Squamish centre treats addiction, depression with Dr. Deepak Chopra’s unique approach

Published: April 8, 2014
Addiction

Support worker Baljit Binning outside Chopra Addiction & Wellness Centre in Squamish, BC, March 12, 2014. Arlen Redekop / PNG staff photo

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

For nearly five years, Barbara — a mother and wife based in the Kootenays — “couldn’t see a way out” of her debilitating depression.

“I was just getting worse and worse,” Barbara, who asked not to use her last name, told Vancouver Desi. “My whole outlook on life was just black. I couldn’t see a way out.”

Fortunately, she heard about the Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center in Squamish — one of B.C.’s few residential treatment centres.

The Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center gives those suffering from addiction and/or underlying issues the opportunity to heal with a unique approach through its partnership with Dr. Deepak Chopra.

It employs the curriculum from his book, Freedom from Addiction, and combines both western and eastern philosophies, like Ayurveda, so the guests — who stay at the facility for up to six weeks — practise yoga and meditation every day, eat a vegetarian diet and don’t smoke or consume coffee or sugar.

While Barbara found the daily yoga and meditation “calming and centering,” her six-week stay in March 2011 was still difficult.

“There was nothing easy about it because what happens is you’re … digging into what’s causing you to be depressed,” she said. “(But) the support and the caring and the love that was there was amazing, and it helped me a lot to get through the hard things I had to dig up and face and get rid of.

“It’s made such a difference to my life.”

Barbara, now 65, is just one of several hundred people struggling with depression or addiction who has gone through the program.

“I believe that the people who come into the door really are struggling with their emotions,” said Nirmala Raniga, the centre’s founder and director. “If you can provide appropriate support with compassion, those people can change.”

addiction

Nirmala Raniga at Chopra Addiction & Wellness Centre in Squamish, BC, March 12, 2014. Arlen Redekop / PNG

Raniga opened the centre in 2010 because she believed B.C. needed “some resources and places to send people” struggling with addiction.

While traditional treatment centres exist, Raniga’s ayurvedic approach offers something different as it focuses on “healing the body — not just stopping use.”

“That’s what was missing (in B.C.),” she said.

While addicts may quit their addiction, they often replace it with more coffee, sugar or cigarettes — so the centre cuts those things out altogether. It also has an after-care program that connects clients with a therapist following their stay.

Raniga’s been working in addictions for more than 25 years — before she opened the centre in Squamish she was running five outpatient clinics across the Lower Mainland, which serve more than 2,000 B.C. patients.

“(It was) very, very tough to get rolling,” Raniga said of when she first started operating outpatient clinics in the late 1980s.

Most clinics and centres she opened ran into issues with the community. According to Raniga, her clinic in Chilliwack was threatened with eviction because neighbours believed she was “causing grief,” and even The Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center took years to establish.

“I was at the mercy of the District of Squamish to give me a licence,” she said.

Once she finally purchased the property it took three years to rezone, which involved countless hearings and public processes.

“Most neighbourhoods don’t want a treatment facility because they think it’s going to bring criminals in,” she said.

But addiction isn’t understood by the general public, said Raniga.

“The average person who suffers … is your average person who has a house, who has a job, who has a family — and their addiction, it’s easier to hide because they’re not living on the street,” she said. “If you have a house, you have a job and your addiction goes out of control, you’ll lose everything.”

Once Raniga organized an open house with the Squamish community — which more than 60 people attended — her centre was finally accepted. Raniga assured the community the centre wouldn’t accept any court-mandated clients, and also committed a no-charge service for those along the Sea-to-Sky, meaning she always has one free bed — valued at $18,000 for a full six-week stay — available for a community member.

“I don’t give up,” Raniga said matter-of-factly about her commitment to her work. “If you take away the addiction, what is the person holding on to? Ninety-nine per cent is just pain.

“We want to be able to empower them to make healthy choices, to be conscious of the choices they’re making.”

You can follow Raniga’s Chopra Addiction and Wellness Blog on vancouverdesi.com.

lcahute@vancouverdesi.com

twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , , , , , ,





Featured

Ottawa's Elgin Street courthouse.

