The interview with Iñigo Calonje Unceta in Prontopro

Interview in Prontopro with Iñigo Calonje Unceta

The professional portal Prontopro conducts an interview with the president of our rehabilitation center in Marbella Iñigo Calonje Unceta, a leading professional in the sector and in the province.

Come in and enjoy the interview and learn about Iñigo’s motivations for dedicating himself to this profession, such as the services we offer at the rehabilitation center.

20% discount in January

Marbella Recovery (9)

(Español) Curso de Prevención de Recaídas Basado en Mindfulness

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(Español) Sobre El Escuchar

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(Español) ¿Eres Codependiente?

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The benefits of a Minnesota Model programme supported by the 12 steps in addiction recovery

The Minnesota Model

As the name suggests the Minnesota Model originated in Minnesota under the Hazelden Foundation. The programme initially started as a type of ‘guest house’ for alcoholics which at the time was revolutionary. The programme for treatment revolved around responsible behaviour, attending 12 step meetings at AA, interacting with other patients and abstaining from alcohol consumption. The overall aim was to encourage addicts to move from a “life of isolation to a life of dialogue”.


During the 1950’s and 60’s the programme continued to expand and recognise firstly alcoholism and later addiction in general as a primary condition, which is a disease with multiple phases, where treatment should take into account the physical, mental and spiritual aspects.


As the Minnesota Model became more established is began to incorporate many different professionals into the programme, working as together as teams to treat the various different facets of addiction. Today the Minnesota Model is one of the most successful treatment models for addiction and is the basis of our treatment programme at Marbella Recovery.


The Minnesota Model supports participation in AA meetings which follow the 12 steps. The 12 step programme originates from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The original 12-step model was developed by the founder of AA, Ben Wilson. Now there are many offshoots of AA including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), Sex Addicts Anonymous (SA) to name a few.


The 12 Steps

The fundamental concept behind the 12 step programme is that people can provide support and help each other to abstain from their addictions to substances or behaviours. Meetings are held where members can share their experiences and provide mutual support in the process of recovery. Studies have shown that this group support process encourages positive mental health and aids recovery along with complete abstinence from substances or behaviours compared to people who did not abstain completely or follow this model.


The step by step model which the 12 step programme provides gives addicts a useful framework to follow encouraging the change of old behavioural patterns and development of new emotional practices and management tools. The original 12 steps found in AA’s Big Book are:

  1. Admitting powerlessness over the addiction
  2. Believing that a higher power (in whatever form) can help
  3. Deciding to turn control over to the higher power
  4. Taking a personal inventory
  5. Admitting to the higher power, oneself, and another person the wrongs done
  6. Being ready to have the higher power correct any shortcomings in one’s character
  7. Asking the higher power to remove those shortcomings
  8. Making a list of wrongs done to others and being willing to make amends for those wrongs
  9. Contacting those who have been hurt, unless doing so would harm the person
  10. Continuing to take personal inventory and admitting when one is wrong
  11. Seeking enlightenment and connection with the higher power via prayer and meditation
  12. Carrying the message of the 12 Steps to others in need

The emotional tools which the 12 step model tries to provide include:

  • Recognition and acceptance that you have a problem with an addiction.
  • Surrender that your addiction exists and that you need to seek help externally.
  • Self-observation and auto awareness of behaviour patterns caused by the addiction, in addition to new behaviours to help encourage self-restraint and control.
  • Practice of self control and at the same time build self-esteem by fostering positive capabilities.
  • Accepting one’s self and your ability to change your behaviours.
  • Compassion, for others who have been affected by addiction and those who also struggle with addiction
  • Management tools that make the process of recovery a continual and ongoing practice throughout one’s life.

It is clear that the combination of the Minnesota Model supported by the 12 step programme is beneficial and effective in the recovery from an addiction. At Marbella Recovery this forms the backbone of our programme. Contact us if you would like more information.

Ways to Avoid Relapsing Over Summer

The summer months are a prime time for relapse due to the change of routine and environment. Have you made yourself goals related to your abstinence? What do you hope to achieve by abstaining from your addiction?

Points for Consideration to Help Avoid a Relapse

Following on from our previous post about signs you might be about to relapse, here are some useful points for thought and consideration to help avoid relapses over the summer months.

  • Evaluate your alcohol and/or drug consumption:
    a. What encourages your behaviour? (money, people, the paraphernalia etc.)
    b. Who in your work/home/social environment also takes drugs/alcohol?
    c. How easily available are drugs and alcohol in your environment?
    d. Will you be receiving an important sum of money in the immediate future?
  • Have you examined all of your high-risk situations with your fellow addicts in recovery and therapist?
  • Do you have a plan in place for any high-risk situations which you might find yourself in?
  • Have you talked about your feelings of loss or deprivation which accompany your sobriety? Do you feel cheated because you cannot drink or consume drugs?
  • Are you conscious of the way you justify your drug or alcohol consumption? Briefly explain…
  • Are you conscious of what you have done to try and control your consumption? Briefly explain…
  • Are you prepared for the highs and lows which are associated with recovery?
  • Have you taken measures to restrict the availability of alcohol and drugs?
  • Have you spoken to all the important people in your life about your addiction?
  • Are you hoping for treatment to be a ‘cure’ or ‘magical’ solution?
  • How do you assess yourself during the recovery process?
  • How will you limit your contact with people who are taking drugs or drinking?
  • Are you conscious of how you take the chain of decisions which lead to consuming alcohol or drugs?
  • How have you viewed previous relapses? Do you see them as errors, failures or moments of weakness?
  • What personality traits do you have which could hold-up your recovery?
  • Do you feel like you have a right to take drugs and alcohol? Are you right?
  • How do you track your feelings?
  • How do you solve your problems?
  • Do you imagine that although you might not feel like using during treatment you will continue to feel this way when you finish it?
  • Do you see desire as something with a life of its own, something out of your control or something which you can manage?
  • What have you changed about your lifestyle?
  • Do you look for help, or wait for it to arrive on its own?
  • What are your plans to minimise complicated situations or crises which may present themselves in your life?

