Help one: how a Ukrainian returns to life of drug addicts in the USA
Sergey Volyansky created a successful home renovation company. He hires people who, like he once, managed to give up drugs. He helps them undergo rehabilitation and teaches the craft. He told his story Voice of America.
I come across this every day. In America, this is a huge problem, this is an epidemic - with 82 mortality, thousands of people a year. I know that I can’t change the situation as a whole, but I try to help and help individuals.
I came from Ukraine in 2001 year. Parents took my brother and me to America, trying to solve the problem in which we were already at that time - drugs, alcohol and everything connected with it. Somewhere in 10 in the company of senior comrades I got drunk for the first time. After some short time, I tried marijuana. Pills, pills - everything that could affect my brains, I used everything I could find. At the same time, he ran away from home, because at home this could not be done. I have a very good family. I was born and raised in a Christian family, my father is a priest. But I did not see anything interesting in this, so I went outside, where it was interesting. From 13 to 17 - to get drunk, fight, drives to the hospital, the court - all this did not scare, but gave life an interest. I felt unpunished for several reasons. I realized that any moment in Ukraine at that moment can be solved with money and my parents can decide it.
In these years, they were the hardest for my mother, they brought her a chair on the porch, where she sat at night and waited for me to come, they would bring me, or they would say that something had happened to me, or they would come and say that I killed someone. It was very painful for her, she plucked her nerves. In the 15-16 years, I knew that I would live the maximum until 30. Dad left everything there, and we went to America.
My parents got a visa as religious refugees and transported us to America in the hope that something would change here. Moving to another country, new people, new interests, new friends - perhaps this will affect us and we will change. I was 18 years old and in the USA I met heroin and crack.
Everyday routine was like this: got up, pricked, went, stole something, sold, bought drugs, injected, went, stole, sold, bought. And it is every day. So I got seriously addicted. I struggled with this all the time, I sewed 5 times. And my brother fought. But we understood that we would be drug addicts. That there was no breakage and there was always a minimum supply - around this we built our life. No one could offer an exit. We tried methadone, but we knew that it was even harder to get off it than heroin. I knew only one person in my life who won heroin addiction.
Once, my mother read a story in a newspaper about a man who was a drug addict, and next to him was a pastor who took him to his rehabilitation program. He went through the program, moved to America and opened a rehabilitation center. Mom already knew that it was almost impossible, but when she saw the story, she said: either you go to the program, or go away and live your life in another place. I went there and did not leave the next 3 years.
When I got to the center, there were 15 drug addicts who were still injecting yesterday, today they are healthy, they go, they clean me, they wash my clothes, they bring me tea, they feed me, I don’t sleep 2 for a week and they don’t sleep with me - so that just help me somehow. It really affects you. You understand that you are nobody to them, they are nobody to you, and they rush about with you, like with a native. This program was conducted by Alexander, he lived in this house with his wife and daughter, at this moment their second daughter was born. When you go through withdrawals, it’s a terrible depression - but when I went through it there, I didn’t have depression. I felt something very good inside, calm. I really love children, and this little girl came to me every day and sat in her arms. I can’t convey what I was experiencing at that moment. Probably only thanks to her I was able to go through these two weeks. Children - you can’t deceive them, they strongly feel adults, when adults feel bad. Maybe she felt it.
After 3 of the month I began to help new guys go through the first, most difficult days. Six months later, I decided that I would stay and work as a volunteer in this program. I worked in the rehabilitation of 2,5 of the year.
14 years I am - clean.
I analyzed, talked with the leaders of various programs, asked about the percentage of people who do not return to drugs. This percentage is from 2% to 5%. This is very small, for the enormous resources expended, money and effort ... People who have been using 5 for years, they were all on some kind of program and they did not succeed. They no longer believe in these programs. Therefore, it is important for me to convince a person that I can help him. So I know that I will have nothing in this life, and suddenly someone says to me: “Why did you get this? Someone deceived you that this will not happen. You have been deceived by society, television, thoughts, friends, parents - no matter who. You should not live like that, you were not born to be a drug addict and die under the fence to suffer. When you were born, did you dream about something? You didn’t dream of becoming an addict and an alcoholic. ”
When in my city every week there is a funeral among the Russian-speaking population, and I know many personally, everyone is silent - everyone is ashamed to talk about it. The need that exists today does not allow me to sit still and watch the young boys and girls of 18-20 dying left and right overdose for years. It is necessary to help one. Do not need millions and the whole world. Help at least one. He will help the next one, because he also learned this motto. And the next one. And you took someone else. And around you there are people who should not live, but they are. This is a miracle.
