Romania is known for being an important place of transit for the Balkan route of drug trafficking. At the same time, prohibited substances can be procured relatively easy, therefore drugs wreak havoc especially on young people, and there are only a few solutions.
I am 30 years old and half of my life Id been using heroin and intravenous drugs. Id been addicted to heroin for almost 20 years. I started injecting when I was 13. I had a rebellious spirit and I wanted to make a name for myself, I liked gang life and those took 20 years of my life.
The Teen Challenge organization offers support programs for addicts and currently has three centers in Romania. One of them is in Jimbolia, in Timis county.
I realized we needed a place where the people who came to the weekly meeting in Timisoara could stay. They were very open, but we still needed to take them out of their environment, the entourage where they were used to live their life in and to plant them somewhere else, where they could bloom eventually.
I met Beni Lupsa in Timisoara. I talked to him and he shared with me his dream of opening a center. I said: I want to be involved in this !
One year after the center in Jimbolia opened, two people graduated from the program.
When I entered the center and saw I was welcomed with love, the kindness and attention I was offered, I started to wonder. I said to myself there has to be something, knowing the persons in the center are ex-addicts, people like me.
I was hospitalized in a rehab facility. I came here after that. At first, I would sit down and cry all day long.
Teen Challenge has strict rules to be complied with by every beneficiary under the program. The program involves a lot of discipline, rules, things the guys coming to us are not used to. They have to wake up at a certain time, be on time, do their chores well...
We meet people where they are, we help some of them start over. It was very hard, although I knew I needed a change and I chose to accept all the challenges. I had a rebellious spirit, and I was a very tough person.
Young people choosing this program are physically and emotionally poisoned, theyre practically ruined.
My hands and feet were swollen and I ended up injecting drugs in my neck. My veins were completely destroyed, my whole body was ruined. I ended up in a terrible state. Nobody payed any attention to me, I ended up sleeping in building hallways, abandoned cars or parks, depending on the weather.
The spiritual component is decisive in recovering from addiction, making the difference between Teen Challenge and classical treatments.
The reason why the success rate in Teen Challenge is over 80%, compared to other secular centers, is due to our spiritual component.
I wasnt religious, but I knew about God. I called: God, if Youre real, help me get out of this and recover, or do something to end my life, to die !
I was wandering the streets, it was raining, I was drenched and it was cold outside. I said: Lord, what am I doing to myself ? I dont know what else to do, I dont know whose help to ask for, whom to go to, I took all treatments available in Romania. I went into all hospitals in Romania, I went to see different psychologists and with no avail.
Alex and Cristi confessed God alone restored their lives.
Beniamin Lupsa, Jimbolia residential centers director, says that beneficiaries need to stick to some principles upon program completion.
Firstly, we want you to have a strong, authentic relationship with God, to have emotional stability and, thirdly, to set standards of excellence for yourselves.
More news and stories from Romania produced by Alfa Omega TV here: https://alfaomega.tv/en/news-from-romania