Recovery in Regional Australia

October 20, 2022

Those in recovery will be familiar with the unique challenges we face when getting clean. For Mick, 48*, completing his treatment at South Pacific Private was the easy part; staying clean in a small town, that was the challenge. “I come from a pretty remote town in northern NSW. It’s a place where everyone has known you since you were a kid, and everyone knows your business” says Mick.

Those of us living in rural or remote areas in Australia can find it more difficult to get help when we need it. This is because our access to resources for treatment and recovery can be limited. “What stopped me getting help for so long was the fear and the shame that I thought I would experience if I reached out to someone in my home town,” says Mick. “Living in a remote part of the world is pretty lonely at times, but living with an addiction in a remote part of the world is so much more isolating.”

At South Pacific Private, we have a range of clients that attend treatment from interstate and regional areas across the country. We understand the complexities of leaving your home to seek treatment and the additional support and information you may need both before and after your treatment. 

“Some of our clients travel several hours to begin their treatment at South Pacific Private. This can often mean that they are leaving their lives, including family, children and their work behind,” says therapist, Tori McCarthy. “Sometimes leaving their normal routine and environment allows our clients to directly focus on recovering.

“It can be extremely difficult for them to make that decision and many may feel like they are leaving their comfort zone, however we know that coming into South Pacific Private will give them access to a new support network and resources that they wouldn’t otherwise have in their rural or regional community”, adds Tori.

It’s no secret that people in rural and remote areas are more likely to be battling addiction. In fact, a report published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that alcohol consumption in particular is significantly higher in regional and remote areas of Australia. “Substance abuse and addiction can be very difficult to combat due to the limited resources for treatment and recovery,” explains Tori. “We know there can be a lack of knowledge around what recovery involves and there sometimes can be a stigma attached when you return to a small community as a ‘non-drinker’.” 

Returning home after treatment South Pacific Private 

Our in-patient program at South Pacific Private provides clients with the tools, knowledge, understanding and support to begin their recovery journey. Our programs are designed for sustained, long-term recovery and deliver a full range of integrated clinical expertise, including medical detox and specialist nursing care, psychiatric assessment and treatment, counselling, psychotherapy, educational lectures, guided sessions with families and partners and ongoing, individualised case management.

Clients also have the opportunity to attend Beachwood Supported Living following the in-patient program. A residential sober living facility, right next door to South Pacific Private, Beachwood provides residents with ongoing support and guidance during the early days of their recovery. Beachwood is staffed by support workers 24 hours a day and provides a safe environment for clients to transition back into the world after in-patient treatment. Beachwood is particularly beneficial to our clients who live interstate or in a rural or remote area. 

Those who leave treatment at South Pacific Private work together with their Continuing Care Case Manager to formulate a detailed Continuing Care plan which is tailored to their unique circumstances. This could include identifying triggers that exist within your home or work environment, and making a plan for where and when you will be able to attend 12-step meetings to help you strengthen those bonds within the recovery community “The gift that the Covid-19 pandemic gave us was that we can now attend 12-step meetings online, at any time of day, from anywhere in the world, so for those living in remote areas, there’s no longer a limit on available recovery resources”, says Tori.

For Mick, having continual contact with his case manager after leaving treatment at South Pacific Private made all the difference. “I left SPP and the comfort of being surrounded by people who understood my journey, and all of a sudden I was back in my old home town, with all the old triggers. But knowing I had built so many ties in the recovery community back in Sydney really helped me stay on track”, says Mick.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, anxiety, depression or trauma, reach out to our caring Intake Team for a free, confidential discussion about what help is available on 1800 063 332, or take an online assessment now.

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