Addiction recovery centre for Middle Eastern communities

The Maronite Eparchy and Harris Park group White Stone have just acquired land to build an addiction recovery centre tailored to the Middle Eastern community.

Contracts were signed Wednesday for 100 acres of land in The Oaks near Camden.

Cultural beliefs mean many Middle Eastern addiction sufferers are too ashamed to seek help.

Parramatta rehabilitation counsellor and White Stone vice-chairman Chantale Ishac said Middle Eastern families either turn a blind eye or don’t practise ‘‘tough love’’.

‘‘In our way of loving our families we are actually enabling them, it’s cruel but true,’’ she said.

‘‘You’ll find people from Middle Eastern cultures don’t generally access existing services and when they do, it’s usually due to a legal motivator.

‘‘Our service will be culturally specific and we’re going to be educating the families too.

‘‘When they come to us, it’s going to feel like home.’’

Now, the pressure is on White Stone to raise almost two million dollars to pay for the land and building so it can open next year.

The group will spend this year fundraising and finalising their recovery program, which will address the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs of participants.

Chairman Sister Rose Therese Tannous, Maronite Sister of the Holy Family, said Middle Eastern families were silently begging for the centre to open.

‘‘As a counsellor and spiritual director I hear people’s pain and I know how much our families suffer from this disease,’’ she said.

The nun said she was divinely inspired to build the facility after visiting a similar recovery centre in Lebanon two years ago.

Although White Stone will be open to people of all faiths or no faith, its services will be in line with Maronite ethics, including spiritual activities in its program.

Go to to follow White Stone’s progress.

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