The Fellowships started many years ago in the Netherlands. This year Alcoholics Anonymous is celebrating their 60th year anniversary and Narcotics Anonymous their 20th, however, the 12 Step Treatment is quite new. Only three years ago PROMIS opened an office at the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. Today PROMIS is situated in a beautiful 17th century canal house on the Herengracht.
PROMIS is one of the first private treatment centres in Holland where addiction is treated as an illness. Until 2 years ago addiction was not treated at all by the 12 Steps in Holland. The Dutch approach was, and to a certain extent still is, substituting one habit for another. People with a heroin dependency were given methadone, alcoholics were taught how to limit their consumption of alcohol and sometimes even recommended to smoke hashish or marijuana, which are not illegal in Holland. Needless to say, very few people recovered. Many addicts faced a future without a job or a place to live or a steady relationship.
This situation is changing. Since PROMIS opened its doors in Amsterdam, government funded programs are increasingly endorsing 12 step based treatment. Already 10 people have been selected from AA and NA meetings in Amsterdam for Minnesota model counselling training in Hazelden USA.
We still have a long way to go. Our commitment in Amsterdam is to offer a premier treatment service and that is exactly what we did last year. A lot of interest has been shown in Dr.Robert’s books because doctor’s education has left them with limited knowledge of how to treat addiction.
Generally people hear about PROMIS by reputation, we are one of the few clinics that offer a discrete family programme to help further recovery. We always try to invite people for a relaxed talk at our Counselling Centre at the Herengracht in Amsterdam. During this conversation we listen to what they tell us about their problems and we offer them a solution: treatment, either as an out-patient or in the clinic. If primary treatment is too early for someone, we offer day treatment or just one-to-ones.
When family members, a concerned friends or sometimes employers contacts us for help, because they are concerned about someone with addiction issues, we invite them to prepare for an intervention on location. During this conversation we ask the family to participate in the process of stopping their relative/friend/employee’s denial with a view to accepting professional help.
At this moment we work with 4 people at PROMIS Netherlands:
Cissy Fisser, addiction counselor and head of housekeeping, Juul van der Does, GP and addiction counselor, Rene Fonck, administration and trainee-counselor, Peter Kaagman, addiction counselor and assistant-manager. On housekeeping we have two sisters, Saron and Saren.