Monday, March 28, 2011

Stop carrying a tortoise for relapse prevention!

Saturday the 26th of March 2011, was the second fortnightly Family Counseling and Meeting of the month. The topic of the day in continuation to the last family counseling and meeting was ‘relapse prevention - characteristics and factors’.

During the pre-counseling meeting, at Ranjan Ji’s seat, there was a frenzied discussion going on as to what the family’s role should be in relapse prevention. Shipra Ji and Sangeeta Ji were, as usual, thoroughly discussing as to what they were supposed to speak during the counseling. It was said that families always look for a specified set of roles to prevent their ward from relapsing. However, they need to understand that no such book has been written which can stop your loved one from a relapse. As Ranjan Ji said, ‘how many roles can I write down? I cannot stop Mrs. XYZ from bringing his son’s favorite tortoise to the meeting. Although, he has ruined his own life and never cared for his parents but all his parents can think of (even in a treatment center) is enabling him by bringing his favorite one to meet him’.

During the counseling that day, only the characteristics of a relapse could be discussed. It was told that just like treatment, relapse is a process as well. It never happens that a person gets up one fine morning and starts drinking. A relapse is always indicated by gradual changes in the behavior of the individual. A person starts getting irritated, gets up late in the morning, becomes irresponsible and so on and so forth. And, this is the very point where the family needs to come into action. This is where they need to start confronting their loved ones and holding them responsible. Families need to remember always, that it is the individual who is in the process of relapse and the only thing that can stop him is his immediate family with their adequate support system. The family’s role is the most vital during the initial relapse process.

I wasn’t able to make it on Saturday, but can very well comprehend the level of conference amongst the family members (thirty in number) and the councils of Shafa. Being a recovery addict myself, I am getting to know what all is needed to be in recovery and that why the families need to stop carrying the tortoise for relapse prevention. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Many perceptions broke down – It’s really Shafa!!

‘Many perceptions broke down’, this is what a girl from the Adolescence Education Group, Bachelors of Education, Delhi University said. They were twenty two in number, proud, energetic and would be teachers of our country. The occasion was their visit to Shafa Home on Friday the 18th of March, 2011. Unlike the earlier crowd, they were quite informal and had the nerve to ask questions one after the other.
The assemblage started with us asking them questions as to ‘what their opinions about an addict were’. Many amongst them shared their own experiences with addicts and addiction. Never during the whole conversation did we try to tell them about the in treatment resident, which was quite contrary to what they had in mind. We wanted them to have a first hand experience of this reformed person, who lives here in this pseudo social setting. They were keen to know an addict in person and had a lot of questions for them too.
Once upstairs the students were divided into smaller groups and each group sat with a resident and spoke to him. Their queries ranged from getting up in a TC till the lights off at night. Some also discussed the reasons of the residents getting into addiction. A question which each and every group asked the residents was, as to whether there was anything in regards to their teacher’s at school which led them to addiction. There were residents from all stages of the treatment and they answered chivalrously changing the very image of the misery filled addict in their minds. Even though the stipulated time finished these students from DU wanted more and more.

Back downstairs was another session of questions and answers with the residents, all of them together now. Once through with the residents it was now Ranjan Ji who took over the assembly and cleared their last tit bits of doubt. The conference got so charged up that even Ravi Ji, who had just returned from his home visit during the session, jumped into answering the inimitable questions of the group.

Their day at Shafa had a late ending at around 6’PM with tea and refreshments. The students looked spent and through. They broke many ill perceptions about an addict, addiction and treatment that day and were ready to become our Torch Bearers in the near future. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You've been receiving only serious stuff from our end. This is purely meant for lighter vein and introspection, of course.

A Letter to God

A little boy wanted Rs.50 very badly and prayed for weeks, but nothing happened. 

Finally he decided to write God a letter requesting the Rs.50. 

When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to God , INDIA , they decided to forward it to the President of the India as a joke. 

The President was so amused, that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy Rs.30. 

The President thought this would appear to be a lot of money (Rs.50) to a little boy,and he did not want to spoil the kid. 

The little boy was delighted with Rs...30, and decided to write a thank you note to God, which read:

"Dear God: Thank you very much for sending the money. However, I noticed that you sent it through the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President House) in New Delhi, and those donkeys deducted Rs.20 as....... 

TAX .......  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Relapse - a part of Recovery

The Vth fortnightly Family Association Meeting of the year at Shafa was a total eye-opener. Families who had gone through the process of relapse, new family members, our counselors and the clinical psychologist had a profound discussion on the most integral part of recovery – relapse. More than 20 families who were an audience to this discussion were benefited from it.

The complete ‘relapse progression’ was explained with examples in flesh and blood by families. Each step of the progression was discussed with various case histories.

Recovering addicts who participated in this meeting shared their candid testimonies which helped everybody to see the problem of relapse from their perspective.
The discussion also made it crystal clear how recovery becomes much more challenging once a recovery addict is out of the structured environment of Shafa and how the pitfalls of the real world can be difficult for him and can provoke him to relapse. And that’s the very point where the family needs to be proactive. They need to remember, a relapse is not the end of the world. If it happens it is important that your loved one gets back up, dusts himself off and gets back on the path to RECOVERY!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

‘Tujhe sab hai pata meri Maa’ – Do you know everything?

26th of February was meant to be another Family Counseling like any other day. But the whole atmosphere got charged up as we received a letter from a family member, a mother, whose son was celebrating his 2nd Recovery Birthday.

In her letter she had stated that she wants us to read her letter out to the family members of other residents too. She had touched various vital issues like enabling by families, how families protect the addicts, how the families fall a prey to the addict’s trap and finally how they get emotionally extorted.

The best line in her letter was, “Shafa had tried to give me a new vision to see (understand) the addict (my son), but alas, I could never quit my emotional specs.”

This letter served as an eye-opener for all. At least families are experiencing for themselves what we want to convey.

Stay in touch, stay connected.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From a Recovering Alcoholic - Jasvir Rana

‘I am Jasvir and I am a recovering alcoholic’ this is how Jasvir Rana (recovery – 4 years) introduced himself to the Shafa Family during his sharing on the 22nd of February 2011. A former resident of three TC’s in the States (Hazelden, Minneapolis; Refuge, Ocala, Florida and Florida Recovery Centre, Florida), he said, ‘spiritual recovery is a must for real sobriety’.

He shared with the family that he was a topper in his studies and addiction as well. Although he became an MD, the feeling of restlessness, irritability and discontent was his constant companion.

He said, ‘it was AA and the twelve steps which set me on a journey to discover the real me .It was only in AA that I learnt the disease concept of Alcoholism and the spiritual cure came to me through following the 12 steps , one day at a time. Not only that alcohol and sleeping pills are out of my life, but also I am rid of my depression which had troubled me for over more than a decade.’

He told the family how the mind is a feral dog and to be in recovery we need to tame it. He also did an activity in the family to tell how evil would always be strong and how we need to listen to the voice of wisdom.

In all, Jasvir Rana spent some good time with the residents, giving them positive tips to be in recovery and promising and an everlasting hearty relationship in the future.