Saturday, December 24, 2011
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Shafa pays importance to all religious, observes and celebrate all religious activities, national, international days and recovery b’days. Not only this, yesterday on 14-12-11 Riya, daughter of one of the residents of Shafa to celebrate her b’day. This made the day surprisingly different for all, the residents seemed charged up. They had arranged for a cake, made a b’day card and decorated the place themselves. The best part was that the father to participate in all the activities, but did not know that all these preparations are made for his own kid.
Finally, when the family arrived he was shocked \amazed to see them. All residents sang songs, give her b’day wishes, and the father presented her with a gift. After the cake cutting ceremony. The father shared “he was really surprised to see them, felt relaxed and satisfied, was really happy “
The residents were nostalgic on the moment as they talked about their families and kids. They said they realised now they were never a part of any of their family celebrations inspite of being physically present there in the past. The residents too enjoyed the cake.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Shafa has always believed in providing innovative option in treatment. On 14-12-11, Shafa invited Mr. Neil Paul, a de-addiction and anger management professional. He introduced himself as a Certified Peer Counsellor and Certified Substance Abuse Practitioner from U.S.A. Neil surprised everyone by also introducing himself as a recovery addict with more than 16 yrs recovery. Recovery addicts from outside were also invited to benefit from this workshop.Todays topic was about “Self Esteem” and an interactive session was held for all residents, volunteers, staff and previous recovery addicts with the help of a power- point presentation.
Initially, he emphasised on the importance of “Self Esteem” in relation to addiction and the life of an addict. The biggest cost that an addict pays during addiction is his “self esteem”. The feeling of being a loser gives rise to more addiction, more addiction leads to lessened self-worth and in turn because of lessened self worth he consumes more and more. This is how an addict falls into the web of addiction, an unending cycle, where it becomes difficult from him to come out.
Neil at length went to explain the whole process of self esteem, reason for low and high self esteem and how to improve low self esteem. The session was more interactive and participatory and hence was liked by all. Finally residents had questions and Mr. Neil cleared their doubts too. In the end Neil promised to hold more sessions on issues related to addiction and an addict
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
BUDDING SOCIAL WORKERS FROM PONDICHERRY UNIVERSITY VISITED SHAFA FOR AN INTRODUCTION- CUM-SENSITIZATION PROGRAMME.
THE DAY STARTED WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY VOLUNTEERS ABOUT SHAFA, HOW THEIR DAY WOULD PROCEED AND THEY ALSO SET FEW RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE DAY.
THEN A POWERPOINT PRESENTATION ABOUT SHAFA, “THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY” AS A TREATMENT MODALITY AND THE COMPLETE TREATMENT PROCEDURE WAS EXPLAINED TO THE PARTICIAPNTS. MANY DOUBTS ABOUT AN ADDICT, ADDICITON AND TREATMENT THEREOF, FOR THE PARTICIPANTS WAS CLEARED. FEW ICE BREAKING GAMES WERE ALSO PLAYED TO GET THE GROUP INVOLVED.
AFTER A MODEST LUNCH, A ONE TO ONE INTERVIEW SESSION WAS ARRANGED IN BETWEEN RESIDENTS UNDERGOING TREATMENT AND THE VISITORS. THE GOAL WAS “KNOWING AN ADDICT”. A DEMONSTRATION OF VARIOUS TC-MODALITIES WAS ORGANISED. AN IMMEDIATE RESULT OF THE SAME WAS SEEN AMONGST THE VISITORS. THEY ALSO TOOK PULL UPS ON VARIOUS ISSUES LIKE (A) VISITORS NOT WASHING THEIR HAND BEFORE HAVING FOOD AND (B) VISITORS NOT FOLLOWING -UP ON THE WASH BASIN. SURPRISINGLY VISITORS ALSO EXPRESSED THEIR ANGER ON EACH OTHER IN AN “ENCOUNTER GROUP”.
