Celebrating Sobriety: ‘Nobody Is Hopeless’
Thursday, April 18, 2024
Editor's Pick

Celebrating sobriety: ‘Nobody is hopeless’

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 29, 2023 2:32 am
Works by residents of Prodigals’ Home. (EM Images/ Tia Longkumer)

Moakala Aier
DIMAPUR — The Prodigals’ Home has the ambience of a hostel rather than a rehabilitation centre, but for the residents, it is more like a home where they not only support each other in rebuilding their lives but also pray together daily.

At the Prodigals’ Home — Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCA) — in Dimapur, the once drug addicts and alcoholics, who share a similar past and had undergone physical, mental and spiritual pain, live together as a family under one roof, and with a common goal- to maintain sobriety.

The daily activities of the residents include work therapy, social work, reading, personal counseling, group sharing, fitness session, yoga, music therapy and more, much like a variety of framed quotes, prayer messages and motivational slogans hanging on the wall of the hall at the rehab centre.

“This is like home to me now,” Benji (name changed), a resident of the rehab centre, told Eastern Mirror, pointing at the building that currently houses 20 of them, all male.

He said that he does not miss his family or home; rather, he misses the “freedom”.

When he was a kid, he overheard people saying on several occasions that he would also become like his biological father, who died of substance abuse. He said that he grew up under such environment and eventually fell into the banned substances.

“My uncle (who he calls father) is someone who inspires me,” says Benji, adding: “He is a man of his words and very responsible too”.

For Vann (name changed), another resident at the centre, the initial days at the rehab centre were tough.

He said that he underwent a hard time during the first month of treatment, to the point of even escaping by scaling the wall of the facility, as he was faced with surging physical withdrawals and mental disruptions.

Eventually, he accepted the reality that his life would be doomed had he left the rehabilitation centre. Now, he has extended his stay at the centre on his own will.

‘I never lived a sober life before coming to this centre. But here, I celebrated my sober birthday after a year of sobriety. This experience, I will never forget until I die,’ said Vann, who finds joy in painting, singing and playing volleyball. 

He said that he would take up his childhood passion after checking out of the centre.

“Since childhood, I have been into painting. I would like to pursue my passion for painting and take art classes once my recovery journey ends here,” he said.

He also encouraged those caught in the web of drug addiction to seek help, saying that ‘physical withdrawals will be daunting but it lasts only for two or three weeks before health slowly begins to restore’.

Lamo (name changed), said that he would hone his interests like music, gardening and cooking once he checks out of the facility. He also wants to focus on his spiritual growth by spending time at a prayer centre and share his testimony, if it can help someone in need.

Another resident expressed hope that all of them currently in the centre would maintain sobriety and go ahead in life.

Lack of family support and recovery

T Meren Jamir, a resident counselor at the rehab centre, said that lack of support from family hinders the recovery process of a client.

He also lamented lack of awareness among the Naga society, saying that an alternative to addiction is neither detention nor forceful punishment as it is a ‘disease’ in itself.

“No one is hopeless, whichever case comes, if we work on it – push the client, motivate him, encourage him then there is no hopeless case,” he said.

Sharing an experience at the facility, he said: “One of the clients was totally reluctant to be a part of the programme. He was forcibly brought here and even tried to take his own life within the premises but we were able to save him. Despite his reluctance towards the treatment, after some months, he became the best resident and went on to be a model resident for the others.”

There is hope

Another resident counsellor, Sunep Jamir, believes that all alcoholics and drug addicts are good human beings who are compelled to be someone they are not because of addiction.

“A substance user can go to any length to get their choice of chemical during this stage called chronic stage,” said Sunep, adding that ‘they care less about their own prestige and would go on to lie, cheat, steal or fool others, all for the sake of getting substance’.

However, he said that ‘it does not mean that they want to do it but drugs and alcohol make them do it’.

He is optimistic that anybody can turn their lives around if given a chance.

“Addiction is a medical issue and not a moral or a legal issue,” he said, adding that ‘it bankrupts the physical, mental and emotional well-being of a person’.

‘So, with right treatment along with support and acceptance from the family, society and church, both inside and outside a rehab centre; and if a second chance is given, anyone can become a productive member of the society regardless of how chronic or how addicted a person was or has been,’ said Sunep.

“That is what I hope and believe,” he added.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 29, 2023 2:32:48 am
Website Design and Website Development by TIS