Dahlia Foundation Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation & De-Addiction Centre, Mumbai

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Why does the Rehabilitation Process take about 3 to 6 months? How is the process conducted on a day to day basis?

This article describes how the Rehabilitation Process is conducted at Dahlia Foundation Drug and Alcohol Deaddiction and Rehabilitation Centre.
Note that this process may vary considerably at other treatment centres.

The typical drug rehab or alochol rehab process lasts for 3 to 6 months at Dahlia Foundation Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Centre . The variation entirely depends on the mental, emotional and physical heath of the person when he is first brought in and then the person's subsequent progress. Note that the duration may be more if the person's state is of a more severe nature. The different stages that a person typically goes through are as below.

The Detoxification Stage (the first 10- 15 days)

When a person is admiddted into the rehab he is immediately put through the detoxification process. The detoxification process is intended to slowly remove the toxins in the body of the person to an extent that further treatment to slowly clean the persons body toxins and bringng him back to health is started. Throughout this period which may last for 10 to 15 days, the person is given complete rest. The person may choose to sleep for most of the time and is not expected to participate in any activity of the rehab centre. He is given meals regularly ,but at his convinence. The person is also given some light medication that enables him to combat withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, loose motions, trembling and weakness. We use minimal medication so that the person's body system gains the strength to fight off the chemicals and bears the the detoxification as naturally as possible. Our councilors are always by hiside to mentally and emotionally cope up with the experience.

Towards the end of the detoxification period, most persons volunterely start participitating in input sessions and group sharing. They start developing a rapport with their peer group. And by the end of the detoxification period,they have adjusted to the normal wake-up time, breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and sleep schedules. However, they are not yt fully integrated into the daily routine until we determine that they are physically fit enough.

The next 30 to 180 days 

Over the next 30 to 45 days the person starts to participate in various activities at the Rehabilitation Centre. The activities and their benefits are shown below.

1. Wake-up Time (7:00 AM): The standard wake up time is 7:00 Am. The inmates then get an hour for brushing and bathing. Morning tea is also served during this time.

2. Morning Prayer Session (8:00 AM): The morning prayer session constitutes of a short prayer to the God of a person's understanding, There is no religious bias in any prayer whatsoever. It is followed by a reading session from Narcotics Anonynmous and Alcoholic Anonymous books which gives them insights into the recvery process of millions of addicts who now lead a clean and sober life.  It also presents a thought which is termed as 'Just for Today'. The thought is briefly discussed and the inmates are asked to reflect on it throught the day. Simple Meditation and Yoga excercises are also taught during this time.

3. Breakfast (9:00 AM): Breakfast is served at 9:00 AM sharp. The breakfast is a simple vegeterian meal constituting standard Indian vegeterian dishes such as Poha, Upma, Usal Pav and sweet Sheera served with tea. Medicnes (mostly multi-vitamins) are adinistered immediately after breakfast.

4. Work Theapy (10:00 AM): Light work therapy is alloted to pairs of individuals. They constitute of simple house maintenance tasks like cleaning vessels, cleaning the house floor, vegetable cutting etc. The therapy is very light and it is therapautic in nature. It often teaches the individuals tasks so that they can maintain a discplined lifestyle where they can do simple housework independently. This is his first step towards self-reliance after a long time of unfair dependence.

5. House awareness session (11:00 AM): This is a short 15 to 20 minute session where inmates put forward and put forward issues related to house maintenance, discipline, cleanliness etc. These issues are noted and resolved by a senior staff member.

6. Input session (12:00 PM): An input session is conducted where a councilor first revises the thought for the day. This is followed by inputs on addiction related issues like addictive behaviriol patterns, corrective measures, social, family and economic effects of addiction etc.

7. Lunch (1:00 PM):Lunch is served at 1:00 PM. We serve vegeterian lunch on all days except Fridays (egg curry) and Sundays (chicken curry). Of course, pure vegterians are separately served vegeterian dishes.

8. Rest Time: (2:00 PM) The inmates are then given a rest time for an hour where they can take a short nap. After rest time, tea is served once again.

9. Recreation Time and Individual counselling (4:00 PM to 6:30 PM) : This time is meant for recreation. The inmates may play games, watch movies, listen to music, read etc. Also this is the time when the physician and the psychologist individually call  persons scheduled for a checkup or counseling. This does not take long. Usually just about 20 minutes.

