Impressions of a student about the Bonus Pastor prevention program
A recent event at Bonus Pastor has been a preventional presentation, given by our colleague known by his nickname of Gonzó, at the Bartók Béla Theoretical High School in Timișoara, at 25th of February. The interest was much greater than we thought, with about 100 present instead of the expected 20-30 students. Here are the impressions of Anita Szabó, one of the participating students. Notice her realization, that she and her friends aren’t at all so far from addiction. This reminds us of a knowledge about our sinful self, about the fact that we need conversion. Jesus also explains to the Pharisees: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Matthew 9: 12). Which doesn’t mean that there exist any people who are well.
“I was just running away from myself”
László Gergely (Gonzó), therapist, visited our school with three of his “sons”, as he is calling them, who participated in the rehabilitation therapy program and who told us about their dependencies.
Before the discussion, I expected a totally different effect of talking about the already hackneyed topic of dependencies since I understood that the ones who would be speaking about it have experienced it and it wouldn’t be a “don’t do this” speech, trying to convince the students. I have always thought that this topic was distant from me, and from other students. Why should we name our alcohol- and drug usage a dependency? This is the question I (and hopefully not just me) would answer differently, compared to how I would have answered it before the deepening of the discussion.
It was most of all the brutal honesty of the guys which captured me from the very beginning of the confessions. In fact, all three of them told us the stories of their lives and reflected on the circumstances which led them to search “sources of happiness”. They talked about three kinds of dependencies: drugs, gambling, and alcohol, some of them suffered from more than one at a time. During our discussion, I often thought: what a long road these people had to travel in order to be able to look this fully at themselves and to talk almost comfortably about the shocking experiences they went through…
My most astonishing recognition was that these things in fact are not so distant from us as we thought. A dependency has a lot deeper root than most of us think. From the stories that we heard, it seems that the guys’ dependencies also started with the most innocent attitudes of “let’s party and drink one / two / three… beers, so that we can relax and feel released, because that way everything is easier”. The problems and the “ringing of the bell” starts, when the goal is not to spend time with friends any more, but to drink. When I concentrate more on the contents of my glass and on “when will it hit me”, than on the person sitting next to me and talking to me. I have to raise the question again, are we far from these “light” seeming things?
At the beginning, the discussion wasn’t very interactive from our side, but most probably only because we were deeply under the effect of what we heard and we still had to “digest” it. From the moment the first questioners broke the ice, such thoughts became words in everybody’s case, that we knew that we never had the courage to talk about before, and it all became a cavalcade of questions and opinions. This fact demonstrated already that everyone would have something to reflect on in their own lives when they left –be it just a warning or a concrete experience. Because they didn’t focus on what was forbidden, they were able to show us how much it depends on us and on our true self-knowledge to be capable of keeping definite boundaries. Of course, sometimes we are not responsible for our family circumstances, but we are responsible for continuing the vicious circles that we ran into while fleeing.
The presentation strengthened me in knowing that the dependencies are only symptoms, which mark an emotional emptiness in our lives. The guys repeated several times, how their human relations were changed by the precipice they sank into, how they couldn’t place anyone or anything before their dependency on their list of priorities. But they also highlighted, that on their way out of trouble, it helped them enormously that they were in an intimate relationship, because they could rely on someone, and they knew that they are somewhat responsible for somebody and they are precious to somebody. In order to be somebody’s dear one, first we have to face ourselves with genuine honesty and recognize that is what we truly are.
A lot of things are still swirling in my head. I feel that the unwrapping and analysis of dependencies is so complex, as is the vicious circle we can run into because of them. So as an ending, I would only say: “Thanks!” ”