I did it, look at my life. If I succeeded, you will succeed.
Our program is a non-profit organization. We are helping people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. The foundation of our program is the Word of God. The program exists for a year and a half, my brother came up with it, I finalized it with it. It is called Exodus US.
There are 3 of the main features on which addiction in a person rests: it is irresponsibility, impunity and the fact that everyone owes to a person. If these things have not changed in a person in the process of recovery, rehabilitation, he may stop using drugs, but he will live on as a drug addict. The place that was filled with drugs and alcohol cannot remain empty. In order to help a person so that he can become free, he needs to change his routine and habits. This circle is so addictive that in order to break it, you need to put a person in a rehabilitation center - sometimes you need 2 months, and sometimes up to a year to stop. Then you can build new on this - this is what we are working with, on which I focus. If he changes this, I can guarantee 99% that he will never return to drugs.
The first stage takes place in Screnton. There are 7 girls and 6 guys. This is a house where guys who have problems live and help each other. They are engaged in moral, psychological, spiritual work - as a rule, this is a pastor. He decides whether a person is ready to go or not. I am preparing a workplace for him, taking it to Philadelphia - we have two houses there, but they are already filled, perhaps we will expand.
There are conditions that I discuss with each person before he moves on to the second stage. You can not smoke, use drugs, drink alcohol and have sex before the wedding. If he cannot cope with one of these things, he is obliged to go to 4 of the week for the first stage, but for this first stage he already pays 500 dollars from his money. It happens - he fell, could not restrain himself, the temptation was too strong, he has two options: to agree with me or to go to the first stage, or to go home.
The second stage in Philadelphia today is 11. They also live together, they are obliged to go to work - the initial salary of 15 dollars per hour, mainly construction. I am looking for other options, because not everyone can do construction work. I give them work, I train them in the process of work skills in 3-4 directions in construction. I have professionals who work for many years, I introduce these guys to them - and they grab the skill. We are engaged in different types of work. When the 3-4 of a species is mastered, it can depend on no one to find a job anywhere. But while he is on the program, he is obliged to work, study and develop. Absolutely freely, they can ride, walk, go to gyms, chat, meet girls and boys. They are free in their movements, but the only thing I control is money. But they pay for themselves - they work, learn to handle money. They learn that it is much tastier to buy products in the store and cook, than to go and eat it is not clear what in a fast food restaurant.
They never did it, they never lived like that. As a rule, they all ate at fast food. Now they are starting to think, because I give them a certain amount for a week. They earn money, take as much as they need for accommodation, and the rest is deposited in a savings account. They can pick them up at any time, but I help them in this way to collect a sufficient amount of money, because basically they do not have documents, certificates, there are problems of a criminal nature that need to be addressed - lawyers, courts, fines. They themselves restore what they have done in the past. And in the future, when they solved these issues, the money goes to buy a car, for example.
Ideally, what I want to see at the end is a person who, in the process of recovery, adaptation to the social sphere, met a girl or a guy, started a family, at the exit they have money for housing, have a profession, work and good earnings, there are friends, society and a chance for a completely new life. In this form, we work.
A completely destroyed man comes, you understand that everything in his life is long over: he is still alive, he still walks, but inside he has a scorched desert. And after some time of my work, his work, the efforts of the group, you look, and in his soul, instead of desert, flowers grow. He breathes deeply, smiles, enjoys life, strives for something, he has goals. After some time you look - his children were born, he is dad! When this happens before your eyes, you understand that even if a small part of it is yours and without you it could not have happened, it brings such satisfaction ... I don’t even know what to compare with. Even work and making money do not bring me such satisfaction. When I see such stories, I see these people - I am very happy.
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