Alcohol and Drug
Abuse Treatment Center:
Holistic Light

Holistic Light is an alcohol and drug abuse treatment center for people who are struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse. This holistic facility is located in Costa Rica and provides many things that other drug and alcohol treatment program facilities do not offer. While at Holistic Light, people receive individualized care. There is a very strong emphasis on nutrition and supplements, exercise, and other activities that will help the addict or alcoholic learn coping mechanisms other than turning to drugs and alcohol.

The Holistic Light alcohol and drug abuse treatment center has its headquarters in New York. Patients first come to this location and they are then flown to Costa Rica to the actual drug rehab facility. At Holistic Light, the belief is that dealing with addiction requires a person to be healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is not enough to simply detox and then go back to your old life.

One of the most impressive options that Holistic Light offers is their guarantee. If a patient leaves their alcohol and drug abuse treatment center and needs to come back because they have slipped back in to drinking or drugging, their stay will be free.

Holistic Light employs an expansion of the Marshak Method, named after Dr. Jacob Marshak, a very successful addiction specialist. This holistic method is based on the idea that our body has a "base" where it is supposed to be. Treatment for drug addiction and alcoholism with this method involves bringing your body back to this base so the patient can be as productive and healthy as possible.

To learn more about this alcohol and drug abuse treatment center, read the interview below with Jorge Mena. Jorge was a patient at Holistic Light, admitted for help overcoming clonazepam addiction, but he now works there. He is an example of how this method works, and he believes in it so strongly that he has stayed there to continue helping people.

If you feel comfortable, could you tell me more about your addiction and how you ended up at this facility? What was your detox like without any kind of medicine?

I came to this drug abuse treatment center of my own will. I had stopped using alcohol and drugs, but was still addicted to a pharmaceutical, Clonazepam, for over 5 years. I was prescribed Clonazepam in a previous rehab in order to combat withdrawals from alcohol and drugs, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Detoxing from Clonazepam is very difficult and dangerous, since it’s an anti-convulsive medication and when stopped suddenly, can cause physical problems such as high blood pressure, flushing and convulsions. I had tried before, over a longer period of time, but the symptoms were too strong. Thank god I did not have any problems detoxing at the drug abuse treatment center.

I think the combination of the Doctor’s extensive knowledge of western and eastern medicine, the supplements, plus the eastern disciplines of breathing, yoga and qi gong, which are part of everyday life there, made detoxing painless. Don’t get me wrong, I did feel withdrawals several times, but they were very mild and tolerable. I think that the holistic approach at this alcohol and drug abuse treatment center is a winning combination. They are not against pharmaceutical medication when needed, but would rather go natural with natural supplements, herbal medicines and the oriental disciplines. This is to strengthen energy and focus, along with acupuncture and acupressure.

Are the rooms private or shared? How many people are in a room?

Rooms are shared with two people per room.

Had you ever been to other rehabs or was this your first one? How did you find it and why did you think it was a good fit for you?

I had been to a couple drug and alcohol treatment program facilities prior to this one. I found Holistic Light / Dejaradiccion drug abuse treatment center on the web. I knew there was something missing from my mix of tools to combat not only my addiction to substances, but to live a better and more fulfilling life in harmony with my body, mind and spirit. I believe this is an approach not only for rehab, but if properly applied, can be a lifestyle that can be very fulfilling and prevent the many pathologies that come from stress, unbalanced diet, not breathing properly and incorrect posture.

In your own words, can you describe a typical stay at the facility? How long do most people stay? What are the groups like?

It starts with a detox period which usually lasts for 3-10 days depending on the drugs. There are some drugs that may take a little longer as they are more psychically addictive and complicated, such as in the case of Clonazepam. But the patient is allowed to participate in the daily activities and most do from the beginning, within their detox process difficulties and capabilities. Once they have gone through the detox, they get more involved with the daily activities at the drug abuse treatment center and participate fully in all of them.

The day starts, Monday to Friday, with a first wake-up call at 6:30, then a 6:45 final call - during this time most people take care of personal hygiene such as showers, cleaning their room and making their beds. The morning wake-up is followed by breathing exercises at 7 a.m., either on the balcony overlooking the ocean or at the beach.

Breakfast is at 8:10 AM. A typical breakfast consists of eggs, fresh local fruits, whole grains and pure, freshly squeezed juice. We can substitute the eggs for granola or oatmeal and yogurt for the fruits and juices. There is one juice combination we have on a daily basis: beet, carrot, and ginger with a little virgin oil. It is very good for the liver.

