By Gorky Bakshi
Addiction is a disease but it can be cured-this is a strong belief that keeps up the drive of Ranjan Dhar- the man who dedicated his life to build a drugs-free society. Ranjan feels the even the drug addicts hate doing drugs and secretly want to lead a normal life. Ranjan has been running a de-addiction programme called Shafa Home in north-west Delhi, since last 13-years, which has benefited hundreds of youngsters.
“I was associated with many charitable working groups; I worked with Kiran Bedi’s NGO for a short span of time. Those days I realized that I should do something that can help the society though I didn’t have a clear vision for this. Once while coming back from my place, and saw an addict lying in middle of the road, the moment I found my way.”
It is not an easy task to get people involved and think of their addictions. The group is India’s first self-help and self-managed group comprising 25-45 people, who contribute towards drug free society. People of all ages come to them, majority between 30 and 45. They majorly get alcohol and drugs addicts. In Punjab, they are running camps from past 8 years, and the patients who can’t afford costly de-addiction process gets free-of-cost treatment.
How it works:
First of all when patient gets admitted we check him thoroughly whether he gets anything with him. “We believe that there are four parts of an addiction- physical, social, spiritual and psychological. So in order to completely get rid of an addiction, the treatment also has to have four parts. Hence the treatment has a holistic approach,” said Dhar.
The technique that works is called therapeutic community. “In the first two-three days we just keep a close watch on the patient and note down his behaviour. Then we set a schedule for them, we make them adhere to their fixed routine. In a month or two addict gets started following his routine himself,” says Ranjan.
In second stage: “When the addict starts showing will power in quitting habits, we try to give new direction to his life and seeks for personal growth. He understands that being a part of society he should not behave different, should quit all addictions to start a normal social life. We give them regular classes, visit many places in a group and play games, so that he becomes more social.”
The third stage is a period of self-reflection, of questioning the purpose of one’s life. Addicts come at peace within and build positive energy through meditations and other regular exercises. Dramatic changes come in the fourth stage when the person begins to integrate new values, his social relationships, into a coherent and consistent lifestyle that promotes recovery. At last he finds his “true calling.”
Dhar accepts that there are phases where the person feels agitated and irritated when he does not get the drugs but as their last choice they do follow strict rules. However, entire treatment takes a time of 8 to 12 months, according to the ailment of an addict.
Ranjan Dhar and team have helped around 1500 people till date. One of the examples is, Piyush, who came from Hapur (Uttar Pradesh) to get rid of his addiction. Piyush shared his story with us: “I was addicted of heroine and liquor, I used to steal money from my own house. After suffering for long, my family decided to admit me here in Shafa.”
“Initially I felt trapped and was annoyed with everyone especially, my family. My addiction started with smoking at the age of 15 which was later followed by heavy drinking. I was admitted in June 2008 and spent 12 months for shunning my habits,” shared Piyush.
“When I was in final phase of treatment, my mother expired. None of my family member informed me about this tragedy because they feared I would have left the treatment in between. I felt cheated but realised they had intentions to save my life. Shafa is like family to me and I have all relations here,” he expressed. Now he is working as motivational consultant at Shafa with good remuneration and drugs free life.
Recalling another example, Ranjan Dhar says: “There was a guy named Ram Dulare from Hisar, Haryana. He was a tough guy for us, very rude, agitated and muscular. He used to take gaanja and indulged in criminal activities in the nearby area. Police admitted him at this centre.”
“We tried all our levels best, but he was not ready to leave drugs, despite taking treatment of six months. Then we decided to de-addict him in his own way. We realised that he liked mountains and rivers. We took him to Uttrakhand, took a house on rent for six months and started our treatment. That was the point when he changed his mind, he left all his addictions within three months and become role model for others. Now a days, he is working in a private firm in Gurgaon.”
Message and Plan
“I know what is going on in Punjab, which is facing acute crisis in the form of mass drug addiction. So, we have been running regular camps which is run by a team of our volunteers. It’s not just about the sources where drug is coming from its also about our system and laws that are giving easy going to such menace.”
About its plans and vision, Dhar says: “We are spreading our camps in various cities and states, we have appointed many volunteers for this work done but sometimes due to lack of funds we feel bounded. However, it is true that I want to make each and every minute of my life purposeful, I can’t see weeping eyes of a mother whose son dies with drug addiction.”
To bring join the de-addiction programme, please contact Ranjan Dhar: +91 9810223987