About Recovery Direct

Doug Kemp

In 2006 I had reached my breaking point, my infrequent drug and alcohol use had turned into a daily occurrence and was showing no signs of slowing down. A new father and a newly married man with in a highly pressurised work environment and under severe financial and marital pressures I needed to make a significant change and my substance use simply had to go.

It was at this point I realised that there were bigger forces in play than I had anticipated.

Each day would start off with the intention of weaning myself off the booze as it was the catalyst to everything else, and each day I would relapse back into using.

Relapse after relapse and failure after failure, I was making no headway into the goal of “slowing down”.

I tried to avoid the social circles that triggered my use, however with alcohol in the social lubricant mix. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, subconscious forces kept gravitating me back into situations that re-triggered the issue at perpetual “just one drink at the pub” scenarios turned into bender binge sessions which re-included whatever substances were available at the time.

Even while being a functional breadwinner, personally I was wreaking havoc in my marriage and it was beginning to bubble over into my professional work life.

I just could not explain what was happening anymore.

I needed help, and no matter how smart I thought I was, I could not think my way out of this. Depression set in as I started to resign by persona to being “addicted” or an “alcoholic”.

My wife had other plans.

Through some family collusion (with my brother +-2 years sober at the time) I was forcibly introduced to the 12 step program. Sober for a day my brother ferried me off to my first AA meeting. The anxiety of walking into a room of strange faces and the context of the meeting rung every proverbial alarm bell I could imagine.

My skin crawled as I listened to members of that chapter run the routines of recounting their alcohol experiences. While the members were very friendly and inclusive of me in the intervals (my brother being a member) introduced me to the key players and the belief system of “12 step recovery”.

I was a duck far out of water and my core being hated every second of being there.

I went straight home that evening armed with the AA program fliers and medals and finished a bottle of wine and a six pack of beer as I considered my options.

Cognisant that my anxiety was unfounded, and that there was no logical reason for me NOT to attend AA meetings, if the ultimate goal was sobriety. I attended three more consecutive meetings at three different locations. With each new depressing and self-destructive “share” my initial response became more founded in my mind.

It may work for other people but, the Alcoholics Anonymous hat just did not fit on my head.

While an active (yet secret and moderately functional) drug and alcohol user in my own right, by circumstance of being a team leader in my job, one of my staff members landed up in a disciplinary process for substance abuse during office hours.

Ironically at time (an in-spite of my objections) I was charged with taking the lead on the disciplinary proceedings on behalf of the company against him. It was a cold and callous and calculated process that needlessly victimised a person that was in effect in the same boat as I was (the distinction being that he had been caught).

The every fibre my being knew that I was further harming a colleague that in fact needed as much help as I did at the time. Through some negotiation I managed to get the company to agree to get him professional help from the Houghton House treatment centre group.

Vaughans directed approach to treating substance use disorders through focused trauma resolution echos the most up to date research in addiction psychology world wide.

Gone are the days of punitive isolation and victimisation of people suffering with substance use disorders.

The care program has been specifically designed ground up to adapt uniquely to each clients life circumstance and to break the boundaries and stigmas so often associated with these conditions.

Recovery Direct started out as one of South Africa’s leading outpatient programmes and continues to operate within a broad range of auxiliary treatment services from within the aftercare, outpatient, family treatment, trauma treatment and consulting programmes.

Vaughan Pankhurst
Clinical Director