A star is reborn: Pete Doherty's rehabilitation should inspire other addicts


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The Independent Online

The powerful piece by Pete Doherty that we  publish today on his battle with drug addiction nails some important truths.

The Libertines’ frontman, founder of Babyshambles and former boyfriend of Kate Moss, saw his charmed life wrecked by drugs, despite multiple trips to rehabilitation facilities.

This time, he says, it is different. He is being treated at the Hope Rehab Centre in Thailand, set in extensive walled gardens overlooking the sea. It charges $9,000 (£5,750) for a 30-day programme, including flights, which Mr Doherty says is modest compared with other rehab centres, while acknowledging it is still beyond the reach of most addicts. He has recently had his last dose of the maintenance treatment, methadone, and for the first time is clean.

Will he stay that way? Previously, rehab was forced on him – by family, friends or the courts. This time he is there of his own volition. There is the recognition of the losses he has suffered  including work opportunities, his relationship with his children – whom he has seen only once – and the acceptance that he is addicted. There is his recognition too that there are no quick fixes for addiction. Recovery is a long, grindingly hard process, a daily struggle that requires application, discipline and self-belief.

How does an addict give up drugs? With great difficulty. The evidence shows it is a matter of growing up, gaining insight (for years Mr Doherty did not believe he was addicted – he was just “having fun”) and acquiring the desire for an ordinary life. That takes maturity and cannot be rushed. From his account it sounds as though Mr Doherty has made real progress this time. He is following the tried and tested 12-step programme, eating and sleeping regularly and has found a new sense of purpose. He feels encouraged by his teachers and supported by others who have gone through what he has.

The real test will come when he leaves the peaceful surroundings of the retreat by the sea and returns to the grittier reality of life in the city. Only then can we say Pete Doherty has recovered. We wish him well.