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Ukraine: Finding Comfort and Advice in a Forum

Upon first glance, the discussion board of the web-site Motilek.com.ua run by Ukrainian non-profit organization and Rising Voices grantee the Drop-in Center looks exactly like any other discussion boards: a typical interface with a list of topics to discuss. The main purpose of the board is that it unites people living with drug addiction, which makes it another alternative for citizens to have conversations about the topic.

Drop-in Center Activists

Forum members of the on-line community discuss the sometimes controversial issues affecting their lives, such as how to quit drugs without starting to use them again, and why it is so hard to accomplish that, which rehabilitation program to choose, health and employment problems typical for people living with drug addiction. Forum member Omela-X asked for advice in how to find a job for her husband who is a Methadone substitution therapy patient with HIV, Hepatitis C, and three imprisonment records.

Forum member Mazay believed that the best area of employment for such person is to work in a non-profit organization to help people in similar situations. Mazay wrote:

Однозначно – только в общественной организации. Для начала надо найти силы и какое-то время зарекомендовать свою “нужность” – быть волонтёром. Только так начинается трудовой путь у большинства наркозависимых, кого жизнь потрепала не балуй как…

 Я (к слову, имея почти весь набор перечисленных вами “регалий”=)))) , в 44 года пошел “стажером аутрич работника по обмену шприцев”. Через 2 месяца мне стали доверять самостояльно работать – менять шприцы на маршруте. 2 час дорога на работу и обратно, 2 часа работы и 2 часа на “собрания” – 16 грн./день . Этого хватало на проезд, хлеб, сигареты и банку килек. И я был счастлив. Потому что всегда есть,с чем сравнивать….

[…]

Банальщина, но свидетельствую – отдавая другим, ты обретаешь вдвойне…
Прости долги, верни долги и начинай с читого листа.

For sure he should go to a non-profit organization. At the beginning, he will need to make an effort and prove his usefulness – to become a volunteer.  This is a typical beginning of a new career for the majority of drug addicts who have seen much troubles in their previous lives. ..

I, myself (by the way, I also have almost the entire set of ‘regalia’ you mentioned) at 44 started as an outreach intern in needle exchange. In two month, I was trusted to be responsible for exchanging needles on a certain route. I spent 2 hours to get to the place and 2 hours to get back, 2 hours of work and 2 hours for ‘packing’ – 16 hryvnias for everything [$2]. It was enough to pay for the bus, for bread, cigarettes and a can of fish…But I was happy, because I had something to compare with….

[…]

It might sound banal but I can swear – when you give something to others, you gain twice as much. So forgive your debts, pay your credit, and start from scratch…

In the harm reduction section, the forum members discuss issues from how to live after completing rehabilitation to how to reduce harm to health if a person continues injecting drugs.

Here on the discussion board, friends and relatives of drug addicts can obtain firsthand consultations on how they can help their loved ones to get out of the addiction. Forum member Nasty posted a story that a few months ago her boyfriend became addicted to opium. Although the boyfriend claims that he quit drugs, Nasty has some concerns in this regards; she is afraid of HIV and her boyfriend recently became very rude, but she believes that if she leaves him, he will for sure return to the drugs. She asked the on-line community for an advice and here is what the community suggested.

Forum member SD posted:

Привет, соскочить реально, но в последующем удержаться сложно..((
Отчаиваться не стоит, если остались отношения, борись.. “нет” – меняй пока не поздно свою жизнь..
У самого были такие качели, во время самой спрыжки и движения, отношения идут на второй план..((
Помни, самопожертвование должно быть оправдано..

Hello, it is realistic to quit, but it is very hard not to start again. Do not be desperate, if you still have relationships, than fight, if not – then change your life until is not too late…

I also went through such swings, when you are on drugs or trying to quit, relationships are not a first priority…

Remember, self-sacrifice should be justified.

Forum member Gipertonik has another opinion. He wrote:

Если он говорит правду про срок употребления, то ещё не всё потеряно!!! Есть масса примеров кто проторчав меньше года, бросают это навсегда!!! А если он стремиться покончить с наркотиками, ты ему обязательно помогай и ни в чём не упрекай, а то что он срываеться на тебя это нормально, после этой дряни психика подорвана ( это со временем пройдёт) ИМХО если увидишь в далнейшем рецидив, бросай!!!

If he tells the truth about the addition then everything is still possible!!! There are many cases when those with a drug experience of less than a year quit drugs forever!!! And if he really is serious about giving up the drugs, than you need to support him and not to blame him, the fact that he is rude is also normal, this trash ruins the psyche (it will disappear with time) IMHO, if he will return to drugs in future – just leave him!!!  

The discussion board also contains a memory book where the community’s members post stories in memory of their friends who have passed away because of drugs.  Often the memory records mention young people who had just recently posted something on the discussion board.  This is how the community reacted on death of the member Fibi. After Fibi’s mother, who was also a member of the discussion board, posted that the daughter had passed away forum member Sweet Dream wrote:

Очень жалко фиби, она была первой с кем я здесь начал общаться, всё хотела к нам с Игорьком приехать да не судьба

I feel really sorry for Fibi, she was the first one who I met here, she always wanted to visit me and Igor, but, perhaps,  it was not in her fate

Forum member Zhdanov posted:

ЭТО ВСЕМ НАМ ТОРМОЗ .ВКЛЮЧАЕМ А ТО СКОРО УВИДИМ ФИБИ .ЗЕМЛЯ ЕЙ ПУХОМ

This is a sign to all of us to step on the brakes; otherwise we will meet Fibi very soon.  Let the earth be gentle to her

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