A place for healing
A look inside the adult treatment centre

by Cheryl Leschasin
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 30/97) - Set on the shore of Bran Lake, Northern Addiction Services adult treatment centre, 19 kilometres east of Yellowknife, sees about 240 clients every year.

Less than half of the clients are from the local area, the remainder travel in from across the NWT.

Upon admission, clients are immediately introduced into the assessment phase of the program, when counsellors monitor detoxication and help clients break addictive behaviour.

Once counsellors decide the client is ready, the recovery part of the program begins.

Recovery includes examining reasons why the client initially developed an addiction and what they can do to stay clean upon returning to their community.

No time limits are set to complete either phase of the program, though clients are generally through the program in 35 days.

In both parts, clients participate in a composite program, designed to meet the needs of every individual.

"We have individual, group, lectures and self-directed study," said Dale Graham, clinical director of the adult treatment centre.

The goal of the centre is to seek out buried problems and help clients face them. "We see drug and alcohol addiction as a symptom of other underlying problems," said Graham.

However, Graham admits the program does have shortcomings.

Currently, treatment is not available in all Northern languages and the needs of women with small children are not being fully addressed. Also, Graham would like to see family therapy available.

The centre, which boasts a recreation room, weight room, craft area, gazebo, boat launch and meeting and ceremony room, strives to provide alternatives forms of relaxation and recreation to clients.

"For most who come here, drinking or drugs is a form of recreation," said Graham. Showing adults new forms of recreation is part of the role of the adult treatment centre.