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

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

sexual harassment

‘Will you have fun with me?’: Immigration officer sexually harasses female passenger at Delhi airport

HINDUSTAN TIMES An immigration officer at the Delhi airport has been suspended after a female passenger complained that he sexually harassed her by asking obscene…
Continue Reading »

crime-Surrey

Two Surrey men in hospital with gunshot wounds after targeted shooting

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds following what appears to be a targeted shooting in Surrey on Thursday night….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

Changes to Nova Scotia law allow sex assault victims to sue retroactively

By Keith Doucette THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted can now launch civil lawsuits against their perpetrators regardless of…
Continue Reading »

Changes to Nova Scotia law allow sex assault victims to sue retroactively

By Keith Doucette THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted can now launch civil lawsuits against their perpetrators regardless of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

World Cup final

Underarm incident recalled as Australia-New Zealand rivalry rekindles in World Cup final

STEVE MCMORRAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Relations between New Zealand and Australia at a political level have regained their natural cordiality in the…
Continue Reading »

Cricket World Cup

Clarke’s Australians prepare to take on unpopular role in the World Cup final vs New Zealand

JOHN PYE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Win or lose, Michael Clarke and his Australian teammates are probably going to be portrayed as the…
Continue Reading »

India-Australia-weird news

Youth cut his tongue as sacrifice at an Indian temple for nation’s cricket victory

IANS Chennai – In a senseless act, a cricket crazy youth in Tamil Nadu offered the tip of his tongue as a sacrifice at a…
Continue Reading »

Freedom-Section 66A-India

Teenager shoots himself after father bans Facebook chat

IANS Lucknow - A 14-year-old boy shot himself Thursday after his father reprimanded him for chatting too often on social networking site Facebook, police said. The…
Continue Reading »

messy custody battle-desi lingerie model

Jeremy Renner’s messy divorce from B.C. model gets messier as custody battle rages

VANCOUVER DESI A B.C. woman who was married to Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner is being accused of being a gold digger and blackmailer who has…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

pakistani sex meera-Veena Malik

Gallery: Bollywood celebs in trouble with the law

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Indian film actress Shruti Haasan has run into legal trouble after she pulled out of a signed contract, according to an…
Continue Reading »

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Bollywood actor Salman Khan denies he was driving or drunk during 2002 accident

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Friday told a Mumbai court, conducting the trial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving him, that he…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood movie

Amitabh Bachchan: Balki challenges me with never-done-before roles

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai – R. Balakrishnan and Amitabh Bachchan’s much anticipated third outing “Shamitabh” turned out to be a box office disaster, but…
Continue Reading »