A DIFFERENT KIND OF SURRENDER

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo December 29,2016 - 12:13 AM
Cynthia Green (standing) facilitates one of the sessions in the 10-day drug recovery and renewal program. She said it is a privilege to know these people and develop a special bond with them. (CDN/Cris Evert B. Lato Ruffolo)

Cynthia Green (standing) facilitates one of the sessions in the 10-day drug recovery and renewal program. She said it is a privilege to know these people and develop a special bond with them. (CDN/Cris Evert B. Lato Ruffolo)

(A four-part series on why there is hope for drug users and pushers)

PART III

How do you deal with drug addicts with a desire to change?

According to Rene Francisco, co-developer of the Surrender to God (SuGod) drug recovery and renewal program, most of the time, they just need someone to listen to them.

It is important to set aside any judgment and just be a listener, he said.

Rene, who also runs IT Works! Chemical Dependency Treatment Center in Ozamiz City, said this is what he requires of facilitators and recovery coaches who serve in the 10-day SuGod outpatient program.

“Coaches are required to talk 20 percent of the time and listen 80 percent of the time when doing one-on-one counseling,” said Rene.

The program involves one-on-one sessions with each participant to make sure that the lessons are ingrained in their hearts and minds.

“While others get it quickly, there are others who get it at a slower pace, so this is where we go one on one. We continuously remind ourselves that there will be introverts in the group. These people have difficulty performing normally in a crowd so we also take care of their special needs,” he said.

The SuGod program was developed by Rene, a former addict, and Fe Mantuhac Barino, who runs the construction and real estate firm Duros Group of Companies.

Implemented under IT Works, Love of God Community Center and Kaalam Foundation Inc., SuGod provides an opportunity for drug addicts to learn how to manage their lives as productive members of society.

The program has graduated 250 individuals from four batches beginning last August.

The fifth batch will start their program on January 9 to 18 next year.

Running the program is not cheap. At least P300,000 is spent per batch of at least 60 participants.

Pooling resources from the foundation and local and international donations, Fe said they are able to accept more people with a desire to change.

But aside from the donations, the program continues to operate because of volunteer facilitators who spend time and money to serve.

One of them is Cynthia Green, 49, a guidance counselor who has been working in a private school in Cebu for 23 years.

SPIRITUAL

No one in Cynthia’s immediate family is involved in illegal drugs. But she has cousins and some relatives who are addicts.

“I did not hesitate to say ‘yes’ because this is an opportunity to make use of my skills and experience in a very concrete way. Being aware of the gravity of the drug problem, being so frustrated of the sense of helplessness in addressing the problem, and out of fear of the issues and challenges the Filipino families face at present, I want to give my little share,” said Cynthia.

Cynthia Green (second from left) with fellow facilitators and participants of the Surrender to God (SuGod) drug recovery and renewal program. (CDN PHOTO/CRIS EVERT LATO-RUFFOLO).

Cynthia Green (second from left) with fellow facilitators and participants of the Surrender to God (SuGod) drug recovery and renewal program. (CDN PHOTO/CRIS EVERT LATO-RUFFOLO).

Facilitators like her are not paid for the services they render.

There are times when they too shell out their own money just to ensure that the program continues to run.

Using modules anchored on Bible stories and good moral values, Cynthia assists the recovery coach in various focus group discussions.

She also helps facilitate some exercises in the 12-step Program of Recovery introduced by Rene to the participants.

Along with the educational and scientific aspects of the program, the spiritual transformation of the addicted person is also incorporated in the module through a Life in the Spirit/New Creation Seminar.

“When you see the look in the person’s face, you can see the frustration, the suffering,” said Cynthia, convinced that a problem of this magnitude could only be solved by God’s miracle.

SHARING GOD’S LOVE

As they welcome every participant on Day 1 of the recovery program, Cynthia said everyone gets a hug from the facilitators as they begin to focus on each person.

On Day 4, participants gain a fresh look courtesy of a free haircut and shaving session.

The resulting dignified look on the person’s face after their “grooming day” shows signs of a renewed individual of the people whom she describes as “not devoid of emotions but are real people” with a desire to quit drugs and alcohol.

“They just do not know how to do it,” she said, recounting how participants most often realize how they have hurt their loved ones and wish that they could go back to them.

Death is not their only option.

“They long for somebody to trust and guide them. Somebody who listens and believes in what they disclose in confidence. It is truly a privilege to gain their trust and become an instrument in rediscovering their faith,” shared Cynthia who has developed a special friendship with the recovering addicts.

Within the team are former drug dependents who underwent training and have now become facilitators and recovery coaches themselves.

TRAININGS

In order to replicate this program in other communities, the group has shared their best practices with other communities and government agencies.

“I noticed that there are panic trainings going on these days because there is a shortage of trained and skilled personnel. The trainings are mostly on how to run community-based programs,” Rene said as he warned against bogus groups posing as legitimate training institutions.

Rene Francisco (center), co-founder of the Surrender to God (SuGod) drug recovery and renewal program, recommends rehabilitating and retraining erring policemen so they can be productive members in the government's drug war campaign. (CDN PHOTO/CRIS EVERT LATO-RUFFOLO).

Rene Francisco (center), co-founder of the Surrender to God (SuGod) drug recovery and renewal program, recommends rehabilitating and retraining erring policemen so they can be productive members in the government’s drug war campaign. (CDN PHOTO/CRIS EVERT LATO-RUFFOLO).

“Be very cautious because these are people who heard that the national government has a big allocation for the anti-drug campaign so they’re here solely for money,” he said.

In dealing with policemen found positive for illegal drug use, Rene suggests that government should not automatically discharge them from service but give them a second chance by having them undergo rehabilitation.

“My fear is that the government has a one-strike policy towards its men in uniform. This is the scary part. They let loose into society a highly skilled person trained in mortal combat. This person is now angry, hungry, lonely, jobless and desperate to feed his family and self,” he warned.

“DOH (Department of Health) has an over supply of highly-skilled psychiatrists and psychologists. These erring policemen should not be kicked out or punished but retrained and maybe reassigned to do minor public service like doing anti-drug awareness symposiums,” said Rene.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: addict, dependency, drug addict, drug dependency, drug pusher, drug user, drugs, Heart, hope, IT Works! Chemical Dependency Treatment Center, judgment, lesson, listener, listening, Ozamiz City, pusher, recovery, rehabilitation, special needs, Sugod, Surrender to God, user

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.