HOW DOES A DAY GO BY IN BILANI?
The general atmosphere in the house aims to remind of the atmosphere at home and the family habits. The arranged kitchen, the cooking, the fireplace and dining room are things that are immutable for the comfort of home. A structured, well run facility like that helps the program to provide better treatment. The program`s rules can also help in this regard and the participants are aware of them.
The daily routine in the house is full and diverse. It includes all the components known in the traditional centers for rehabilitation. The weekend schedules are a bit more different, they include later getting up and a reduced rehabilitation part.
The day starts at 8 o`clock, with getting up, personal toilet and breakfast between 8.30 h and 9 h. From 9 to 10 h there is a morning gathering. It is held every day, immediately after breakfast and it includes all residents as well as a member of the team. The group is structured in between 45-50 minutes and is held by the residents under the supervision of a consultant and a psychologist.
The gathering begins with a message which is read by a different person every morning.
After that, another resident announces the main points of the newest Bulgarian and world news. During every morning gathering one of the participants reads the day`s motto and every one of the group gives his explanation and understanding of it, as well as the emotions it provokes in him.
After that, the responsible people announce the day`s activities. This is followed by a game for exercise and a positive attitude.
The main goal of the morning gatherings is to put the beginning of the activities and for the day to start in a positive way, for them to change the negative social image in a fresh and elegant new way, to acquire clear picture of the group climate in the program.
Although the morning gatherings are a regular event, they have a special meaning because the day begins with some different stimulus or contributions – music, gymnastics, and dances. The residents, on the other hand, have never adapted to the routine of the everyday life and their lack of habits and discipline is perceptible in the life during the active addiction – they have been getting up at a later time, we can describe them as people of the night, with missing responsibilities towards themselves and others.
Those psychologically addicted tend to approach things with negative emotions – anxiety, lack of honesty, anger etc. The morning gatherings are a collective intervention which aims to catch up with the missing components of the upbringing.
The therapy through labor in BILANI is used actively as a form and method for restorative healing, where the boys step by step restore their past way of life. Labor appears as a natural biological stimulator. The learning and labor are important activities of the human life. Labor appears as a stimulus for self-realization, but it also influences in a good way the person`s health. In psychology it has long been known that depression can be overcome if one finds an occupation, a job to work hard on, to focus, to help him escape from the “poisonous” thinking, and to increase vitality.
For this and many other reasons, occupational therapy is a common method for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, in order to have beneficial effects on the psyche.
We believe that the addiction is a disorder of the whole person, whose recovery is happening with the application of different methods of treatment. The occupational therapy supports the acquisition or return of skills and habits that the person has lost the use of, because of the psychoactive substances.
BILANI`s program includes occupational activities which engage both the individual and group participations.
After the morning gathering end, there is a 15-minute break /for a “cigarette”/. This is followed by duties over the sanitation of the house. In addition to the cleaning and organizing of each personal space, every participant takes on some other predetermined tasks – cleaning of common areas, rooms, bathrooms and toilets, garbage disposal, arrangement of books and magazines in the library area.
The maintenance of the yard and the swimming pool is also within the labor-therapeutic activities and the purpose is for the participants to activate their skills not only in the learning of work habits, but also as aesthetic perception. So they are given the opportunity to be creative and to contribute ideas in the arrangement of alleys, the shaping of the paths and garden lighting.
While the daily duties in support of the house are undergoing, those responsible for the kitchen are cooking lunch according to the previously prepared menu. Our youth prepare the menu by themselves, they plan the needed budget and each day they cook varied and delicious food. In the kitchen a lot of guys feel like real artists and not by coincidence, most of them continue their education as cooks after the program.
Lunch is among the moments that bring everyone closer. A sense of family is created, while the planning of the budget for food prepares the participants in the program for their social skills later on.
During those activities they step in a variety of relationships with each other – there are happy and unhappy ones. Those conflicting situations are a topic for discussion during the therapeutic groups and individual sessions. After they are done with their responsibilities, they take a deserved rest until 13 h, in which time the accent is on the personal activities.
The first group that includes labor-therapy ends at 12 h, with 15-minute break /between 10.45 and 11 h/.
From 12 to 13h is the time for personal activities. This hour can be used for reading of a book or magazine, writing of letters or just for dreaming. During that time, the music lovers listen to music, and the chess enthusiasts give themselves to their hobby. Those who wish to discuss their state and the questions that arise while living in the community, can attend a psychological session. The conversations with the psychologist are confidential and take place only if the resident wants.
As we already mentioned, the lunch is part of the moments that bring everyone closer. A feeling of family and comfort is created.
One of the nice moments in the daily life of the boys at BILANI is the afternoon walk. It is held immediately after lunch, in the neighborhood and the areas around it. The aim is not only for health, but also psychological. In the times of active addiction, the general activities are ignored and the physical activities are avoided. That is why the walks are welcome component for the raising of social skills in the residents.
After a brief pause after the walk come the therapeutic groups. They have different subjects every day of the week, but their aim is to work on the causes that have brought the addiction, with psychological research of the attitudes and emotions. The studies are related to the behavior – the use of psychoactive substances and alternatives are sought which are experimented in life outside the house. As part of the long-term strategy, a special group deals with the prevention of a relapse. Because the addiction is defined as a “chronic relapsing disease”, we accept that the healing is possible, even with episodes of crashes. The role of the group for the prevention of a relapse is to interiorize in the client steps that they themselves can take, when high-risk situations appear – some that bring up the desire to use.
The accent is toward the focus groups which are a form of qualitative studies – questions are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, emotional state.
The second group is dedicated to different seminars – what is an addiction and co-addiction, the biochemistry of the addiction, and changes in the personality. Some seminars are prepared by the residents themselves and are a part of their personal development – they learn to talk in front of audience, to structure material, to prepare presentations – skills that can someday be useful for their independent life.
In the program there is also time for sport. In the spacious basement of the house there is an equipped fitness hall in which the boys can do daily training and this is also a part of their recovery process. In a separate building close to the house the boys can play table tennis. The hours for personal hygiene are after the groups, and the evening walk is often substituted with a game of table tennis.
The evening gathering is the last group gathering of the daily routine. It gives the feeling of completeness and again points to the sense of belonging which may have been disturbed by some event during the day. The closing is an element and instrument of the program that summarizes what happened and allows for the group members to look at the events of the day, outside the influence of the instant emotions caused by them. The closing of the day allows the group members to see how others perceive the events of the day. This greatly helps to detect the errors that everyone makes and to increase the efficiency of the stay in the program. It provides a brief analysis of the past day and discussion of the situations and emotions caused by them.
This is followed by a movie and getting to bed at 23 o`clock.