On 20th May 2014, SHAFA graduate and highly respected recovering addict, Mr. Balwan Ji celebrated his 14th recovery birthday amongst our family and staff members at SHAFA HOME, Delhi.
He was accompanied with his friend, Mr. Hanif Ji of 12 years recovery. For any recovering addict, his recovery birthday heralds a time of victory over his destructive demons and liberation from his tumultuous past. Another year has passed without him compromising his inner-strength and wisdom by caving into the ruinous temptation of a drink or a drug. Today, he stands tall in the face of adversity and declares to himself; “come what may, I am clean and serene living a life free from substances”.
Balwan Ji was met with a sea of warm wishes and congratulations from residents and staff as he descended upon the eagerly waiting gathering. He sat before our residents with guest of honour, Mr. Ranjan Dhar, to share his story of hope and courage. Everybody attentively listened to his tale of personal transformation, from a once stormy and unpredictable drug-addicted existence and the transition into a optimistic and fruitful life.
Our staff and residents listened closely to Balwan Ji’s sharing and drew many connections from his charismatic story. It was apparent in the wide-eyes of many residents how similar their previous lives were to his. He shared how addiction grabbed and consumed him voraciously. How with the progression of the disease, his future aspirations and dreams had vanished and finally, how his family and outer society viewed him as a parasite and shunned him from their vicinity. All of us could honestly say we had also experienced this during our active using period.
However, as Mr. Balwan Ji met with the outstretched hands of SHAFA HOME, he found his light at the end of the dark tunnel. He expressed how through completing treatment at SHAFA, his outlook on life completely changed when entered the outside society. He became determined to live a disciplined, dynamic and drug-free life. 14 years down the road, today goes to show he has achieved just that! Despite life’s inevitable ups and downs, his willingness to remain clean and sober has remained unfettered. He went on to talk about his regained self-respect, dignity and confidence. This ignited a blazing beacon of motivation and reassurance within the hearts and minds of our recovering residents.
As his sharing wound to a close, the hall was filled with applause and sincere commendation of his shining success story. His dynamic sharing had a few of our members left with questions. One younger resident asked Mr. Balwan Ji “How is it that you have managed to not pick up substances despite life’s inevitable problems? Balwan Ji’s response was that he has always kept in touch with Mr. Ranjan Dhar without fail, come rain or shine. After all “a problem shared is a problem halved”.
The resounding message was; if he could achieve 14 years without a drug or a drink, so could we! Residents sung a hearty chorus of "Happy Birthday" and our younger residents then presented him a hand-made birthday card to commemorate his special day.
This occasion is an example of how through grit-determination, a fighting spirit and unconditional positive thinking, any addict can break free from the shackles of his substance-ridden past. It is a matter of dedication, discipline and patience. Like Mr. Balwan Ji, our SHAFA residents have been presented with a beautiful chance to start their lives afresh on the road of recovery.
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