Category Archives: Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre

Step work in recovery: Step 3

In Step 2, people undergoing the 12-Step programme make a decision to turn their will and lives over to the care of God as they understood him, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA Wedge Gardens.

“This week, we take a look at Step 3.

“Action is now needed after discovering the power greater than ourselves by making a decision to allow someone or something to take care of us, but not enable or control us.

“Making a decision can feel intimidating and overwhelming and if it is not followed up by an action, it is meaningless. Therefore, decisions taken during the recovery journey have to be conscious commitments,” says Karen.

“Those in active addiction acted in self will, being selfish. Like tornadoes, they whirled destruction wherever they went. The opposite is true for this step, where you hand over self will to God, as understood. You now want to stay clean, rather than wanting to use; and want to have a sponsor and go to meetings. The God of our understanding is basically a representation of the spiritual principles of the steps and it is important to have open communication with the higher power and allow all types of feelings in the process, whether good or bad. 

“Furthermore, the spiritual principles of surrendering and willingness are essential in moving through this step, where the hope of the previous step turns to faith which gives strength to continue to the next step.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

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Step work in recovery: Step 2

This week, SANCA Wedge Gardens rehab centre takes a look at Step 2 in the 12-Step programme.

“In Step 2 we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity,” says Karen Griessel, a Wedge Gardens social worker.

Step 2 gives hope and possibility of recovery as individuals find a power greater than themselves which is capable of healing hurt, calming confusion and restoring sanity.

“Furthermore, we learn to understand that insanity is defined as repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. The beauty of Step 2 encourages the individual to choose a power that is loving, caring and, most importantly, can restore us to sanity. The hope from working Step 2 replaces the desperation and no matter how painful the process of demolishing our denial, something else is being restored in its place within us,” she says.

It is important to remember that Step 2 is a process, not an event. It is a process of restoration to sanity where better decisions are made and, therefore, better consequences. Spiritual principles, including open-mindedness, willingness, faith, trust and humility, play a big role in this step. It is about moving on and working this step to gain hope and motivation to move to the next step in the recovery process.

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

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Step work in recovery: Step 1

Having a framework to tackle recovery is essential and the 12 Steps are very helpful during this process, says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA rehab centre Wedge Gardens.

Today we look at Step 1: We have admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, and that our lives had become unmanageable.

This is where healing starts.

“Comfort can be found in realising that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing and making the principles of acceptance, humility, willingness, honesty and open-mindedness a fundamental part of the self – after accepting being an addict that has hit rock bottom and knowing one must surrender,” says Griessel.

She explains that when in active addiction, the disease is alive because the person is trapped in obsessive, compulsive, self-centred routines – with endless loops that lead nowhere but to physical, mental, spiritual and emotional decay.

“Denial, despair, isolation, powerlessness and reservations are all part of the unmanageability of the disease of addiction. This needs to be admitted before an individual can move on from their old ways and accept that a new way is called for.”

For more information about SANCA Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre, visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or call 011 430 0320.

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Meaning of life in recovery

Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual conversation with someone, pondering the meaning of life?

“I know I have, a number of times,” says Karen Griessel, a social worker at SANCA rehab centre Wedge Gardens.

“It is in finding purpose that we also find comfort in this life because we feel like we are contributing and ultimately making the world a better place. Furthermore, living a life of purpose comes with a rule book of values, morals and standards by which we can judge our actions.

“This ties into our self-worth as human beings. When individuals are in addiction, their meaning is to find and use drugs, using any means necessary. They will sacrifice morals and just about anything to get their fix, which gets intertwined with negative emotions and often depression, due to living this mundane and often lonely and isolated existence.

She says finding purpose in recovery can feel even more overwhelming because recovery from addiction in itself is challenging and there are many issues that they have to deal with, never mind answering this spiritual question. However, those in recovery can simplify this process by implementing some of the following:

  • Make a daily to-do list and create structure with daily planning.
  • Learn new ways of living by gaining life and coping skills.
  • Take a deep breath and relax, practising mindfulness.
  • Practise cleanliness by keeping yourself and environment neat.
  • Write in a journal to discover yourself again, your fears and hopes.
  • Let go and let God, which ties in with the Serenity Prayer.
  • Forgive yourself – this opens the door to healing.
  • Work through the 12-steps, which will lead to self-discovery and meaning.

