Today, I experienced something which was very different and unusual than a general birthday. In TC terminology it is known as a "Recovery Birthday". A birthday signifies that the earth has completed one revolution around the sun in its orbit. Similarly, a Recovery Birthday is celebrated when an addict completes a year staying away from drugs or being sober. We celebrate our birthdays every year with the same enthusiasm and excitement irrespective of the kind of actions or deeds we might have committed during that time, every year. But today, this day seemed of more importance to me than any birth anniversaries. During this year, the addict accomplishes a lot by going through all the hardships in one's life without resorting to the escape route of numbing things with the use of drugs.
Today, I witnessed Anand Mani's 15th recovery birthday celebrations. He shared his feelings of 15 years of drug use and his journey of recovery, in front of residents of Shafa. Like every year, thisthis year too, he came to the center to celebrate his birthday with the Shafa family as a token of love and honor, as this place has helped him to embark on this new beginning in his life. He shared amongst the family that after losing everything in all realms of his life and getting admitted to 8 or 9 treatment programs at the age of 37 years he came to Shafa. This was where he surrendered to the program and accepted his own mistakes and this was only possible because of the kind of atmosphere and platform offered at Shafa.
According to him, this was the turning point in his journey towards recovery. This journey must not have been very easy, after living a life of a junkie on the streets, one forgets about his duties, responsibilities and a sense of discretion between right and wrong. Then, he had to conform to the new norms of the program and this helped him to instill self-check mechanisms, which ensured him to sustain his recovery in every possible way. This family has become like a safe haven for him, as his program got over and he was told to go home he got scared, as he had nowhere to go. Tears welled in his eyes when he started talking about the changes which had come in his life after being in recovery. He still can't believe that he has a family who loves him, he has a son, he has bought his own house, he has a good job as a banquet manager and he has build relationships with people who support him. I strongly feel that he has become a good role-model. Previously, he used to be a person who was using drugs as an excuse or a support system for everything and now he faces every life's every challenge without drugs and has managed to cope well. He himself said that "Recovery is the fight and struggle in life" and this struggle is never-ending.
Today after listening to his words, this birthday celebration felt special, when I compared it with all other biological birthdays I have celebrated so far in my life.
As seen by XYZ, an Intern on 2nd May’2014, in SHAFA.
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