THE FINAL PRESENTATION WAS A 15-MIN MOVIE TITLED “ITS ALL ABOUT CHANGE”. LATER A QUESTION ANSWER ROUND WAS ORGANISED FOR THE VISITORS TOO TO GUAGE WHAT THEY HAD UNDERSTOOD DURING THE DAY AND TO CLEAR THEIR FINAL DOUBTS.
DURING THE FEEDBACK SESSION ALL THE PARTICIPANTS SPOKE VERY HIGHLY ABOUT HOW SHAFA WAS FUNCTIONING, THE TREATMENT BEING PROVIDED AND THE AMOUNT OF PASSION AND DEDICATION WHICH THEY NOTICED AMONG THE STAFF AND RESIDENTS TOO.
ONE OF THE FACULTIES ALSO MENTIONED THAT HE HAS BEEN VISITING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY WITH VARIOUS STUDENTS TO DIFFERENT GOVERNMENTAL & NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, AS A PART OF STUDY TOURS FOR THE LAST 7 YEARS. AND HE SAID THAT HE SHOULD ADMIT THAT OUT OF ALL THE PLACES HE HAS VISITED IN PAST 7 YEARS, SHAFA IS THE BEST. KUDOOOS.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
‘Act as If’ is a very powerful concept used at SHAFA as a part of its treatment modality. ‘Magical If’ is also a powerful tool which we are told is used in performing theatre. And both mean the same. We were really surprised to know it.
Also, our previous experiences have shown that performing theatre is very effective as a part of treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. Residents who were associated with performing theatre previously, learnt life skill to emote, express and articulate their feelings better than other residents. This helped them to continue in their recovery from drugs/alcohol.
We at SHAFA are again planning to conduct a theatre work shop for the residents. The final culmination is to stage the show in any auditorium in Delhi. With this view in mind, residents from SHAFA have been regularly visiting various theatres in Delhi to sensitize them towards this performing art.
Monday, November 28, 2011
How many times have you heard that a person met with an accident because he was talking on mobile? How many times have you forgotten to put off the stove due to which your food got spoiled? How many times have you suffered losses in business due to negligence? In day to day life we come across various problems which arise as we are not 'AWARE'.
In an addict’s life, his attitude of not being aware leads to a gamut of problems. He spends his money on his addiction, without being aware that his child’s school fee needs to be deposited. His old mother cries and woo's through pain but for him his next drug dose is important. He bunks his college just to be there with addict friends, without realizing the loss to his future. He is not aware how badly he treats and abuses his family, who, are the only people who care for him. In totality he is not aware how he is losing on all important aspects of his life.
In SHAFA, awareness is practised in its true sense. The treatment as practised in SHAFA is about being aware of one owns life. The resident starts learning to be aware from the small issues happening in the house. He holds himself and other family members accountable using the tool called ‘confrontation’. He is aware now, that unless he is not in here and now, he can’t earn his recovery. Even after the treatment a recovering addict is always aware and attentive that a mere thought of addiction can lead to his relapse. When the resident completes his treatment he doesn’t only starts responding to his own recovery but is more aware about his families concerns too. So if a person wants to live his life to the fullest, he needs to be AWARE.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
TODAY, THE BREEZE WHICH ENTERED FROM SHAFA HOMES DOOR WAS DISSOLVED WITH THE FRAGNANCES OF JASMINE AND ROSES. HOLY CHANTS MADE THE AMBIENCE MORE SPIRITUAL. IT IS A DAY OF CREATION, DAY OF REJUVINATION. YES, IT IS SHAFA’S 12th FOUNDATION DAY.
TODAY SHAFA BECAME ONE YEAR YOUNGER. A SMALL SAPLING, WHICH WAS PLANTED 12 YEAR BACK HAS NOW MATURED INTO A BLOSSOMING TREE. SHAFA IS THE RESULT OF THE HARD WORK OF ALL THOSE SOULS, WHOM CONTRIBUTED WITH PASSION AND GREAT DEDICATION, BELIEVED IN THE POWER OF ‘WE’ THAN ‘I’. THEIR FOCUS WAS TO SERVE SOCIETY WITH GRATITUDE, WITHOUT ANY DISCRIMINATION.
