People with drug and alcohol addiction in the Grampians region have a new rehab option with the opening of the Windana Drug and Alcohol Recovery treatment community in Eureka.
Stage one of the village has been open for several weeks with a handful of clients already receiving treatment, with the final stage due to be handed over on December 21 and fully operational early next year.
Up to 20 patients at a time will spend about 90 days at the rehabilitation facility, which comprises residential units, a main administration/kitchen/living building, and a separate building with therapy and treatment rooms.
Windana’s rehabilitation services manager Clare Davies said there was strong demand for rehabilitation beds in the region, with alcohol, cannabis and methamphetamine the most common addictions.
“But alcohol is by far the biggest reason people seek help,” she said.
However there are no detox facilities, meaning people will still have to travel to Geelong or Footscray for detox before entering the Windana residential program to build the skills to live life free of addiction.
“Most areas the size of Ballarat have a withdrawal unit somewhere, but that is a glaring omission in treatment options here,” she said.
Unlike traditional rehab centres, the Windana therapeutic community model sees the patients themselves taking charge of turning their addictions around.
“We create change using the community here. We look at things like attachment therapy, social learning, peer support, self help and mutual help and how they all work together,” Ms Davies said.
Residents take on responsibility for running the facility, cooking their own food, tending the garden, and as they progress through treatment being given extra responsibilities right up to being resident manager, in charge of the kitchen, running the office and even being involved in interview panels.
“The idea is we are giving real world experience, what it’s like to be in charge of other people, being where someone in charge tells you what you have to do, having to do things you don’t really want to … and learning new skills how to regulate emotions and deal with life in a safe space.”
No one is forced to be there, with all clients voluntarily coming to the publicly-funded facility.
“We provide treatment for people who have had substance use disorder and usually an extensive history of problematic use that they have identified. They are all people who have put up their hand to say they need some help,” Ms Davies said.
“Ninety days is the minimum period that people require to create long lasting change.”