By Jullie Yap Daza
Twenty years a drug addict. For the last 25 years, founder and president of a foundation that operates a rehab center amid the lush greenery of Talisay, Batangas, that has “graduated” 300 ex-abusers plus 700 others who did not finish the program.
Martin R. Infante is not a miracle worker, but he believes that the key is “getting to know one’s self” – best if it happens with a spiritual component. What has he culled from 45 years of a learning experience too precious not to pass on to those he passionately wants to help?
“Drugs today are very different,” not just those being sold but also those used to treat patients.
“Users start out with an attitude problem.” Then it becomes a matter of behavior. Behavior modification needs to be complemented with clinical intervention.
“Currently at our facility at SELF (Self Enhancement for Life Foundation Inc.), we have 12 girls and 68 boys. What is it about girls? We’ll try to find out.”
“While they’re undergoing rehab, it’s not good to let a group get together to compare notes about their experiences. You never know, someone will glamorize his or her account.”
“Spirituality is important, to imbue them with a sense of purpose” after completing the program.
The war on drugs should address “demand side, supply side” simultaneously.
SELF’s 18-month program, the only one of its kind in the country, costs R55,000 a month. The residents live in a nice big house on a breezy one-hectare property in the countryside – do they realize how lucky they are to be cared for by a doctor, dentist, nurse, psychiatrists, and social workers, in what could pass for a sanctuary?
The youngest resident is 16 years old, the oldest a 67-year-old man who flunked out the first time and was returned by his siblings (who probably found him too much of a “problem child” at home).
SELF’s silver anniversary will feature a lecture by Dr. Gregory Bunt, president of the International Society of Addiction Medicine, on Sept. 14 at SMX Aura in Taguig. Dr. Bunt will discuss the “bio-psycho-socio-spiritual journey to recovery” that just about sums up the total well-being approach. For inquiries, 809-3491, 0928-552-5656.