THERE WERE DAYS WHICH WERE TOUGH, MOMENTS WHICH WERE ENLIGHTNENING, BUT WE STAYED TOGETHER. SO TODAY WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO THANK EVERYONE WHO HELPED US IN SPIRIT IN THIS JOURNEY. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT WITH US TODAY, BUT WITHOUT WHOM THIS WAS NOT POSSIBLE. WE LEARNT FROM EVERY SMALL THING WHICH MADE US STRONGER. OUR JOURNEY IS POSSIBLE BECASE WE HOPED AGAINST HOPE. THANKS TO EVERONE.
DAY STARTED WITH ‘HAWAN’ FOLLOWED BY SHARING OF STAFF AND COUNCELLORS. THEY GAVE A HOPE TO RESIDENTS THAT ONE DAY EVEN THEY WILL BECOME A PART OF SHAFA’S CHAIN OF RECOVERY. A ‘LANGER’ (COMMUNITY FOOD) WAS PREPARED BY RESIDENTS AND ALSO DISTRIBUTTED AMONGST POOR AND HOMELESS, TO SHARE THIS BIG DAY. THE CULTUAL PROGRAM PRESENTED BY RESIDENTS ON THIS OCCASSION WAS WORTH WITNESSING.
Monday, November 21, 2011
The word ‘when’ holds an immense turmoil both in the addict and his family. This word is connected with expectations which stagnates the present and breaks the future. As a family you must have heard from an addict saying ‘I will leave my drugs 'when' my family starts supporting me’. I will leave drugs, 'when' my business flourishes. In the same manner family lives in whimsical world. They keep on saying ‘when’ their child will leave drugs. When he is going to become a responsible person.
It is the outer projection of an addict to the world, that he wants to leave drugs, but is unable to do so due to innumerable reasons. It is just a lame excuse to gain sympathies of the world around. In reality this 'when’ never comes. If a person wants to leave drugs a mere determination will save his life. He needs to start acting on present instead of putting things for the future. In the same manner unless and until a family starts responding to the wrong act, stop enabling, they will suffer as a co-dependent. They have to come out of any good future predictions and set themselves accountable for giving a disciplined family environment.
In SHAFA, we follow a simple rule ‘Action is the magic word’. We make the resident practise to ‘act now’. There is no place for future assumptions. The resident learns to respond to his wrong actions and correct it simultaneously instead of putting into ‘when' stories.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
‘It’s not related to me. I do not use syringes’. This is a common response among alcoholics when asked about HIV/AIDS. There are many misconceptions prevailing in the mind of people, that they are completely safe. To remove wrong notions, SHAFA on 11th Nov, stepped into a new initiative. Representatives from one of the leading organization in our country “NAZ FOUNDATION” were invited to sensitize and educate residents in SHAFA about HIV/AIDS. This issue is of vital importance amongst drug abusers. It is not only a problem of ID users as commonly known, but even alcoholics & other drug abusers lose their sense of judgement and right decision under the influence of their drug/alcohol. This leads them into the category of high risk target group.
Session started with basic concepts and difference between HIV and AIDS. It was followed by reason, precautions, symptoms, do’s don’ts, and treatment. Concept of precaution i.e. ABC (Absenteeism, Be faithful, Condom) was beautifully explained. There was an overwhelming response from residents as there were so many clarifications. It was great to see that various misconceptions were broken.
This issue was important as it doesn’t only affect the individual but future generation too.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
India is a country which follows diverse religions. Although no particular religious practices are promoted in SHAFA, yet all religious days are celebrated with honour and respect. With the same spirit residents at SHAFA celebrated ‘Gurpurab’ with gaiety and fervour.
The Sikh religion as represented by their “Gurus” has always advocated the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal introspection on the name and message of God. To inculcate these techniques in our day to day living, Gurpurab was celebrated in SHAFA, both in Delhi and Kotdwar. Religious songs, keertan, ardas and rehras path & hyms were recited on the occasion. Few residents spoke about the teachings of Gurus and few spoke about the sacrifices they have made. This was followed by ‘KADA PARSHAD’. Few residents from Sikh religion volunteered for ‘Kar Seva’ for the day. Finally the day ended up with Bhangra.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
All celebrations & festivals are observed in Shafa. But as everything in Shafa has to be ‘Therapeutic’ hence each celebration has a therapeutic value behind it.