Based in Johannesburg, Wedge Gardens offer holistic rehabilitation for the body, mind and soul. Find out more at www.wedgegardens.co.za

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A new normal

Adaptation is a word in psychology that basically describes changing to meet needs within a certain context and situation.

It involves two processes, namely ASSIMILATION – applying past knowledge to new situations and ACCOMMODATION – altering past knowledge to fit the new.

“We all had to learn how to adapt within the restrictions of the pandemic and, now and again, we have to adapt to the after-effects of the pandemic, whether on an economic, emotional, psychological or relational level,” says SANCA Wedge Gardens social worker Karel Griessel.

“By practising assimilation and accommodation, we can all strive for a sense of equilibrium, which is the balance between our selves and the world around us. As we encounter new things and interpret them, we must make adjustments in order to survive. The good news is most of us have resilience and the ability to apply these concepts.

“It is often said that change is the only constant we can expect in life and those who are able to adapt, will survive and even succeed. Here at Wedge Gardens, the process of rehabilitation can initially be difficult for new patients but once adapted and settled, the treatment process becomes progressively positive as the patient begins to see that it is possible to find balance in their lives again.”

For help with addiction recovery, contact Wedge Gardens rehab centre in Johannesburg. Visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or phone 010 534 6596.

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Cheers to Wedge Gardens’ inspirational nurses

SANCA Wedge Gardens toasted its nursing staff recently for the excellent job they did in caring for their substance abuse recovery patients during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

On September 4, the nurses were all presented with a specially-made coffee cup that reads: Never underestimate a nurse who survived the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.

Sister Estelle Raath, the deputy manager of the rehab centre, says nurses demonstrate bravery, endurance and dedication.

“To all the nursing staff of Wedge Gardens, thank you for all you are doing during the pandemic. We appreciate all your hard work. Thank you so much for making sure the patients at Wedge receive the care they need to be safe. You are all superheroes for working so hard during these challenging times.”

Estelle says the hours put in by the nurses over the past few months were gruelling and they were very aware that they were putting themselves at risk of contracting the disease while the majority of South Africans sheltered at home.

“My hope is that everyone will come to have a greater appreciation for those who work in the medical field.”

With regard the ongoing pandemic and possibilities of further surges in the infection rate in South Africa, she says: “Let’s take it one day at a time. Don’t let scary thoughts win; continue to fight and never quit. We will beat the virus, overcome our fatigue and find the strength we need to carry on.

“May God bless you all for doing this difficult job every day with a smile on your faces!”

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Bipolar disorder and addiction – An up-and-down swing of moods

Bipolar is classified as a mental illness characterised by extreme high and low moods. When people with substance abuse problems have a dual diagnosis of both addiction and a mental disorder, their path becomes extra challenging.

This is according to Karen Griessel, a social worker at Sanca Wedge Gardens rehab centre in Johannesburg.

“With bipolar, the highs, otherwise known as mania, and the lows, marked by depression, can be experienced at different times or at the same time.

“Treating people diagnosed with bipolar disorder and substance abuse disorder – which  is when an individual suffers from substance dependency – is extremely challenging, especially when they are in active addiction,” she says. “It is more manageable when the person is in recovery, which is why it is essential that people with bipolar disorder seek treatment for their addiction.”

Symptoms of bipolar mania:

  • Feeling overly happy for a long time.
  • Sleeping little.
  • Talking fast.
  • Restlessness.
  • Impulsiveness.
  • Engaging in risky behaviour, like taking drugs, having risky sex, gambling and spending too much money, to name a few.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Feeling sad for long periods.
  • Withdrawing from life.
  • Losing interest in things your normally enjoy.
  • An increased or decreased appetite.
  • Severe fatigue.
  • Cognitive issues.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

“The disease of substance abuse affects a person’s brain and behaviour and leads to the inability to control oneself. This can be truly debilitating. As professionals, we use integrated therapeutic treatment strategies and approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy within our primary care treatment programme at Wedge Gardens.

