences of men and women in dual recovery. DRA expects members to express a desire to stop using alcohol and other intoxicating drugs, as well as a desire to manage one’s emotional or psychiatric illness in a healthy and constructive environment. Like AA, there are no charges, dues, or fees for DRA membership. New-comers do not need a referral from a professional service provider. The Twelve Steps of DRA are: 1. We admitted we were powerless over our dual illness of chemical dependency and emotional or psychiatric illness - that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Higher Power of our understanding could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of our Higher Power, to help us to rebuild our lives in a positive and caring way. 4. Made a searching and fearless personal inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our liabilities and assets. 6. We’re entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all our liabilities. 7. Humbly asked our Higher Power to remove these liabilities and help us strengthen our assets for recovery.

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Believe - From Addiction to Redemption

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when wrong, promptly admitted it, while continuing to recognise our progress in dual recovery. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power, praying only for knowledge of our Higher Power’s will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others who experience dual disorders and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

For more information about the author, this book and additional support resources please visit www.believebook.com.au

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believe From Addiction to Redemption

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Further information:

www.believebook.com.au


believe

Believe will challenge and change your view on addiction and the counselling process. It vividly depicts the harrowing journey of two young addicts on their path to recovery. Extracts from their deeply moving journals along with Raphael Aron’s session notes unveil the raw and complex nature of addiction as well as the crucial role played by the counsellor. A profoundly humane and positive perspective is uncovered, holding the key to redemption. This book is a must read for parents of children of all ages, addicts and their loved ones, school and community leaders as well as professionals working in this field.

“Not only a valuable guide to treatment, reading this book is a healing experience...” - Dr Rebecca Adams, MB.BS

believe From Addiction to Redemption

“A kooky bus with syringes painted on the side used to drive around my neighbourhood. The man behind the wheel was Raphael Aron, the anti-drug guy. Far from an armchair commentator, Raphael is someone who has actually gone to the shadows of society to help people, and returned with an original insight.” John Safran, presenter, ABC television and Triple J radio

For further information, visit www.believebook.com.au

Raphael Aron

“...his personal and enlightening account of the addiction issue ...will enable the reader to gain a profound understanding of the problems faced by addicts in their struggle to regain control of their lives.” Mr John Winneke AC. RFD, QC
 Chairman, ODYSSEY HOUSE Victoria,
Retired Judge and former President, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Victoria

www.fontainepress.com

Raphael Aron

Believe - From Addiction to Redemption  

The book Believe - From Addiction to Redemption, published by Fontaine Press, will challenge and change your view on addiction and the couns...

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