In the outer world one earns money through hard work, dedication and competence. This money is then used for buying our comfort and for our leisure besides providing for our livelihood and necessities of life. Similarly in Shafa there is great emphasis on the concept of ‘No Free Meals” in every day to day therapeutic activity. Residents are expected to be ‘accountable’ for everything and that they have to earn their way forward.
Around 15 days before Diwali, every night, residents accounted for earning ‘Brownie Points’ in the form of ‘ Shafa Currency’ and based on their positive behaviours. Simultaneously residents planned and organized a ‘Diwali Mela’ besides other celebrations for the day. Stalls were set up for games and resident spend their earned ‘Shafa Currency’ and finally when food stalls were opened, they spend their remaining money to buy those items.
On this occasion various cultural programs were also organised, like Tambola, Musical chair, dance competitions etc. Late in the evening Pooja was performed by the residents. Finally the day ended with illuminating the entire facility with candles and electrical fixtures, bursting fire crackers and a grand feast.
Residents of foreign origin also participated by singing Bollywood Hindi songs. One of the resident shared that ‘I was so involved throughout the day, that I didn’t realize how the day passed. Everything finished in a jiffy”. Another resident shared that before he goes to bed today, he will compare this Diwali with all other Diwalis of his life. The amount of happiness and enjoyment which he experienced in Shafa without being under any influence of drugs or alcohol can nowhere match any of his previous celebrations. In spite of not being with his family today, he was happier and enjoyed it more with his SHAFA family.
Friday, October 28, 2011
It was Sunday and I was sitting at the barber’s to get a shave. I was sitting right next to an aquarium, which had lots of fishes of different sizes and colors in it. While I was admiring the marvels of Mother Nature, a very strong desire took me over, a desire to pull out a fish from that Aquarium. A desire to see what happens once this little fish gets out of the resources it can never live without, a desire to see what pain can mean, a desire to see it jumping erratically. Not that I am a devil, but, I think I just wanted to see which pain was bigger the fishes or mine, or on the least, I wanted to experience the pain that the little fish would go through.
Well, my name is Arijeet…and I am an addict. It’s been quite some time since I’ve written here. And today I am writing with a reason. My GOD (I have a different God, not quite the same as you might have) does things differently and all with a reason that always ends up in my favor. And this time he took a decision to throw me out of his vivarium (that’s what I thought until the comedy of errors was sorted).
Shafa to me is a shrine of peace, love and prosperity and a place where lives are rekindled. And, I, being a product of Shafa, am all the more emotional, sentimental and attached to this common ground. I kept on waiting that day, restlessly, wishing I could die the very moment, craving, trying to figure out why I was not being allowed to go up there. My world was shattered; it was something that I couldn’t take at all. Back in the car tears started rolling through my eyes. It was a long time since I had cried. My heart filled with all the six feelings - pain, shame, anger, hurt, guilt and fear. Couldn’t have told anything to my family. I never ever thought such a day would come in my life, where Shafa wouldn’t be there. I was already amid an emotional relapse. Now it was not a matter of whether I was wrong or not, I had already been punished. Felt like talking to nobody, like eating nothing, like drinking nothing like doing absolutely nothing. I felt weak, my knees shaking, my face worn out. I knew if it were old times I would have actually relapsed by then.
But then suddenly I took hold of myself. I started talking to myself as I used to in the early days of my treatment. I started a self introspection as I was taught during my treatment. I started looking at the pros and cons. I could see that everything was on stake just because of one small incident and that my wisdom was fading away. Silence and Smile….are the two biggest most weapons that Shafa gave me to fight the times of distress and that’s what I did. I kept silent and smiled to myself. I knew this was the testing time and a time of realization as to how much I loved Shafa. I felt lighter and through, with all my feelings. I didn’t need to explain anything. I didn’t need to send the message I had written and not sent. All of a sudden my belief in my GOD revived. I knew he would understand and know that I am tied to Shafa as a child is tied to its mother’s womb. I knew this too shall pass. I knew directions are never long-term.