Federal court judge upholds passport ban on Toronto-area man who changed name

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A federal court judge upheld a decision to ban a Toronto-area man who changed his name based on advice from an…
Continue Reading »

Red-Carpet-300x186

Accepting nominations: Surrey’s Darpan Magazine to hold Extraordinary Achievement Awards next month

TOM ZILLICH SURREY NOW The achievements of 10 local people will be celebrated at an invitation-only gala event next month. The fifth annual Extraordinary Achievement…
Continue Reading »

india

Indian minister refers to Dec. 16 fatal gang rape as “small incident” that hurt tourism

IANS New Delhi  – An Indian minister is embroiled in controversy after he referred to Delhi’s fatal Dec. 16 gang rape as a “small incident”…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Ottawa's Elgin Street courthouse.

Federal court judge upholds passport ban on Toronto-area man who changed name

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A federal court judge upheld a decision to ban a Toronto-area man who changed his name based on advice from an…
Continue Reading »

Red-Carpet-300x186

Accepting nominations: Surrey’s Darpan Magazine to hold Extraordinary Achievement Awards next month

TOM ZILLICH SURREY NOW The achievements of 10 local people will be celebrated at an invitation-only gala event next month. The fifth annual Extraordinary Achievement…
Continue Reading »

Abraham Azhakathu

Travel request from Alberta priest accused of sexual assault rejected

THE CANADIAN PRESS PEACE RIVER, Alta. — A Catholic priest in northwestern Alberta who is accused of sexually assaulting a minor has been told he…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

teen music video

Vancouver teen’s music video gets over 300k views in less than a week

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver teen and aspiring musician Sid Bhullar has released his third music video online  – and within one week he’s already surpassed 300,000…
Continue Reading »

Unruly passenger tied to his seat

Drunk Air India passenger tied to his seat on flight after attacking people onboard, tearing clothes of two pursers

VANCOUVER DESI An Air India passenger, who went wild after a few drinks and allegedly tore the clothes of two pursers and bit some fellow…
Continue Reading »

Const. Ian MacDonald says: ‘You don’t want to see anybody carted away in an ambulance over this, and that is a very real possibility. Ric Ernst/PNG

‘It’s pride getting in the way’: Feuding Indo-Canadian youth factions worry Abbotsford cops (w/ video)

JENNIFER SALTMAN  VANCOUVER DESI  No one really knows how the conflict started. According to a number of people who are involved, in February one person…
Continue Reading »

Stone-health-Kaleem

Eight-year-old Indian boy’s swollen hands are larger than his head

VANCOUVER DESI Kaleem, an eight-year-old Indian boy suffering from a mystery condition has puzzled doctors after his hands swelled to giant proportions and are larger…
Continue Reading »

India-surgery

Doctors remove unborn child’s skeleton from woman’s womb after 36 years

VANCOUVER DESI In an unusual surgery, doctors in India removed the skeleton of an unborn baby from its mother’s womb after 36 years, the Press…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

The ice bucket challenge has hit Bollywood. From L to R: Sonakshi Sinha, Abhishek Bachcan and Mandira Bedi. YouTube.

The ALS ice bucket challenge hits Bollywood (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI The ALS ice bucket challenge has officially hit Bollywood. Originating in the U.S., the icy cold feat has swept the globe, dominating news…
Continue Reading »

Indian comedy actor  Kapil Sharma and Sumona Chakravarti pose during a press conference to promote 'Comedy Nights with Kapil'. NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images

Kapil Sharma onto new ventures, including Comedy Nights tour that will reach Canada

IANS Mumbai  – Popular stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma, who is set to make his Bollywood debut with director duo Abbas-Mustan’s untitled film, is looking forward…
Continue Reading »

Barfi! hit Japan theatres on Friday.

Award-winning film Barfi! hits theatres in Japan

IANS New Delhi — After garnering appreciation in countries like South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, China and Hong Kong, Ranbir Kapoor’s Barfi! hit theatres in Japan…
Continue Reading »