10: Evening Tea and Snacks (6:30 PM) Evening tea and light snacks are served at this time.

11: Output sessions (7:00 PM): We conduct various types of output sessions. Almost each day of the week has a different output session. They are cited below.

⦁ Group Output Therapy: This is an interactive session where inmates are asked to participate. It may be conducted in a Question-Answer format or a Seminar format where participants present their views on different aspects of life including addiction and social life.

⦁ Sharing (Alocoholic Anonymous/Narcotic anonymous meetings):In this session, inidviduals share either general experiences or topic specific experiences. These experiences are usually related to their past experiences during the addiction phase. They speak openely about their gutls, fears and resentments. Anonimity of the person is a pre-condition of these meetings. Noone present is to talk about the subject outside of the meeting and the sharing is not be discussed ever again. The objective of a N.A./A.A meeting is not that other's will learn from a person's sharing or will give advice to the person. But it is a mehanism by which a person clears confesses his guilts and resenments by facing them, clears his heart to let new hope and enlightment to flow in.

⦁ Silent Time and Medtation: Once a week, inmates spend an hour in slient time. Silent time provides individuals time for reflection on their own toughts, pains, fears and new hopes. It is sometimes carried out in the form of meditation with dim lights and soft music in the background. This relaxes the individuals. 

⦁ Entertainment Sessions and Coffee Nights (Evenings acually): These are held of Friday and Saturday. Entertainment sessions call upon individuals to give extempore  performances like singing, telling jokes, talking on specified topics. This is so that the individual realizes his own potential to cutivates courage to communicate and interact without the dependence on addictive substances. Entertainment sessions also comprise of games like dumb charades, antakshari etc. Coffee nights are sessions where the inmates let their hair down and have a dance session on popular music. Care is taken that no vulgarity or physical contact takes place. 

12: Dinner (8:30 PM): Dinner is served at 8:30 PM.

13. Night Prayer: (9:30 PM): We conduct a special prayer we term as 'matress prayer' where we pray for ourselves, our families, our firends and thank God for seeing us through a good day without the use of addictive substances. We ask God to help us achieve the same the next day to. We also pray for past inmates and other addicts and ask Gd to guide them.


 14. Lights off and Bedtime (10:00 PM).

Supporting Mechanisms:

The inmates live in a group. And like the outside world, there will always be differences, quarrels and arguments. We use this as an opportunity to teach our inmates how to deal with issues in the outside world with calm and composure. We use the following mechanisms for this.

A. Confrontations

When an inmate sees another individual or a group of individuals involved in wrong behavior - uncleanliness, back-biting, bickering or negativism in any form. The individual walks up to the person/s concerned and politely asks for the reasons or the thinking and attitude behind the action. This action is then validated and recorded at the office and corrective action is taken.

B. Pull up and awareness sessions

Issues which come into notice without really a way of knowing the person behind the action, it is filed as a pull-up and brought to the awareness of the house. Typical issues involve literring, leaving taps and lights, misplaced articles etc.

C. Feelings Box

When a person has feelings of anger, resentment or concern that he feels over  a pro-longed period of time, he is neither encouraged to supress the feeling nor is he encouraged to vent it out impulsively. Instead, they write their feelings explicitly and put them in a box. This box is opened in a house meeting every 15 days and the concerned parties reconcile the issues in an organized manner in the presence of a counsellor

D. One to One Counseling

Our counselors are availabe throughtout for the individual to discuss their concernes. The counselors also proactively schedule one to one counseling sessions that help an individual recognize and correct weaknesses.

E. Skill and Confidence honing over 30-150 days: Over this period, a person is moved from one portfolio to another (house maintenance, ktchen, landscape etc.) and depending on the individuals apptitude is graduated from an assistant, to a team leader to the head of department. Heads of Departments guide the day to day operations and report directly to the management of the rehab center. This helps the individual gain confidence  and recognize ownership of responsibility.

Family Counseling: Over the last 45 days, we encourage the families to meet the individual at the rehab center. This helps in dissolving past issues and resentments and makes a clear path for the person to return back home.

Conclusion:  The mechanisms we have used and continue to use not only help in de-addiction (living without addiction) but also to be a more effective, compassionate and dependable person. This has been proven again and again and we belive that this process is the true way to real and practical rehabilitation and reintegration into family and social life.


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