I know it is very difficult for us, addicts, to handle situations like these. We need lots of therapeutic fishes around us to help us through and always be in our water and to make us realize that we are the products of The Therapeutic Aquarium, an Aquarium called Shafa.
N.B. – I know my urge to get that fish out was wrong and temporary. It is very easy to destroy gifts of Mother Nature but very difficult to keep them alive. I am grateful that my GOD has kept me alive.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Families are severely affected by this phrase. And due to this reason they carry no value for these words.
In an addict’s life, words and action never matches. An addict in his daily course says sorry to every person. But he never means it. He daily swores promises for not taking the drugs again. He promises for a better tomorrow, but it never happens. When he comes back to his senses (after drugs), he sees the mess he has created. He starts feeling ashamed of himself. He gets frustrated. He again says sorry to his family. But as his craving of drugs starts again, he finds a reason to fight from nowhere. For him this becomes a perfect excuse to take drugs. He forgets that due to his addiction, he has already spoiled his relations. For him saying sorry is an excuse of avoiding the situation. He does not want to confront the reality.
In the treatment resident do not say sorry, instead he is made to realise about his wrong action. For example, if a resident wakes up late in the morning, then as a learning experience he is given a direction to wake up one hour before and sleep one hour late. This will make him alert for the next time regarding the daily schedule of the house. By this he actually takes responsibility of his act. He is confident, that he will never repeat the wrong behaviour again.
This change in his personality is evolved while being in the treatment. He starts treating his words with honesty. Treatment is about realization of the mistakes in true spirit. So that the word ‘I am Sorry’ do not lose its importance.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Young members of SHAFA family experienced altogether different vibes on Dussehra day (Indian festival that celebrates the victory of good over evil).
In the junior house (at Delhi) the newly joined residents showed great excitement and seemed to be totally absorbed in the celebrations. It was surprising to see how junior residents came up with a wonderful program. Role play depicting the epic Ramayana was performed. Some disguised as Ravana, some as Sita, the atmosphere was spiritually motivated. It was astonishing to see that residents have so much of potential. After the function which was directed, coordinated and performed by residents themselves, the aura of positivity was felt. One of the young members said ‘I never realised that I can perform in front of so many people without being high on drugs. I never felt so confident’. Similar words by residents conveyed hope and happiness for other residents.
In the senior house (kotdwar) month long hard work was visible. 60 feet Ravana made by none other than SHAFA residents seemed to be touching the sky. The 'Ramlila' (an enactment of the life of Lord Rama) was performed for 9 days every evening, giving residents to work on their involvement and confidence building. All these enactment have a therapeutic purpose. For example, while performing any character (ex. Lord Rama) the resident does ‘act as if’ of the value, the character had. He talks about responsibility, accountability, standing for the truth, being honest and so on. So when the resident speaks these words, there is a change within. He understands the kind of person he could have been, had he followed those values. Bonfires and fireworks alleviate everyone to a festive mood.
The residents bear in mind the example of Ravana, who despite all his might and majesty was destroyed for his evil ways. Hence, the burning of effigies of Ravana is symbolic of burning the evil from within for the residents and thus they follow the path of truth and goodness.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
My son never involves in a family function. He alienates himself from every gathering. This is a common complaint family has from an addict person.For an addict his drug becomes primary focus. All celebrations start from drink, and ends with the same. He is hooked to his room, not wanting to mix up with people around. He is scared to face the world. In his addiction life, he forgets that things can be enjoyed without drowning in the drugs.
In SHAFA a new perspective regarding recreation is taught. Saturday’s are specially designed for recreational activity (Role Plays). In this, a resident selects a theme and performs an activity. When he performs for the first time, he is encouraged by resident members. This motivates him for performing better for the next time. Thereafter a day comes, when he realizes that without his addiction, he CAN DO IT. His inner self is awakened and he feels good about himself. He starts understanding that he was wrong, when he said that without drugs he can’t enjoys. His earlier notion starts breaking. His confidence starts building. SHAFA empowers him to make his life better.
