Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shafa Residents at “European Film Festival” ……………….. Surprised ! ! ! ! !

We have been updating you about our activities through videos. Hope you are abreast with it and liking them too. But from your feedback's and comments we realized that our film making skills are not upto the mark and needed lot of improvement.

To horn our skills and to understand the art of film – making; our Creative and Business Development team visited a “European Film Festival” and watched few movies there. They went there to understand the art of film – making, shooting a movie, how documentaries are shot, how script is prepared and different angles and  lights to be used during filming. Shafa Graduates and few re-entry residents had this life time experience. Although, it was their first day, yet they plan to visit the festival on other days too. Hope you notice and observe our new skills and learning from the new videos which you will receive.

Residents need to learn new skills to keep pace with this world and not lag behind in any field. That should be the ultimate goal of any successful treatment.  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

! ! ! ! ! A Milestone is Achieved ! ! ! ! !

Five years in recovery, five years away from drugs, five years of new life ……. How was this possible?? Rajan, one of the SHAFA Graduates celebrated his 5th recovery birthday and spoke about his experiences and feelings today.
He had taken a leave from his job and came to SHAFA two days in advance. This showed his commitment towards recovery, towards his new life. As the clock struck 12 O’clock, he was woken from his bed by more than 50 residents wishing him happy birthday. He cut a cake in the midnight, was given birthday bumps and later everyone danced in this excitement before going to sleep.
Then the next day started with celebrations again. Residents had also planned for grand feast; they had made egg sandwiches for their breakfast. Later the theatre team put up a musical act on this occasion. Rajan shared his hope and happiness with the new residents. That was a real eye – opener for them. Their questions showed their thought clarity and curiosity to know more. 

Rajan resolved everyone’s queries with his personal experience and first – hand information. A greeting card prepared by residents and a gift from the whole SHAFA Family was given to him on this occasion as a token of love and affection.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rang Barse - Showering Colours!

It was Holi - "the festival of colors" and Holi during addiction meant “license to use drugs”. But we at Shafa break this myth and celebrate  Holi without the use of any mood altering substance.

This time the preparations for this day had started a week back. Deciding the menu, ordering sweets and buying organic colours. Celebrations started one day earlier with Choti Holi. Prayers were held according to the Hindu religious beliefs, followed by HOLIKA DAHAN - burning of fire, symbolizing the victory with a dance night as final culmination of the day.

The next day was “Holi”, the main day. The day of rubbing colours on each other. Residents were excited from their wake-up, with big smiles on their face. The sounds of 100 residents echoed in the whole environment, wishing each other Happy Holi. The excitement, the happiness and the feeling of togetherness could be seen in putting colours on each other, lifting each other and throwing them in a pond of water mixed with colours. In between residents enjoyed fruits and sweets. The residents experienced something new today - celebration and enjoyment is possible even without drugs.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Virtual Reality - Opening the Gates of Shafa Home

What is the magic?? How does one get treated of addiction?? What happens on the carpet?? What is this programme?? Do they beat up my kid?? Does he behave properly inside?? Do they give him medicines?? Is he allowed to smoke?? Do the counselors lie that my son dances every Saturday?? Do the counselors lie that my father plays Holi and celebrates Diwali?? How does the Therapeutic environment work?? How do I ensure my brother would not run away from the centre??

If I sit down and start asking you, there would be a thousand many questions and doubts running through your mind concurrently. And I acknowledge your suspicions looking at the sorry state of TC’s and Rehabilitation Centers in India. I was just talking to my parents the other day and was asking them what made them choose Shafa Home, because they had quite a many options to choose from. Their answer was ‘transparency’. Although transparency for them was just the feedback they used to get from the counselors, however, deep down in their hearts they were ambiguous about my situation and recovery. My father said “I had never thought that you would come out and not drink”. They were just banking upon sheer luck and the expertise of the Shafa Home Faculty.

