Letter to the Wind and to Mr. Ragnar

From 2006 to 2008 – The beginning stage of engagement

We first came into contact with Mr. Preben and his associates in 2008, with a passionate desire about a treatment program for addicts that works.  Along with this was a typical concern about financial funding, which most of investors in this particular business in Vietnam usually come across.  How and where could we obtain sufficient funding to put together a facility that would meet the requirements necessary and appropriate for conducting the N.A program?  We absolutely had no greed in this matter except for the greed of carrying out that passionate desire of ours mentioned above.

Later on, we quickly came to realize that we must strive at our best ability possible to achieve that goal.  At that time, Mr. Preben – representative of N.G.O Fontana – has become willing to join with us for the mission of building a facility that would meet the standards and the spirit of the N.A program.  Unfortunately, we were not able to overcome the legal procedures and compromised with the law.  Mr. Preben had supported us with some materials (i.e.: equipments and funitures..etc..) under the forms of gifts and donations, along with the continuation of gradually forming that ideal environment concurrent with the philosophy of the N.A program.

From 2006 to 2008, we made rather slow and encumbering progress.  Besides having to deal with all the difficulties regarding the physical aspect of the mission, at the same time, we’ve had to come ‘tête-à-tête’ (face-to-face) with a more complicated challenge, that was: our lack of knowledge and experience with regard to the Twelve-Steps N.A program, and from Mr. Preben’s side was the inadequacy of knowledge and experience to adapt into the newly introduced society, along with its culture and traditions.  We had only heard about the N.A program at that time, never before had we have the opportunity to explore its depth.  One cannot understand about something just by hearing about it, especially with a subject as complex as the 12 steps N.A program.  As the result of this absence of understanding, we had not completely trusted about its effectiveness and success.  However, we decided to step forward, despite the obstacles and the vague understandings, just because we trusted at the Fontana’s past experiences, as well as its eminent reputation.  In addition, we also acknowledged that the N.A program has been indeed considered as the most effective one and being popularized in America and most modern countries throughout the world.

Our lack of knowledge and understanding about the N.A program, Fontana’s difficulty of adjustment into a new working environment and its accompanying matters, had sometimes created much obstacles and debates between us.  We both, time after time, had to resolve conflicts and adjusted our differences in order to step forward, shoulder to shoulder.

After approximately two years of operating this program, although incomplete, but has brought considerable success to many clients participated the program.  Most important of all was that we have come to understand the value of the program, as well as its depth and scientific characteristics.

The staff of our facility were also a major issue.  Most of them have not yet established a new attitude for working in such a modern environment, tend to archaically adhere to old principles.  They have not yet comprehended the philosophy of the program.  They response to things by natural instance – nature that has been imbedded deep inside their being for all their lives.   In the mean time…, we haven’t yet been able to come up with a specifically designed training program to educate our staff how to assimilate with this new working structure.

A rehabilitation center is indeed a community reduced, in which it includes all the basic needs of a person, of many persons, in very limited space.  Furthermore, a community of addicts is especially a unique one:  all the sexual matters, psychological issue, romance, relationships, beliefs, despair, and so forth….along with all the emotions of content, anger, affections, shame, remorse, self-pity, as the list goes on…, of a bunch of destructive and stubborn persons whose disease of addition has accumulated at alarming measure and caused them to seriously lose their balance of life, as well as their perspectives upon nearly everything.

Einstein stated that “energy never disperses, it transforms!”  In this case, the compounded negative energy of addicts transfers itself around and amongst the environment, and directly affects the staff of every departments, although we cannot see it by naked eyes.   They unconsciously receive this negative energy and become either stressful or aggressive.  “Liked frequency attracts each other and tend to travel at the same direction” as Newton declared.  The more this type of energy exposes and transfers itself around the more it would get support and become stronger by the joining of like energy from other entities/ addicts.  Everyone working for a rehabs center, from a person of high statue to one at the lowest position, all feel insecure and stressful, and never seem to have “happiness”.

