Religion is not the opium of the people, and the antidote: the Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church on assistance to drug addicts

© Fotolia / Springfield GalleryСинтетические drugsReligion is not the opium of the people, and the antidote: the Bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church on assistance to drug addicts© Fotolia / Springfield Gallery

On why he started to help the addicts to get rid of dependence on the Church methods of treatment, the most memorable patient and the difficulties of rehabilitation centres of the Russian Orthodox Church in an interview with RIA Novosti said the Bishop Kamensky and Alapaevsk Methodius. Talked To Mary She Said.

Not all the priests, faced with the subject of addiction, has been devoted to this care all my life.

I was just. A few years ago I was in a distant rural parish. There votserkovleniya people who are assisting drug addicts. Began to ask, as in accord with Church tradition to help the addicts. In order to answer this question, I was acquainted with the subject. In the end, we got to experience the first drug addicts — three people in 1990-91.

The encounter took place, but a full-fledged work with addicts we have dealt with only since 1998. It was a time of crisis. Our parish was deaf, people would come from afar, and then the ride became impossible to transport collapsed. We thought, how not to turn into stokers, guards, janitors, and remain priests. I remembered that I had a good experience with addicts. Invited drug addicts, worked with our friends. They began to help us lead the parish farm, and we give them to cope with the addiction. Since this all started.

— Addicts are interested to work, not get bored with them. Among them are many talented, extraordinary people. There are, of course, and a difficult situation.

The first case is remembered most. I remember the first drug addicts, which was brought to us. We put him in a separate house. He worked with us, confessed, lived soberly. I have lost the fear of drug addicts, when I met him. He was a pleasant man, played a lot with the kids. But when he confessed, it was awful. What he told me was very serious. It turned out to be two completely different people, so in temperance he was different from themselves under the influence of drugs.

Now he died of a disease due to disruption of alcohol. Unfortunately, he finally did. But it was not rehabilitation, only a first acquaintance. The man died a Christian. At the hospital, he repented, reconciled with all, confessed and then died. It was a Christian death, we pray for him, hope in the eternal perspective, he is the man saved.

— It is believed that up to 95% of requests for assistance coming from relatives of addicts. But what about drug addicts? It is not necessary to treat them violently?

— Not to say that drug addicts don’t come for help. Just their right to meet. Although not many Church centers, there is a possibility to take more people. When the parents come, we are working with them. The addicts because there are not only dysfunctional families but addict the whole family is spiritually sick. As a rule, if the family has a drug addict, people are afraid to talk about it, seek help — are afraid that they will look askance, they would lose their social status.

In our society against drug users is extremely negative. Many are set up to isolate them, to restrict rights, not to return into society. More likely for them to build a system of punishment and not the help system. If addicts start to look like the people in distress, not as criminals, then the attitude towards him will change and laws will appear.

Drug addicts don’t ask for help, because it expects to receive does not help, and in big trouble. In the end, we often addicts have already in the terminal stage, when you lose, they just don’t – there is not health, no family, no friends. It’s as if cancer patients sought help only at the fourth stage of the disease. But even these we often take out. — Weak secular centers, there is a good. There’s a faint ecclesiastical centers which had not yet had time to accumulate the necessary experience and is very good. Of course, not to say that all of our centers are wonderful, and secular useless.

But what in the Church centers there is use. We are also not enriched at the expense of drug addicts. Relatives are ready to sell everything to pay, just to pay for the treatment. We do not use, assist selflessly. But there are many centres where the interest in the drug purely commercial. Successful secular nonprofit centers are very few. Often they have more or less adequate, or the extortionate prices of treatment.

Not all of our centers are absolutely free, in some centers, the inmates pay for their room and Board. Since the Church is always ready to help those who have stumbled, if the graduate has a relapse of drug addiction, we are ready again to accept it. At least half of our patients eventually go into a stable remission.

— What is the particularity of a Church drug treatment? And why many, having a treatment in your centres, don’t want to go home and try to live closer to where they helped?

— Our centres are not closed, they are not cut off from society. Not one of them that students are not coerced, rehabilitation takes place on a voluntary basis. Being in the Church environment, people usually enter the Church. But here there is no violence, everything happens organically and voluntarily.

All the methods of rehabilitation can be attributed to four or five types. Using the world experience in this field, we at the same time, priority is given to methods of rehabilitation in the Church community.

Some taken in Church rules such as fasting can be useful in working with addicts. It is clear that learned to refrain from various treats easier to resist the craving for the drug, him out of my life forever.

Indeed, after treatment, many do not want to go back to their hometowns. This is akin to the monastic experience: usually, people take vows as a monk away from the places where they were born and lived. The fact that his hometown is much more difficult to start a new life, prevents habitat. And drug addicts after rehabilitation easier to live elsewhere. Even after returning home, they need to find new friends, new job, new Hobbies.

— Today, some Russian Orthodox Church representatives expressed that the state delegated part of its social obligations of the Church. Indeed, at times, the Church is better able to arrange help for the suffering. How do you feel about this idea?

— Still we have a secular state. This decision will cause strong resistance of many organizations, individuals. Should be clearly justified why the Russian Orthodox Church a priority.

Of course, we hope for the support of the state in rehabilitation of drug addicts. But you should try to avoid instead of helping small center was closed, for example, under the pretext of inconsistency drawn up by officials standards. The requirements for household living conditions, the meter may not correspond to our rural centres. Can also find fault with what facilities are located on the street. For me, better level of convenience than for her to die.

It is also important to resume the cooperation of the Synodal Department for charity with the State anti-drug Committee. Unfortunately, in collaboration with the government at this high level there was a pause.

— What are the main concerns for the Church.

The rehabilitation is free, so the material condition of our centers is extremely modest. It is also necessary to pay decent salaries to staff. We have no right good professionals to pay starvation wages, but often do not have the funds.

Another factor is we do not know how to advertise themselves, to boast of their merits. Society has developed the view that all good is expensive, and worthless cheap or free. Therefore, a successful Church centres, being almost or completely free, stand — people just do not have enough information about us.

In addition, there is our society one problem. In the Soviet time I went to one old woman in the car and stopped to buy her a gift of a melon. The seller, an Oriental man, gave us her gift, saying he cannot take money from the clergy. In his native village, and was unacceptable to the Confessor lived in poverty.

For example, in our diocese the priests live very modestly. They have large families, on average, every three children, but there were 10 or 11 children. And the income of the priests is tiny.

In the media about the good things almost never write, but a lot of information about what machines go a few priests. On the other hand, polls show that the rating of trust to the Church as an institution, is very high. Unfortunately, our media pricked to write about the bad. Now when I watch or read the news, find too much negativity.

There is always misbehavior, but why do they advertise? I think, actually, it’s not awful. When you study the information in the media, and then go out, then, thank God, see something else.