Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Conquering Addiction

Honorable President  of Asian Federation of “Therapeutic Community” (AFTC) and “Philippines Federation of Therapeutic Community” and Founder of Seagulls Flight in Philippines, Mr Ed Castillo visited SHAFA during his trip to New Delhi India.

The Residents had arranged for a heart warming welcome. He was welcomed at the entrance with the traditional “Tilak” ceremony and later he was guided inside the facility with residents showering flower petals on him.

 Mr Ravinder Chowdhury, Peer Support Counselor presented a power point presentation about the essence of the “GURU SHISHYA PARAMPARA – AN INDIAN ADAPTATION OF THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY IN MODERN INDIA”. Later the residents had arranged an interesting cultural activity which they called "Music Of Innocence". Their interesting idea was to create a symphony of different sounds made by a human being right from the birth till he grows older, without using any musical instruments. Every one was mesmerized by the effort of their presentation,

The guest, brother Ed Castillo got a chance to know more about our upstate centre in Kotdwar, Uttrakhand and the activities being held there through a 15 min movie titled “Its All About Change”.
           Finally the event culminated in an interaction in between the residents and the guest. He shared with them his 39 years of recovery and his experiences thereof. This was the highlight of the total event. Residents were excited and wanted to know so much more about him. But as all good things have to come to an end, this event was over and every one present promised to make it a new beginning.       

Friday, January 27, 2012


For the first time India became host to Asian Recovery Symposium and for the first time 6 participants from Shafa Home joined the venture too .ARS is a proud body of Asian Countries celebrating the pride and honor of being in recovery and free from drugs. It enlightens the problems and issues that are faced by people in recovery and organizations working in this field. The event was organized from 16th to 18th Jan, 2012 at Hotel Sheraton. This year’s topic was “Recovery Benefits Everyone”.
            The event unfolded itself with various presentations on the topic “Recovery Benefits Everyone” by eminent speakers from leading organizations active in this noble cause. The participants from Shafa Home were in their true element and played a active role in all the activities. They met people from various Asian Countries, making friends and exchanging experiences. They confidently participated in all deliberations and left their own mark too. They invited people to their facility as they had arranged conveyance for all participants.

            During the event a few workshops were held, the involvement and the spirit of the participants were very high. Later the certificates were distributed amongst all  participation, followed by a sumptuous dinner. The event ended with a cultural activity performed by people from different countries. Finally, the recovery countdown which was the best and most energetic part of the whole event, started. It provided hope to the new brothers to move ahead slowly and steadily in the path of recovery. Recovery was celebrated by handing over bouquet of flowers from the oldest recovery member, 39 years in recovery, to the youngest, 7 months in recovery. Symposium ended with good byes, good lucks and promises to meet again next year, next ARS. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Representatives from Shafa were invited by Sampoorna, an NGO to visit their Night Shelter Home and speak on the subject of Drug Abuse amongst the homeless. Other NGO’s had also gathered there on a common outreach program to spread awareness about addiction.

There were around 50 homeless people in the audience who were addicted to different drugs. They didn’t seem to be interested as speakers from different organization were trying to talk to them. But as Mr Ravinder, one of the re-entry residents from SHAFA stood up with confidence the audience took notice. He started by asking them to look back into the days when they left their places and came to Delhi. They had made promises to their families and themselves that they will make a good living in the city and then support their families from there. He reminded them what happened later, today they are deep into addiction, forget about being an asset, they have become a liability for themselves, their families and the society at large. Everyone in the crowd went silent and listened to him patiently. He asked them to analyze what they lost in their past and what they had earned in their present. Later he gave them a way of hope for their future by sharing with them how he managed to change his life and about his 5 yrs in sobriety. Every one present there were amazed and accepted the truth that there is hope in their life.

The meeting ended with the commitment of living a drug free life as they were shown a way to save themselves. Finally, reading material was distributed in form of Shafa Newsletter and Brochure.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is A Friend In Need, A Friend In Deed?

During the days of addiction, addicts forgot the meaning of Companionship and Belongingness. On 8th January, 2012 Five Re-entry Residents of Shafa went on an outing to re-discover what companionship or belongingness is all about.

            The re-entry residents had planned a day out after a long period of time, which was like a dream come true. All were excited and pumped up to explore the world again with a new vision and excitement. They watched a movie and later shared their feelings with each other like never before. A nice lunch after the movie added a true flavor. They took pictures, sang songs, saw spiritual ‘Gathka’ and interacted with people to know about the new developments while they were in their own world. They were in their true elements and it was like joy following them like a shadow.

            They really felt what exactly they have lost in their past and what can they earn in their future. Today they could clearly understand the feeling of regret for always being a black sheep in their family. The day ended with realization and a promise to each other that we will not lose what they have earned after lot of hard work and patience.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

An Evening In Shafa Home

On 31st a huge gathering of 200 people was organized by Shafa Home at Kothwar. The gathering included the residents, their family member’s, volunteers, staff and old recovering addicts. The invitation were sent to the family members a month back via phone calls, e-mails, text messages and direct invitation in the family counseling.