Till I had made it to 6 months my parents had only a superficial belief in Shafa like most first timers, always wondering what happens on the other side. They used to call up several times and ask as to what I was doing, what I was eating, how I was sleeping and all sorts. They used to come once two days before the meeting and then early on the day of the meeting just to be sure of things. They used to stand outside and steal a look at the terrace to see if I could be seen. They used to look at the stage chart in the ‘Ashagraha’ and find my name there and wonder when would I top the chart. They used to proudly show my name on the ‘Best Member Name Plate’ to other family members. They used to constantly fight their paradigm and say all is well. In spite of the re assurances give by the Counsellors and Staff at Shafa, they always had this thin line of doubt as to what happens beyond Ashagraha.

I completed treatment and entered the transition phase, and am still moving on positively for the past around three years, however, my parents still have this quest, as to what happens inside the four walls of the Shafa Home, that keeps me moving on.

After I became a staff at Shafa, me and Ranjan Ji decided to start this blog and reduce the distance between the in and out of Shafa Home. We started showing what was happening at the other side of the line. We started writing to let people know the recovery recipes of Shafa. We started showing our viewers the amazing world of Shafa. The interaction between Shafa Home and Family members began to grow. We had walked past the conventional methods of getting in touch with the outer world. We had started sending messages for Family Meetings, Holi, Diwali etc. We had started sending blog links on mobiles. A facebook account was made to get into social networking. Pictures were being uploaded to let the world see us through the internet.

It was time and I moved on to more complex things in life like job and family etc. There came a new set of recovery addicts working as volunteers who took the responsibility of taking Shafa Home to the next level....the level of Virtual Reality.

I was sitting at home the day before and was working on the internet and suddenly came across some videos which were shot by the recovery addicts of Shafa and were uploaded on the youtube. These videos were the virtual reality of the much sought after question: WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE SHAFA HOME?? There were videos of the residents dancing, there were videos of the residents playing ‘Gaddhe wali Holi’ in Kotdwar, there were videos of residents doing yoga, there were videos of the success stories of recovery addicts. It made me sit and think for a while and be proud that these recovery addicts may have been useless people at some point in their life but today they are bridging the gap between the two worlds.

This article comes in as a note of appreciation to all those people, all those proud recovery addicts who have put in their share in purpose to bring Shafa to such a level of virtual reality and transparency. I also request all the people who follow us on our website, facebook, blog and twitter to go ahead and mark their comments on the work we are doing, so as to enable us to keep up the good work.

And for all those of you who are curious to know WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE SHAFA HOME?? Go home, surf the net, catch the videos on youtube, find the pics on facebook, read the articles on blog and follow us on twitter!!

Signing off for now 

Arijeet – Ek Sudharta Hua Nashebaz        

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Killing the Curiosity

What do you understand by the different  ‘stages’ of  treatment for addiction? What is  the treatment all about? How does a resident go through changes during these various ‘stages’ and what makes them understand those changes?

During one of the family association meetings, all these curiosities were answered  by the staff and the re-entry residents of SHAFA. The families were detailed about the three stages that an individual goes through and the re- entry residents shared their experiences and talked about the learning’s that one goes through these each ‘stage’. They explained the similarities between the different role of an individual while they were at home, as a father, brother, husband etc. and their roles they perform in SHAFA family as a General Worker, HOD, Chief and finally as a Co-ordinator.
In the end, they talked about the role of SHAFA and of families in helping the resident to stay in recovery after treatment. All this resulted in clearing their myths and perceptions about treatment. This helped their faith to grow and gave them a hope that one day their most near and dear ones, who are today known as addicts, will have a very bright and beautiful life waiting for them.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Family Ties....... the Bonds get Stronger.

This time it was their day to celebrate 27th Wedding Anniversary in SHAFA, amongst SHAFA FAMILY members. Parents of one of the re-entry residents, Saurabh, decided to make their bond of love and togetherness stronger with SHAFA Family.

It was really a happy but strange feeling. Resident’s celebration can be explained but what made them decide to come, celebrate and share their happiness with us. We really value this emotion, we felt overwhelmed, we were privileged to have them among us.
The best part of the celebration was when they enacted their marriage ceremony performed 27 years earlier, in the traditional Indian way of exchanging  garlands. This was an ecstatic moment for everyone.

In the end they thanked everyone, gave their blessings to all the residents and left with tear in their eyes. They were tears of happiness and hope.