Alcoholic shares his recovery centre 'hell'

Allegations refuted
A patient who booked himself into a recovery centre says the establishment is not living up to expectations.
Otis Daniels
A self-confessed alcoholic who booked himself into the Mount Sinai Recovery Centre in Usakos, says he is deeply disappointed with the treatment meted out to patients at the facility.

Mr. X (real name known to publication), arrived at Mount Sinai after a five-week stint at Etakameno Rehab Centre in Windhoek. “I was supposed to stay at Mount Sinai for three months but decided to leave after 27 days.”

According to Mr. X, all patients who book into the addiction treatment centre for rehabilitation, pay N$7 000 monthly. During his stay, there were approximately 20 patients. He said that patients are told to sign an indemnity form which states that Mount Sinai is not responsible for rehabilitating them as well as for their mental and physical well-being. This form is allegedly only issued a week after patients are admitted. “We had a problem with our printer. It is the first thing you sign when you arrive in addition to us explaining the process. We provide services and, if people are not serious, we cannot do anything,” a representative of Mount Sinai, who did not wish to be named, responded.


Mr. X alleges that the “so-called” caretakers are former patients. “Some of them are still users and tend to return to the facility drunk whenever they visited the town. When they return, they usually abuse the patients. A 19-year-old patient was locked up in a chicken pen with turkeys. He was also chained to a cement platform and severely assaulted. The caretakers also have relationships with female patients. There is nothing Christian about the behaviour of the staff at Mount Sinai.”

The representative of Mount Sinai refuted this. “It was not an assault. Some patients have numerous other issues. This person vandalised vehicles. The guys on duty became frustrated and this ended in a brawl. The individual was constrained by being locked in a chicken pen.”

According to Mr. X, some patients are able to maintain their drug habits because someone is supplying them at a cost. The representative responded, however, that they are not aware of this. "Some patients, however, sneaked out during the middle of the night. Those caught were put back in the main house for observation and had to restart the rehab program again."


Mr. X says that the food is insufficient, the menu does not change, and is not nutritious at all. “We received porridge in the mornings and we are issued one cup of sugar for 10 days to use with our porridge and coffee. At 11:00, we received two slices of bread. For lunch, we usually had macaroni or rice with soya soup. For supper, we had four slices of bread daily.”

This is not true, according to the centre representative. “There is a variety of food available. Pork, beef, and fish form part of the diet and everyday meals. No one goes hungry.”


Mr. X also says that the accommodation at the facility is very constrained. “The rooms are small with four beds and no cupboards. You do not have privacy. I shared a room with a mentally ill patient and it was hell. The gentleman did not sleep at night and relieved himself whenever he felt the need - in our room. The roommates had to clean up and also clean the patient and wash his clothes.”

The Mount Sinai representative pointed out that there are no mentally ill patients housed at the facility. “All persons here are dealing with drug-related issues. Many arrive confused due to long-term drug and alcohol abuse.”


According to Mr. X, Mount Sinai also has no general or social workers or even nurses working there. He also alleges that the boot camps and vocational training proclaimed to be on offer at the facility are nonexistent despite it being promised and the impression that such opportunities do exist on the website.”

The representative from Mount Sinai confirmed that there are no nurses or doctors on the site. “People are taken for medical consultations whenever the need arises.” He did not want to comment on the boot camp and vocational training issue.