After breakfast, the Doctor usually does consultations with detoxing patients and older ones to ask them how they slept and how they feel that morning, and diagnose a treatment for whatever is wrong or needs attention. Usually, if he can treat it on the spot, as in the case of pain, he does it during this time. If not, he may start with a particular treatment and come back at night after Qi Gong for his second round to help the patient, usually with sleeping disorders such as mine.

Then there is a two hour period to go to the beach for enjoyment such as surfing, swimming or just walking on the nearly deserted beaches after breakfast and the Doctor’s consultations. Patients come back at 11 a.m. for Yoga, followed by lunch.

After lunch there is group therapy, which is wonderful and everyone participates and gets a chance to relate to each other. I found group sessions to be extremely therapeutic. Usually, here we relate our stories and do basic exercises depending on the therapy. In my opinion, group therapy creates fellowship and the ability to relate to someone who is having many of the same problems as you.

Immediately following group therapy, we have individual therapy, which everyone gets to do one-on-one with their therapist at least 3 times per week. This is where you work on more sensitive or personal problems. The days you don’t have individual, we have massages such as a Tibetan massage, to name one of several we provide, which is designed to unblock your energy channels so energy flows better within your body.

We then have an hour of free time and at 6 p.m., we have dinner followed by Qi Gong at 7 p.m. Then the Doctor sees everyone and uses his oriental medicines of herbs, teas, acupuncture, moxibustion, and acupressure to relieve any abstinence syndromes from discomfort to insomnia and anxiety plus any physical problems you might have, such as an injured joint or muscle, back and knee pain or headaches. He also is constantly monitoring your development and explains things very well, so you don’t feel lost. Then it’s free time to watch a movie, play some kind of game, such as dominos, or read a book.

Sundays are considered the rest days and are used for recreation. The idea is to create a feeling that fun things can happen without using drugs or alcohol to have a good time. Fun and exciting activities are planned to reinforce this concept such as fishing, deep-sea snorkeling on the outer reefs, visits to natural caves, stalagmites, or beautiful lagoons located in several nearby national parks, all day surfing on semi deserted beaches, horseback riding, etc.

Most people stay the full length of the drug abuse treatment center's program, which is 28 days.

Can you explain more about the exercise/meditation/yoga that’s done there and explain why it’s so important?

Yoga, breathing and Qi Gong are designed to help have balance and cohesion between mind, body and spirit. They are disciplines used to concentrate and learn to pay attention to detail. They help you to have awareness of your body sensations, restore balance to the body and learn to focus, as well as to have a clear mind that can better control and process your thoughts and feelings. By practicing them, you are more in touch with yourself. This therefore increases your energy, awareness, self-control and self-esteem. You become calmer and are no longer drawn into the emotions or thoughts but are able to observe them without reacting compulsively.

What were the meals like? How was your nutrition plan decided upon? Do you still follow a similar plan?

Meals were excellent and they are designed around a low glycemic diet and fresh ingredients: fruits, vegetables, and fish primarily, of course without any chemical additives. A low glycemic diet helps the patient have a steady sugar balance in the bloodstream. When you add sugars, white starches or simple carbohydrates, they are converted very quickly into sugar. Sugar spikes create cravings both for more of that type of food as well as drugs, and can alter mood swings drastically.

Breakfast was discussed earlier, so I will concentrate on lunch and dinner. Both lunch and dinner are always served around a salad full of fresh vegetables, steamed veggies with beans or brown rice, and alternate sources of protein between fish, chicken, and meat. An example of a dinner dish would be handmade whole flower tortillas with fresh avocado salad, chicken, cheese, and a cooked vegetable mix, such as chayote or vegetable pear with corn and carrots, all served together as an open quesadilla and topped with a fresh pesto sauce. For dessert, there is always plenty of fresh fruit.

Have you maintained exercise/yoga?

Yes. I continue to practice a combination of breathing, followed by a basic movement of Yoga called Sun Salutation in the mornings. At night, I practice Qi Gong. They have really helped me out with stress, anxiety, and to calm myself down.

Can you explain your role at this alcohol and drug abuse treatment center now?

I do public relations for this alcohol and drug abuse treatment center around the world and marketing in Latin America. Additionally, whenever possible, I help out at the center.

What exactly is the Latin division? What are your responsibilities?

The Latin Division was created to bring awareness and market our clinic and the Holistic approach to recovery in Latin America I handle public relations and marketing to the health-care community and answer inquiries from our website.

For more information about the Holistic Light Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center, please visit their website.

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