City without drugs: the Church can not save everyone, but trying

MOSCOW, 10 Nov – RIA Novosti, Alexei Mikheev. Adaptive apartment, rehabilitation centers, day hospital and the “bus of mercy” — the Synodal Department for charity of the Moscow Patriarchate, the St. Petersburg Metropolitanate and the Foundation “Diakonia” showed reporters how you can help those suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism.


Day hospital for drug addicts at the St. Petersburg diocesan administration is right in the Alexander Nevsky monastery — the oldest and most famous monastery of the Northern capital. Today it is one of the few institutions of its kind in the Russian Church. According to the head of the diocesan coordination centre for combating drug addiction and alcoholism Archpriest Maxim Pletnev, a hospital is truly unique — people going to be rehabilitation, not taken out of society, he remains in the same space where hurt, and it re-learns how to live sober.

“This work I’ve been doing for over 20 years. During this period I came to the idea that we are not the Messiah and cannot save everyone. Messianic complex — we have people coming that we save him, there will be a miracle — unfortunately, this is not always the case. Addiction is bio-psycho-socio-spiritual phenomenon, it has at least four levels, and to succeed we have to work on all four. We help people to obtain God’s help, but well aware that it is a disease, the disease has its course, and setbacks are a natural part of its flow,” says the priest.

Rehabilitation program, “City tow” is designed for 3 months, at the same time it can participate up to 12 people. Any restrictions, including age, hospital no. Based on a synthesis of patristic experience of the struggle with passions, the most effective areas of psychotherapy and direct experience of recovery to addicts. All of this together, according to the senior psychologist of the center Oleg Bogachev, can be called “a Symphony of joy and freedom.”

Patients of the rehabilitation center “Solohubivka” Tikhvin diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church

“We have more than several other Orthodox organizations, roll in psychotherapy, this is a long tedious digging, archaeology of the soul. We are preparing to rehabilitate we rehabilitate. We here are mostly those who have reached the very bottom, who all pushed. In the rehabilitation centres are mainly those who have just started to use and who needs to rebuild your life. Our guys have to rebuild this files most often have nothing,” — said Bogachev.

The hospital employs five priests, four of the teacher-the psychologist, the Secretary of the Fund, according to Bogachev, a specialist in culture and history — holds for patients undergoing rehabilitation visiting temples and museums in the cities, leads them to concerts and other cultural events. “We live in a city in which a sin not to do it Wednesday too terapeutica” he said.

Hospital in Laurel is open year round seven days a week, all the help it is free. “This is our principled approach, we want to hold on to the last of our capabilities. People are dependent, they have passed the hardest tests in my life, their life destroyed, it would be wrong to take money for helping them,” emphasizes father Maxim.


Volunteers of the “Bus of mercy” distribute Lunches to the homeless on Atamanskaya street St. Petersburg

Charitable Foundation “Diakonia”, created at the St. Petersburg Metropolitanate, is engaged in the rehabilitation and adaptation of drug addicts, helping the homeless, is working to prevent HIV/AIDS and share experience with everyone on how to conduct the rehabilitation of drug addicts. One of its main projects — the “Bus of mercy”. Every day its employees are graduates of the rehabilitation center “Solohubivka” who have overcome addiction to drugs — hand out to the homeless a hot meal, clean clothes, help in the treatment of diseases. Food for deprived homeless and just needing cooking in the Alexander Nevsky monastery, in the month volunteers handed out more than a thousand Lunches.

“Our principle is to feed everyone. If the food is suddenly not enough, I always have something in store, I’m always getting the ladies, either bread or buns any remain”, — Sergey Kostrikov, a social worker of the bus under the snow shows the line of those who come for help. “People come important to be careful. Is touchy, offended can be very strong. It is necessary to be extremely attentive to people, to listen to sometimes, who wants what, who has what problem to send — either in social services or, if you come there guys, alcoholics, drug addicts — it’s on my side, think what to do. There are those who still goes just to eat. The main thing — not to offend people,” he says.

Every night comes to him about fifty people. In the dreams of Sergei — to every district of St. Petersburg was at least one such bus. While it is one to almost six-million metropolis.


“I wanted to look adult. Not to be like everyone else. Because the drugs started to consume. Freedom, “expanded” consciousness. And at a later stage was used to drown themselves in guilt, self-pity. Consume I started in 12 years and first time tried alcohol 9. Ate, injected and watched TV. Still went to work, sat there in the chair and did nothing. Drugs are not made to live without them in any way, and they did. I lost my wife, stopped to see the child. Prior to practicing music, sports, and then just like an animal. Dry was broken, wood was stabbed in the monastery,” — said one of the occupants of the adaptation of the apartment of the Foundation “Diakonia” on the Petrograd side.

The tenants of the adaptation of the apartment for alcohol and drug dependent in St. Petersburg

Alexander jarocki, landlord provided a rent Fund. It is home to about 20 people — those who have passed the basic stages of rehabilitation centers and trying to get back to normal life. According to the Executive Director of the “Diaconia” Elena Rydalevskaya, for the year through the apartment — “the halfway house” — goes up to fifty in need of socialization. “About 80 percent stay sober and stop using drugs. Those who do not very quickly come back. It is important not only for achieving remission but also the change in quality of life. And it changes almost all,” she said.

Consultant, adaptation of the apartment for drug-dependent in St. Petersburg talking with one of her tenants

“The schedule is simple: Wake up at 7, morning a rule (prayer — ed.), people are going to get a job, pull each other due to the fact that living here is 20 people, they all know each other. Suit each other to work. All students find jobs in the first month and a fully self-sufficient”, — one of advisers of the Foundation for chemical dependency answers the question about the order of the day. “We go to the temple, now we have organized kickboxing, museums… People meet with a sober life. Man it gets hard to go to the store, make a shopping list that he needs today. Of course, all make a lot of mistakes, but earn experience and use it to build relationships with the world.”

Hermitage Director Mikhail Piotrovsky allows the tenants are free to come to the Museum, and friend of the owner of the stables for help in caring for the horses gives you the opportunity to ride. Alexander jarocki admits that the best tenants to wish he couldn’t.

“It was the right choice and the right decision. I am very thankful that she introduced us to each other. While watching what is happening here, I am convinced that God exists. See a great role of religion, the support which Orthodoxy gives people who find themselves without support,” says Alexander.

“In short, if you want to rent an apartment, bring it back to the addicts and alcoholics,” he adds.

One of the tenants of the adaptation of the apartment for alcohol and drug dependent in St. Petersburg

“The disease has such a property that does not notice a roll to the bottom, and come in when the bottom has to knock no one. Further down nowhere. The most difficult period — to learn to live again. When even parents who are tired of the lunacy, lost faith in man and stopped to help him, he is left to himself. The main thing — to try to become independent again. Here is a good place for that,” smiles one of the guests.

Today in Russia there are more than 4,000 Church social institutions and projects. Among them, more than 70 rehabilitation centres for drug addicts, 14 rehabilitation centers, 13 outpatient centers, 34 counseling center. Every year in Russia open at least 10 new Church structures assistance to drug addicts. Currently, the Union of all the Church’s rehabilitation centers into a single network, which will become an integral part of the national system of rehabilitation.