“This is complemented by controlled psychiatric medication and supportive group therapy techniques, as well as continued psycho-education.

“The good news is it can be treated and managed successfully but it is a continuous process,” says Karen.

For help with addiction recovery, contact Wedge Gardens rehab centre in Johannesburg. Visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or phone 010 534 6596.

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International Overdose Day: 31 August

“I felt her body next to mine; she was cold. I tried to wake her, felt for a pulse, nothing. I carried her to the shower and tried to revive her. I did CPR but it was too late. Four years later, the scene still replays clearly in my mind. Such a waste of somebody with so much talent. I would trade places with her if I could.”

These words, by a former patient of Sanca Wedge Gardens treatment centre in Johannesburg, capture the devastation of losing someone you love to an overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day, held on 31 August each year, gives people a chance to remember those who passed on due to an overdose of either a licit or an illicit substance.

Worldwide, people are encouraged to show their support by wearing a purple or silver ribbon.

Wedge Gardens commemorated the day by inviting the men undergoing rehab at the centre to light a candle in memory of someone they have lost.

“We are here today to commemorate all those who lost their lives, accidentally or otherwise, as a result of overdose,” said Adèl Grobbelaar, who heads up Wedge Gardens.

“Every overdose is a loss; those ignorant enough to say they deserved it have absolutely no understanding of the epidemic we are fighting. With every overdose, someone loses a son, daughter, friend or loved one. Nobody has the right to judge.

“My wish for you is that you will never feel that hopeless, that overdose appears the only way out. Remember we are here for you and we care.”

International Overdose Day aims to:

Raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.

Acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends in remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.

Spread the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.

* For help with addiction recovery, contact Wedge Gardens rehab centre in Johannesburg. Visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or phone 010 534 6596.

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Be someone’s Piglet today

“There is no bigger joy than when our beloved childhood books continue to teach us about life even in adulthood,” says Estelle Raath, the deputy manager of Sanca Wedge Gardens treatment centre in Johannesburg.

“This little excerpt from the famous book by AA Milne offers us a timely reminder of why it is very beneficial for everyone to have someone to ‘be there’ for them. We all need the support of others and knowing they are there makes such a difference to our mental health and wellbeing.

“So let’s be that ‘Piglet’ to someone in our life today who is anxious and afraid. Sending thoughts to those having a Difficult Day today and hope you have your own Piglet to sit beside you,” she says.

“Today was a Difficult Day,” said Pooh.

There was a pause.

“Do you want to talk about it?” asked Piglet.

“No,” said Pooh after a bit. “No, I don’t think I do.”

“That’s okay,” said Piglet, and he came and sat beside his friend.

“What are you doing?” asked Pooh.

“Nothing, really,” said Piglet. “Only, I know what Difficult Days are like. I quite often don’t feel like talking about it on my Difficult Days either.

“But goodness,” continued Piglet, “Difficult Days are so much easier when you know you’ve got someone there for you. And I’ll always be here for you, Pooh.”

And, as Pooh sat there, working through in his head his Difficult Day, while the solid, reliable Piglet sat next to him quietly, swinging his little legs…he thought that his best friend had never been more right.”

AA Milne

For help with addiction recovery, contact Wedge Gardens rehab centre in Johannesburg. Visit www.wedgegardens.co.za or phone 010 534 6596.

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Diversity training for Wedge Gardens

Wedge Gardens Treatment Centre has started Diversity Training for the Wedge team, every second week, to empower its employees to understand and respect each other and become more culturally sensitive to its patients’ needs.

Rebecca Mlokhoti and Hlumela Anderson recently shared their Xhosa culture, traditions, milestones and expectations with the team.

“As an Afrikaans woman, it was enlightening and interesting to hear about the Xhosa ways of growing and living,” says Wedge social worker Karen Griessel.

“The aim is to ultimately roll out the programme out to patients too,” says Wedge Gardens Manager Adèl Grobbelaar.

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