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Treatment - 12 Principles

We at Muktangan now believe that addiction as a disease affects every aspect of the afflicted person's life; at the physical and mental level, in relationships, and even causes the person to lose all sense of morality. The disease has a way of recurring and only a total change in attitude can bring any meaningful recovery.
Through our experience of treating more than 14,000 friends, we have developed the following 12 principals of treatment:

  1. Unconditional acceptance: Unconditional acceptance of our friend as a human being differentiates his behavior and person-hood. We avoid labeling, so instead of calling a client an "addict", we always refer to him as a friend or "bandhu" (brother).
  2. Every human being is rational & trustworthy: We believe that every individual is rational, constructive, positive, trustworthy and full of potential. He may for some time act, think, feel and behave irrationally, but he has an innate capacity of correcting his thoughts, feelings and actions if he realizes that they are causing hindrances in life. We try to help our client to detect his distorted cognitions and help him replace those by appropriate ones.
  3. Security, love and gratitude: Security and love are very important needs of the person suffering from the disease of addiction. We feel that dormitory living and community approach provides emotional bonding among the friends. They sense and feel love in the setting. We don't have a separate ward for detoxification. Observing severe withdrawals of new friends helps others understand the gravity of the problem. Further, senior inmates help in nursing the newcomers during withdrawals.
  4. Role models: 'Living role models' motivate our friends and they identify their emotions with their counsellors. Therefore a majority of Muktangan staff consists of ex-addicts. Our staff acts as sponsor, big brother, role model and counsellor. Due to this, family members develop faith in the program.
  5. Values: Restoring faith in human values is the essence of recovery. Honesty, open-mindedness and willingness are considered to be values of recovery. Our daily routine reinforces value of time while yoga reinforces value of discipline, cleanliness and commitment.
  6. Work is recovery: We believe that work conditioning is an essential part of recovery. All maintenance jobs, cooking, cleaning is done by inmates by rotation. It helps them to condition themselves for physical work. Further they are supposed to wash and iron their own clothes, clean their own plates and glasses irrespective of their financial statuses. This gives them realization about the value of family members' work and many are motivated to share household work after discharge. We also help many friends get jobs through placement agencies. If possible the friends are accepted at the center as volunteers or staff. Some of them attend only therapy sessions while staying at home ('Day Care') and some who are working in the city make Muktangan their 'half-way home' before getting absorbed in the social mainstream.
  7. Reintegration in the family setup is the key of rehabilitation: In India family system is still strong. Generally family assumes the responsibility of rehabilitation of the recovered addict. Therefore we primarily focus on reintegration in the family. During the course of the treatment we arrange two family educative group sessions and motivate the family members to accept the friend as a person while condemning his behaviour. We stress the need to provide watchful support for his sober living. For co-dependents we extend exhaustive counselling sessions and group therapy. We also try to include influential members from the society to help in recovery and reconciliation process.
  8. Recovery - a journey of happiness: Human beings are happiest when they establish their life goals and actively strive to achieve them. The process satisfaction is more relevant than the point satisfaction. We help our friend to establish his life goals and also short term, mid term and long term goals. He is encouraged to stay on the path.
  9. Gandhiji's five principles of simple life to be adopted: Our founder late Dr. Anita Awachat was a staunch follower of Mahatma Gandhi. She believed that if a person follows the tatvas (principles) of satya (truth/honesty), ahimsa (non-violence), asteya (non-borrowing/stealing), aparigraha (destitution, living with minimum needs) and bramhacharya (celibacy, ever preferring to be a student) he can be reckoned as god's child. The community living at Muktangan is based on these principles. We believe that these principles and rational thinking together are the building blocks of a sober life.
  10. Self-help groups: Self-help groups - Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the inevitable part of the recovery process. Therefore we organize institutional meetings of NA/AA thrice a week. We also arrange day-long meetings where senior members share their experiences. The local addresses of AA meetings are provided to every friend at the time of discharge. Children of addicts meet regularly under the banner of Ankur group. Wives of addicts try to learn from each others' experiences in Sahachari group.
  11. Nurturing relationships: Restoring and/or nurturing and enriching relationships is a very important part of the recovery process. Healthy relations assist the recovery process. We realized that friends after discharge suffer from many marital problems. Therefore, we started the group called Sahajeevan, for marital counselling. It has helped many couples to restore their relationship.
  12. Positive substitutes for addiction: Healthy and creative activities like art, music, hobbies, and physical exercise can substitute addiction. We believe that no artificial drug should be used for treating addiction. We encourage friends to develop hobbies and express themselves in the art of their choice. Inmates publish a handwritten magazine (Manogat) monthly, beautify the premises and learn music. We have our own library of books, audio and video-cassettes. Yoga and meditation is taught to all patients. All these activities give a healthy high!

Apart from these, some of the other aspects of our treatment are:

  • Minimum medication administered - enough to relieve the patient of the intense withdrawals
  • Emphasis on clinical and ward observation. The patient's validated history is collected
  • Psychological tests administered as required to get an idea about the patient's personality and coping up patterns