It's a Long & Tough Road to Recovery
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By Bella Jaisinghani
A rehab facility attached to the Mt Carmel Church in Bandra offers help to a special breed of lost souls. It is here that Fr Joe Pereira helms one of the major centres for recovering drug addicts in the city, the Kripa Foundation. Apart from making them undergo the routine detoxification programme that may involve medication, Fr Pereira points to several addicts, including the new breed of struggling television actors, who have come back from the brink after putting them through yoga therapy.
Not that the entire medical fraternity agrees with his methods. But one point where all the people working in this field come together is that sustained professional help is a must for those who wish to not only come out but stay out of addiction. Achieving sobriety is easy, remaining sober is the tough part.
In fact doctors and psychiatrists seldom differentiate between different kinds of substance abuse. “Be it drugs or alcohol, each has the potential to kill, only drugs will do the job in two years that alcohol would in ten,” says Dr R N Jerajani, consulting psychiatrist and founder member of Kripa, who helped devise the institution’s rehab model.
The doctor now runs an independent practice. He points to 43-year-old Manoj who has managed to pull himself up from the hazy blur his life had become when he fell prey to drug addiction at the age of 15. The son of a well-to-do family, Manoj has been sober for 24 years and still believes the cure comes one day at a time. “Like cancer, addiction is a disease that hits people from all backgrounds. And like cancer, you have to seek help before it is too late and find yourself hitting the dead end at Tata Memorial Hospital,” says the survivor who underwent the Fellowship of the Narcotics Anonymous programme at age 20.”
Another recovering addict, Akshay, who has been in Fr Pereira’s rehab programme for three months, is just beginning to assess his situation. What prodded the Satara native on the route to experimentation was the high that party drugs gave him-and the false feeling that he was in control.
Akshay found himself unable to conquer the demons in his head that soon compelled him to beg, borrow and steal to fund his addiction. “Like all addicts I did not realise when the recreational use of drugs in the company of friends got out of hand. At first, I would consume at parties where substances happened to be available, then wait for these parties, then organise such events. At each step my threshold of tolerance began to heighten.”
Over time, his professional and family life came apart at the seams. “I had received an interview call for a prestigious government job in Mumbai,” says the out-of-towner. “The night before leaving, I hosted a party where I got stoned and missed my interview.” The time Akshay did actually come to Mumbai was to attend the deaddiction programme. The route to recovery calls for painful and sustained effort. The route to recovery calls for painful and sustained effort. Fr Pereira says severe withdrawals have been known to cause death.
Such cases rarely make it to public view, unlike instances of accidental overdose like the recent one at Goa’s Sunburn music festival. “Do you know that the success rate for rehab the world over is about 20%?’ asks Manoj “An addiction is bigger than the self. When people say you lack the willpower to overcome your situation, they are naively underestimating the power of a rare disease that can defeat all willpower. One has to seek professional help.”
Source: Times of India