…as Salvation Army hosts reunion
The Men’s Social Centre of the Salvation Army yesterday held an ex-clients’ reunion and fellowship, with the new members of its Drug Rehabilitation programme, their family members and friends affording some of the ex-clients an opportunity to express their gratitude for the assistance the Salvation Army had provided.
The counsellors of the programme noted that the Salvation Army had been helping recovering drug addicts since 1996.
Administrator of the programme, Captain Matignol Saint Lot, welcomed everyone to the reunion and noted that the significance of the reunion was in fact that the ex-clients of the programme had been able to live fruitful lives without turning back to drugs.
He said that the Salvation Army wanted to celebrate with them (ex-clients) and to show some appreciation that they had stayed clean, while encouraging them to keep up the good work. Saint Lot’s wife, Mireille Saint Lot, reminisced that when many of the ex-clients of the drug rehabilitation programme, who were at the reunion, had first entered the programme, they had left their families.
“They left their parents behind,” said Mireille, “and after some time, they started to call me mom, and they started to call Captain (Matignol) dad. They became our children. So today I can say that I am very proud of all my children.”
Some of the ex-clients of the programme shared their stories, and noted that their fight against their drug use had not been easy. They encouraged the present clients of the programme to keep fighting, and said that if they did, they would reap the benefits.
One of the recovered drug addicts, who was only identified as Geoffrey R, said that his first encounter with drugs started when he was 37. He said that he was married, had children and had a good job, but fell into an extra marital relationship, and the woman he had the relationship with introduced him to drugs.
“I think the first time I tried drugs, I was hooked,” said Geoffrey, as he explained that after some months of drug use he was beaten and broken. “I remember when I came into the rehab centre, I was wearing a green slipper on my left foot, and a left-side blue slipper on my right foot,” he said.
He said that he only had the clothes on his back, and had nowhere else to turn. He said that he remembered the constant struggle everyday brought. But after expending much effort to break his habit, Geoffrey said, “Today I am three years, six months and 28 days drug free.”
Chairman of the Advisory Board to the Salvation Army, Edward Boyer, paid special respect and tribute to the families of the ex-clients and the clients of the programme. He said that recovering addicts need all the support they can get, especially from their family members.
Despite this, he told the persons currently in the programme that whether or not they win their fight against drugs was entirely their decision, since everyone in the Salvation Army was trying, and they (recovering addicts) were the only ones who could decide whether or not they broke their dependencies.
“You need to make the effort to save yourself,” said Boyer. At the same time, Captain Sinous Theodore, explained that the Salvation Army is involved in many areas of social transformation, including education and rehabilitation. He, however, noted that the Salvation Army in Guyana, due to financial constraints, could not provide all of the programmes which the Salvation Army provided all over the world.
He made clear that even though the Salvation Army was a Christian organization, it does not discriminate in favour of religion. “Our main concern is that we love our fellow man,” said Theodore.
In addition, he reminded persons that since it was the time of Christmas, it also helped persons to reflect and think of what Christ came for, and the revelation he brought.
Theodore highlighted that oftentimes, serving with the Salvation Army was not easy, but he cited the Saint Lots as an example, and said that they were serving with the Salvation Army and despite the difficulty, they were happy.
Coincidentally, yesterday was the ninth wedding anniversary of the Saint Lots.
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