When and will there be a way to neutralize this negative energy emitted from these participants?  We need time to observe and to experience.  We need to have a patient heart to endure until whenever we can gradually understand the root of the matter.  From understanding the root of the matter we will be able to solve the problem.  Not everyone who comes to work for a rehabs center would have this heart of patient and endurance.  In most cases though…it’s solely because they need to work to make a living, and not long after being employed they would find that they could not go on further.  For those who have the hearts of patient and endurance would gradually pass the most critical challenge and subsequently came to deeply acknowledge that: addicts are ill patients, extremely pitiful ones who especially need a lot of empathy (or sympathy?).  They are children; they are nieces and nephews; they are brothers and sisters…the more we understand the phenomenon of this matter the more we will effectively either neutralize or redirect this negative energy.

But that is only one issue, a minor one from the staff’s side. The working environment of a rehabs center holds a unique feature, and that unique feature is its generally combined characteristics.   A combination of characteristics is not just a simple ‘adding and subtracting’ matter, but rather a complicated equation in which it includes many different elements, for example: it would include health care department, education department, security department, work training department and so on…We must have an individual characteristic for each individual one.  If a rehabs center haven’t yet come up with a core and solid frame-work and policy then it should not be considered as a rehabs center as yet. The World Health Organization declared that: until the present time, curing the disease of addiction is beyond the grasp of medical science.  It only contributes 15% to the recovery process.  But that was only statistic value based on the contribution of medical treatment to the general population.  If there’s someone or some organization that exaggerates about the effectiveness of a drugs’ replacement (also called “drug’s antidote treatment” or “relapse preventive treatment” or whatever the name they might come up with) we know that this is untrue, and also should know that it has nothing to do with recovery.

Colorful façade, conspicuous displays of winning awards, regal security officers with handcuff and electric gun wiggling in their hands, along with all the commitments and promises….would never be able to touch or change the heart of addicts, except to make them become more tragic or more angry.

The core of the program is to metamorphose that negative energy right at where it evolves, gradually…little by little….until we can induce and ignite the source of positive energy, which every person always possess deep within their being, regardless how destructive their life has been due to addiction.  We commence from that point for it is the beginning point.

2009 – spectacular flowers of the 12- steps N.A program

When we finished establishing the Secondary Facility, specifically designed for the Twelve Steps program – NGO Fontana calls this facility “The Halfway House”- the treatment program has begun to  show obvious success, nearly met all the requirements and demands that the Twelve Steps Program called for.  The result was inspiring!  Those participants who have completed half-way through the program were transfer to the second phrase of the program, in which we put them through a period of what we called “The Employment Test”.  This is indeed one of the most important steps in the Program, which should render a more stable and solid ground for the recovery process of these participants.

Now-a-day, we have a load of work force of this type, originally emerged from participants of the Program, who are currently working at the Facility in various departments, ranging from counseling to security department, especially a group of NGO Fontana’s who are in-charged of spreading the Program wider to the population and passing down the knowledge and experiences to the generations to come.  These groups are growing stronger and deeper everyday, always reach out to get closer to being professionals in their fields.  Some of these members have gotten to attend seminars and training programs formed within the nation, such as Ha Noi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh city.  Addicts who have been recovered, turn around providing services and helps to those addicts behind, from the place where they had been germinated and grown, is also within the philosophy of the N.A program.

We look at these participants with the eyes of inspiration and admiration at the same time, like spectacular flowers (as of lotus) risen out of smudgy and slimy environment.  They are absolutely the walking testimony of our Program, certainly our pride, our success, and our honor.

It  is a vessel with various functions and miracles, which put addicts onto a journey deep within themselves.  It is like a meticulously sharp surgical knife, which they hold in their hands and operate no one else but themselves, taking them higher and higher until they could reach the horizon of recovery and success, of genuine peace and happiness, and of authentic liberation.

When reaching recovery, one would have another discovery, and that is:  Recovery does not mean the end of the story for it is a never ending process, always heading for freedom and development.  They will have to maintain intimate relationship with the N.A program and its fellowship, like a sword man who would never allow himself to be detached from his sword, like Achilles never lost touch with his ground.

Because it is a disease

Like those with diabetes who have to always intake medication regularly

Our medication is the N.A Twelve Steps Program
We congratulate and salute these flowers and their nectars with a reminder: Never Forget Your Precious Sword.

May 2010

Ha Dinh Nguyen

Note:  Mr. Ragnar is an expert and delegate of the N.A Fellowship, who directly popularize the N.A Twelve Steps Program at Lang Binh Minh Rehabilitation Center. Người dịch :Akex Lê Trọng Nghĩa

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