Asiboni Mbala successfully melds the Minnesota Method and the Biopsychosocial
philosophy with our own unique, holistic approach to treatment. Hinged
on the fundamental principle of nurturing and the respect of our clients’ individual process, we offer a safe environment in which the journey of
our clients can be contained.
Asiboni Mbala Outpatient Recovery Centre believes in the concept of addiction
as a chronic, progressive and incurable disease. Our programme is built
on the foundation of the Twelve Step Programme created by Alcoholics Anonymous
and used internationally by various fellowships.
Boundaries are an essential part of treatment and recovery. The Disease
of Addiction is in many ways an antithesis of boundaries and leaves the
addict in the role of both the abuser and the abused. By firmly and lovingly
teaching boundaries, we successfully give the addict something the outside
world rarely can – the ability to use and understand the word NO!
The Minnesota Method
In 1944, the Yale Plan Clinic in Minnesota, USA, hired recovering alcoholics
as paraprofessionals. These members of the treatment team were
called alcoholism workers. They were seen as having unique skills based
on the fact that they could relate to the experience that the patients
were going through.
The Hazelden Rehabilitation Programme was started up in Minnesota in 1949.
This programme built on the progress and success that Yale Plan Clinic
had made by using recovering alcoholics to assist in the treatment of
alcoholism. The method of using those in recovery to serve as part of
the treatment team became internationally renowned as the Minnesota Method
and is used today in thousands of rehabs across the globe.
Asiboni Mbala Outpatient Recovery Centre incorporates the Minnesota Method
into our programme. We believe that using recovering individuals as part
of the counselling team is a highly beneficial practice. With appropriate
use of boundaries and sharp therapeutic practice, recovering individuals
prove to be excellent professionals.
The Disease Concept
It is important that addicts and their loved ones understand that addiction
is an illness. No addict asked to become addicted, just as no one would
ask to get heart disease, and they should not feel guilty about their
disease. However, this does not remove the responsibility from them for
their recovery. If a person eats a certain way or smokes, they increase
their chances of heart disease. It is the same with addiction; if one
uses drugs, they increase their chances of becoming addicted.
In 1956, the American Medical Association formally recognised Alcoholism
as a disease: Definition of Alcoholism – Published by
the Journal of the American Medical Association
"Alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial,
and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.
The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by continuous
or periodic: impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug
alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions
in thinking, most notably denial."
Until that time, it was believed that those who were alcoholic suffered
a moral problem. Chemical dependency is not a result of lack of willpower.
Addicts are amongst the strongest and most resilient people. More than
90% of addicts are able to function even when they are deathly ill.
Prolonged use of drugs alters the neurochemistry in one’s brain.
There is a chemical substance in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is
a chemical that makes us feel good and it can be released through exercise
and other activities. When the addict uses chemicals, they cause flooding
of dopamine to certain parts of the brain. This is why the user feels
so good. Because the addict builds up a tolerance to this Dopamine flooding,
more of the drug is required to achieve the high.
Addiction is a disease and has very little to do with the actual behaviour
or substance. Addiction is an overwhelming and primary urge to escape
uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. The extent of this urge is so much
that it is classified as a mental illness.
A Biopsychosocial Illness
Asiboni Mbala Outpatient Recovery Centre treats addiction as a Biopsychosocial
illness. The disease of addiction affects individual on a biological level.
The changes that occur in the addict’s neurochemical process and
the physical addiction are an integral factor in the illness. Treating
these aspects is an essential part of recovery.
The psychological dysfunction and damage caused by addiction is severe.
This factor ties in closely with the emotional disturbances caused to
the addict by their disease. Through group therapy and cognitive group
therapy, Asiboni Mbala aims to engage with this part of the disease head
Addiction is a serious illness which deeply impairs the addict’s
ability to function as a productive member of society. Addicts have few
coping skills with which to deal effectively with the daily struggles
of life on life’s terms. Asiboni Mbala Outpatient Recovery Centre
incorporates a number of these coping skills into our cognitive groups.
These play an important part in our programme.