The evening Started with a Family counseling in which Residents and family members were informed the importance of celebrating such important days without alcohol or any mood altering substance. It all started with an early dinner by the food cooked by the residents. Families shared their food with the residents more then the food, it was love and affection that could be seen in their eyes. The cultural event started with Bhangra followed by the folk dance which transformed into the hip hop in between the audience got so excited and involved that a kid came up to the stage and showed a fairy dance. The dance was actually adorable. In the end the residents have put up an act depicting a religious mythological story. A fashion parade depicting various traditional dresses of different Indian States. The whole cultural program depicted the confidence and positive changes amongst the residents, everyone could notice the improvement in their personality and openness.The cultural activity was too perfect.
And soon the time had come for what the whole gathering was organized FOR. It was 10 seconds to 12 o clock. The crowd began the count down 10..9..8…………...4..3..2..1, the new year was welcomed by bursting a balloon and unveiling a big card put up by the residents on the wall. The roar in the air could match the energy of any soccer stadium. Everyone, old or young, grand father or sister could be seen dancing with their loved ones. The stage was set for a perfect New Year Eve Celebration which went on till 1 in the night. Few family members expressed their joy and excitement, like this: “ Iam 25 years old and I have never celebrated new year like this.”. A girl said we usually used to go out clubbing but its was better then that”. One of the residents shared,” he has never danced like this without using any mood altering sustnce in the past”.

There was a issue with the bedding arrangements which was due to the lack of communication however that would be taken care during the next short coming events. However that was not the end it was beginning of a new recovering life in a new year. We wanted to wish the treasure of happy yesterdays and the gift of bright tomorrow.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another Mile Stone Achieved

Recovery Birthday, a term might be anonymous to a non addict but for an addict recovery is something which is going to decide his while life and future. Here at Shafa Home recovery birthdays have got significant importance, more important (infact we should say most important) than biological birthday. Yesterday, on 4th Jan, 2012, one of our senior councilor Mr. Balbir Singh celebrated his 6th recovery birthday with full zeal & zest. The whole house had been decorated with flower petals and lightning has been done all over the place.

It was 12.00 Hrs at night when a recovery addict and residents had planned to surprise him with a cake. It was like a dream come true for him as he was woken up from bed and everyone wished him a happy recovery birthday. In the morning residents again wished him which was very heart warming. After the morning meeting everyone present, showered flowers on Balbir Ji, followed by a cake cutting ceremony. Later he shared his feelings & told the residents how emotional he is today.

An inspirational movie session has been held in which residents were shown inspirational clips to motivate them. In the evening Balbir Ji’s family came to Shafa Home, to greet him on achieving this milestone. They shared the changes they’ve seen in him through out the years. It has been a heart touching moment for everyone. His family and the residents danced together & cheered each other. In the end Mr. Balbir`s eldest son said,” Thank you to all Shafa Staff and the residents of Shafa,” which made their day. Everyone had hope to enjoy life to the fullest without any drug or mood altering substance.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finding new ways to concrete our relations

As during the addiction, our relationships with our families, friends, relatives and society were the most affected. So on 3rd January 2012, Dr. Neelam Sukramani from Jamia Milia Ialamia, professor in Social Works was invited to Shafa Home, to conduct a session on "Building Relations".

The session started with a song as she asked one of the residents to sing a song, to cheer them up and as ice breaker. She told the residents to introduce themselves in a new manner that was to describe themselves with a word. For example : "She introduced herself," I am Neelam I am very Emotional." She put up 2 Questions How was your family affected due to your addiction? and How can you change it? She asked the residents to answer them in written or through a drawing.

After 15 minutes she asked few of the residents to share what they have written and others to put up questions on what he shared. She herself removed their doubts and made the residents to realize what could be done and find the answer to their questions on their own. She finished with telling the residents to keep the papers with them, so next time she can listen to everyone and its just a beginning. She ended with singing a motivational song herself.

Monday, January 2, 2012

HO HO HO! Christmas Shafa Way

On 25th December, the Christmas Day. The residents of Shafa were surprised by gifts under their pillows and beddings. One resident was dressed as Santa Claus & the whole house was decorated which brought energy and enthusiasm in the residents. The menu was different which added flavour to joy.
                In the afternoon , the Shafa Family was addressed by a priest from the nearby Church. The priest read out a few Phrases from the Holy Bible, which could be connected to the life of an addict. After a prayer the residents put up their questions regarding their past and future, which were answered by the priest. As thanksgiving, the priest was presented with a greeting card made by the resident`s themselves.
                The residents showed off their talent by the performing Cultural Activities, plays etc. Everyone participated in the activity and even enjoyed it. Residents sang Carols and depicted the birth of Jesus through a small skirt. The day ended with a dance session which expressed the joy, enthusiasm and happiness of the Shafa Family.