Founded in 2004, Nairobi Place Addiction and Treatment Centre came out of founder Lady Sarah Markham’s personal journey to sobriety. While receiving treatment for alcoholism in Cape Town in 2000, Markham, who had been living in Nairobi since 1997, was told by the medical director of the facility that Kenya was in dire need of a new facility for addiction treatment. She heeded the call and founded Nairobi Place, located in Karen, a suburb of Nairobi. Today, it is a modest facility that has treated over 600 clients since opening their doors.
Everything happens at Nairobi Place’s main house, a large manor style home set amidst lush and relaxing gardens. There’s room for 20 residents and rooms are always shared, as the facility believes solitary rooms can promote isolating behavior. Bedrooms themselves are fairly stripped down, with twin beds and plain walls. Whenever possible, Nairobi Place keeps occupancy under capacity to promote more one-on-one attention for each client.
Treatment and Staff
Nairobi Place is committed to promoting the disease model of addiction and offers both a six-week inpatient program as well as an outpatient recovery program. Twelve-step meetings provide the basis of treatment, which includes medical detox, psychiatric consultation, individual psychotherapy, group therapy sessions and a family support program. Their lengths of stay are flexible, with clients free to extend beyond the initial six weeks if they so choose.
Nairobi Place has a therapeutic team comprised of psychologists, addiction counselors and a 24 hour nursing staff. In addition to Markham’s personal connection to the recovery process, many counselors at the facility come from a place of personal recovery themselves, and are quick to share their own stories of sobriety.
There’s also a nine-week outpatient program offered as a primary care option, with one-on-one counseling, family support groups and 12-step meetings. Afterwards, clients may also take part in a two-week outpatient program as a step-down, living on their own but attending daily sessions at the facility. Family involvement is a backbone of all treatment offerings at Nairobi Place, and comes with the requirement that family members attend weekly family program sessions on Saturday mornings between 10 am to noon, after which they can visit until 4:30 pm. If family members refuse to attend, they forfeit their visitation rights. In general, Nairobi Place is a tight ship when it comes to residents’ freedoms. The first five days on-site are probationary, where clients are not allowed any calls or visitors; mobile phones and laptops are not permitted for the entire duration of stay.
Residents are given regular written assignments to process their journey, and art therapy is also available. Though Nairobi Place is a mostly basic facility, there are a few bonuses. The facility keeps an exercise instructor on staff, and there are also Tai Chi and Qi Gong sessions with a therapist twice a week. Finally, the campus has a mini-football field, which doubles as volleyball and badminton courts as well.
Overall, Nairobi Place aims to de-stigmatize addiction and encourage family support. Still, the lack of outside contact and the exclusion of family members unwilling to take part in the process are likely to create an insular recovery experience. Regardless, those who find themselves at Nairobi Place’s gates can expect community-oriented recovery in a tranquil setting.
1st Floor, P.C.E.A Flat, P.O. Box 1137
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