These recreational activities such as role play, dancing and singing are very important for a resident. As it gives him an identity he had never before. It serves the purpose of ‘here and now’. The resident while involving in the activity forgets about the outer world. He is more alert regarding his presence. For the first time he laughs without being fake. He is happy without his drugs. This is a new face of life which he experiences in SHAFA.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
..........Therapeutic Community as a treatment modality ....world over its efficacy has been proven with a highest recovery rate.
International Society of Addictive medicine 2011 (ISAM 2011), is an association of scientists, researchers, doctors, psychologist and therapist from world over. Every year they organise this conference, to showcase their researches and their experiences in the fields of addiction medicines.
To provide them a detailed explanation of other different approaches of treatment, SHAFA presented a paper “THE GURU SHISHYA PARAMPARA (MASTER DISCIPLE RELATION) – ADAPTATION OF THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY IN MODERN INDIA”. The aim was to promote and propagate Therapeutic Community model as a treatment modality amongst the august gathering of medical professionals.
For more details please visit us on facebook.
Friday, September 16, 2011
We often curse ourselves if someone in our family is an addict. We start blaming ourselves; feel ashamed of facing the world. This leads to a deprived life and unknowingly we are caught in the web of those behaviors or feeling which are common to an Addict. It is really important to know that how we as a family are effected by those behaviors. How we are becoming co dependent to it.
PREOCCUPATION: An addict is always preoccupied in his addiction thought. While sleeping in the night he will be planning for next day dose. His mind will be focused on how he will arrange money for his next drugs. In the same way family is also preoccupied with thoughts that how they will be managing his addictive behavior.
LOSS OF CONTROL: An addict loses his control over his action and conscious level under the influence of drugs. He becomes violent and starts fighting with his family. He breaks his new mobile. In the same manner, family loses control after seeing addict and react in anger to everyone else.
JUSTIFYING: An addict have a tendency of justifying his addiction. The person minimizes his addiction and put blames on other situation. In the same way family justifies their own irresponsible behavior, and put the addict in limelight.
AVOIDING SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS: An addict always avoids social relationships as he wants to be alone, he doesn’t want anyone to confront him. In the same way family start avoiding social relationship in a fear. They start getting in a depressed feeling.
You will find that after your dear one has gone into addiction, you developed these behaviors which were never before. Understanding the same is important, as that dear one of your will come back to home, with corrected behavior. If you still behave in earlier manner, the treatment process won’t be complete. There is a need to understand that how we need to correct our behavior, as you as a family are the biggest strong point.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Whether my son will able to adjust? One mother asked in the family meeting. It is the first question which generally families ask when they come to SHAFA out of anxieties for their loved ones. We modified this question for better understanding for rest of the people present there. Our counsellor said her to think whether her son would be able to survive without drugs; whether he will perform daily activities without hallucinations; whether he will live a fruitful life.
It is very obvious that without drugs a new resident in treatment loses his patience. He reacts, he craves for his past life when he dominated his family and took drugs. There he was getting every kind of facility, the best parents could provide, but still he was using drugs. So in the treatment also he is getting everything but not the thing which he desire the most, i.e. his ‘DRUGS’. So the question of whether he is comfortable in the agency does not arise. In fact, here the main focus is not on his comfortability but on his correction of behaviour. Hence in comparison to his using life, he has a routine and disciplined life in SHAFA, which he has never observed earlier. His every second is scheduled here. There is a proper time for every activity due to which corrections in the life of an addict are made.
Next, a lady asked what is the minimum time the guy would get ready and motivated for long term treatment. On this we responded that based on our experiences it takes approx 2 to 3 months, provided families strongly convey their desire to complete his treatment. This helps the resident to break his notion and image and he starts adapting to the treatment in reality.
After seeing people getting emotional, it was brought in their attention that we have always been emotional in front of him and he has always blackmailed them. These feelings were used by the addict in all together wrong ways. Addicts take undue advantage of the family members and take their love and affection as granted. This needs to be stopped.