If you need some extra support over the summer to avoid relapsing don’t hesitate to contact us as Marbella Recovery and we will be happy to help.

15 Common Signs You Might Be About to Relapse

With the summer holidays upon us this can be a dangerous time of year for many addicts, a change of environment and routine can make it difficult to make time for yourself and continue working on your recovery. Here is a list of some common signs which might signify your are about to relapse and act as a warning signal that you should seek support.

The best way to work through the list is to give specific examples of each, either in the past or present and think about the points which you identify with.

Signs You Might Be About to Relapse

1) Frequent tiredness due to your lifestyle, work or physically.
2) Dishonesty – Small mistruths and lies, making up excuses.
3) Impatience – When things do not happen at the speed you would like and others do not do what you think they ‘should’ be doing.
4) Argumentativeness – Constant and forceful discussion over small details of points of view, including about drugs, games or any other addiction.
5) Depression – Feeling unreasonably desperate.
6) Frustration – With people of places which you cannot enjoy.
7) Self-pity – Why did this have to happen to me? Why am I like this?
8) Overconfidence – Believing that you have achieved everything possible and not respecting your illness, placing yourself in risky situations.
9) Complacency – Thinking that everything is ok, forgetting the past and negative consequences.
10) Hoping for too much from others – If I’ve changed why hasn’t everybody else?
11) Using another substance or behaviour which affect your state of mind which are different to your original addiction (cross-addiction).
12) Very high personal expectations – Aiming for goals which require a lot of effort and time, “happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have”.
13) Forgetting who you become when you consume or permit your character defects, neglecting to be thankful just for today.
14) Blaming yourself when you do not achieve a change.
15) Thinking that the substance or behaviour is a reward, which you deserve or need at certain points in time.

If you identify with these danger signs and need some extra help and support to prevent a relapse, contact us at Marbella Recovery and we will be happy to help.

Marijuana Addiction in Young People

Marijuana in Young People

As marijuana becomes either legalised in some countries or more easily available there are increasing concerns the harmful effects of marijuana addiction, especially on young people and the developing brain. Statistics show that in recent years there has been an increase in the number of teenagers and adolescents becoming addicted to marijuana and subsequently seeking help related to their addiction.


Marijuana use is highest amongst adolescents than any other age group and boys tend to use it more commonly than girls. It is thought that of all the people who use marijuana around 9% become hooked and the younger the age the more dramatically this figure increases. The risk of marijuana addiction also increases substantially in people who use marijuana on a daily basis.

Health Risks

Withdrawal from marijuana use can include signs such as irritability, insomnia, a reduced appetite, anxiety and cravings. These are relatively mild when compared to other illegal drugs but the longer lasting effects can have a huge impact. Adolescents who use marijuana on a daily basis generally function at a lower intellectual level than their peers and this can have an effect on their achievement levels in the short and long run, affecting their ability to fulfil any goals they may have. Marijuana use can also affect brain development and thus cause a reduction in IQ.

In addition to this several studies have shown that adolescents which are addicted to marijuana are more likely to move onto use other illegal drugs and/or attempt to commit suicide. Physical effects of marijuana use can include lung and heart disease, a increase of the risk of testicular cancer and also subsequent psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia.

How Marijuana Addiction Affects the Brain

Over the last 20 years the concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the chemical principally responsible for the majority of marijuana’s psychological effects, has been increasing. It is suspected that these increased levels are responsible for the increased rate of addiction and adverse side effects. This substance acts on receptors in the brain, which are linked to thought, memory, pleasure, coordination and the perception of time. THC causes cells in the brain to release dopamine, giving a sense of euphoria. It can cause hallucinations and delusions and also affect short-term memory.

The Bottom Line About Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana addiction is not something to be taken lightly and the consequences in teenagers can be serious and life changing. The good news is that facing addiction problems in adolescents can have good results and the sooner the problem is treated the better the result.

How We Can Help at Marbella Recovery

At Marbella Recovery we run a specialised programme for young people suffering from problems with addiction. This treatment integrates the use of proven techniques such as the SBIRT model, the Minnesota Model and Systemic Family Therapy. There are six key components which form part of our effective treatment programme:

  1. Workshops in generic skills that improve social and interpersonal skills, including emotional intelligence and problem solving.
  2. Information about the effects of marijuana consumption.
  3. Promoting protective socialisation and relationship skills within the family.
  4. Formation of self help groups among individuals with similar problems, for both young people and their families alike.
  5. Encouraging healthy recreation activities.
  6. Inclusion of gender perspectives.

If you need help, or know somebody who does, do not hesitate to contact us at Marbella Recovery and we will be happy to assist you.

3 partially funded treatment places for women suffering from problems with addiction

Image 3 places

At Marbella Recovery we are offering 3 treatment places for women suffering from problems with addiction, partially subsidised thanks to the collaboration of La Caixa. If you need help with problems with substance or behavioural addiction contact us and let us help you.

At our ambulatory treatment centre at Marbella Recovery we offer a treatment program for all types of addiction based on the Minnesota Model and the 12 steps complemented by alternative therapies such as coaching, mindfulness and nutrition advice.

Our multidisciplinary team offers a broad experience in the field of addiction treatment and we also offer therapies in a range of languages, including Spanish, English, German and Dutch.