Traditional healing to help tackle addiction

March 2, 2016

addiction healing with a differenceAn SBS news report announced yesterday looks at a culturally sensitive drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre for Aboriginal women is set to open in South Australia – but it needs to pass a final hurdle first.

Lakalinjeri Tumbetin Waal is a place of healing with a difference.

About an hour’s drive east of Adelaide, the non-medical rehabilitation facility is set on former farmland, with a gym out the back and a community garden out the front.

It’s a temporary home to dozens of men battling drug and alcohol addiction each year.

Aboriginal Sobriety Group chairman, Gary Paynter, told SBS News the centre is run by, and predominantly for, Aboriginal men.

“We have a good success rate,” he said.

“We use culture, we have talking circles, smoking ceremonies and all the other things that are culturally important.”
On the day SBS News visits the Monarto centre, five residents are standing in a semicircle around a stone pit, taking part in a smoking ceremony.

As smoke from a piece of lit bark curls around them, it allows time for reflection.

“Best choice I’ve ever made, coming here,” one man tells the circle.

“For my kids and my family, and myself.”

In more than 20 years of operation, staff say they’ve seen a cultural approach to recovery help countless clients.
Some employees, like Ngarrindjeri man Henry Rankine, are also role models for battling addiction.

“If people can see me from 15 years ago, what type of person I was then, to how I’ve progressed through my life and the stages and that, I think it benefits clients,” he said.

“[They] see that there is hope.”

Though this centre is for men only, the Aboriginal Sobriety Group believes there’s a clear need for a similar facility for women. To read more click here.

The Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference 2016, themed Alcohol – Other Drugs – Behavioural Addictions, Prevention, Treatment and Recovery will be held on the Gold Coast from the 19 – 20 May 2016. To register to attend the conference click here.

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