Friday, October 28, 2011

The Therapeutic Aquarium

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


Do these words sound very much familiar to you? Do you listen to it quite often?

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.