[Written as a report to LKNU (Health Agency of Nahdlatul Ulama) when accompanying dr. Atthobari, Fitri Nuraina, Putri Dyah M of PABM (Community-Based Addiction Recovery) “Fajar Harapan” LKNU DIY and some IDUs during a visit at PP Al-Qodir Cangkringan Sleman]Muhammad Yusuf Anas
Every time there is an addict who intends to join our therapy here (in PP Al-Qodir Cangkringan-ed.), I always ask, ‘Are you really have a strong intention to stop being a drug user or not? If so, let us together try our best. But, if you don’t, you better go home and keep on addict yourself to the death.
Am I too harsh? Well, I deliberately take such a firm stance, because strong intention is a crucial point in our treatment and therapy. As, in my opinion, any treatment given to drug users or drug victims would be in vain if they themselves do not have a goodwill and strong intention to escape the bondage of addiction they have experienced. Conversely, their strong intention will be enough to make them free from dependence on drugs, even though they are not officially join any therapy outside their home.
Many IDUs have tried to take a rehab abroad, but just because their lack of intent, they eventually relapse when they return to Indonesia. So, for me, the intention of IDUs to stop using drugs is an initial requirement for them to undergo our treatment here.
At a later stage, after these drug addicts have shown their strong intention to quit drugs and has officially become my students (Masrur Ahmad called each participants in his therapy with this term-ed.), then I will ask their drugs consumption dosage in the past. Let’s say a drug addict has a habit to injecting drug five times a day. Then, as a first step, I would ask them to reduce the amount of that consumption. Say that the first day they are here, I will tell them to cut it down to four times, second day to three times, third day become two times, and so on until they could actually stop.
Reducing the number of drug consumption is part of the therapy we provide here. In this stage, I am ‘adjusting’ the amount of their drugs consumption. Because, in my opinion, drugs only become a problem for addicts when they abandoning rules in taking it. And I strongly believe that everything that has no rules will eventually tend to ruin. That’s why I asked them to manage or even reduce the amount of their drug intake gradually until they are finally able to stop using it. In other word, I will never force them to stop suddenly. In fact, in certain cases, I had bought drugs for those who are still unable to control their addiction.
Meanwhile, I’ve heard that doctors are scientifically explained that one of the dangers of drugs is to undermine certain nerves in the brain. And I’ve also read a statement of medical experts that the nerves in the brain will rub against each other when we are thinking or dealing with the problem. In the case of drug addicts, the friction on their nerves, which were already weakened by the drugs, will trigger their desire to re-take those dangerous goods. I think this theory is true. Because there are times when I caught one of my students was re-using drug while undergoing therapy, and when I asked, ‘How did you relapse?’ he said that he was facing a complicated issue and eventually could not help himself. That is why from the beginning I am very concern with strong intention of addicts when they want to undergo treatment here. That is also the reason why I apply the ‘transferring method’ in my therapy.
‘Transferring method’ by which I mean is to distract students from their desire to re-taking drugs every time they felt so. For example, there is an addict that when he was tempted to retake drugs, I just asked him to drive a car for me. I use this diversion therapy because I believe he will be forced to focus on his driving task. And finally, when he was apparently still unable to control his addiction, and the car we were driving was adversely drowned at the river, I am very well aware that this is a plain risk of our therapy.
In essence, our treatment here is in desperate need of an active role of the students. Because of that, I also tried to change their desire to consume drugs with positive activities in many activities we provide, such as automotive repair, electrical repair, welding shops, agriculture, fish farming, cattle ranching, and carpentry. For those who like to work with motor, I will ask him to be active at the motorbike shop. If it really necessary, I will ask him to be an employee there. So it is with those who likes to fish hatching. I simply ordered him to go to the fish farms. The main point is I will keep try my best to help students diverting their negative desire to a more positive activities. I think this is one important step in our therapy here.
I must admit that I cannot guarantee the success of a student to stop addicting here will continue when he returned to his community. Therefore, I strongly suggest to every therapy participants that already able to escape drug addiction to start seeking a new and a more positive community. I even frequently asked their families to move town. And that is why I always welcoming students that relapsing in their bad habit. I will gladly accompanying them. And I also do not mind when relapsing student asked my help to issuing a certificate of rehabilitation if for example there is a relapsing student get caught by police officer when retaking drugs.
In addition, it should also be noted that, although our therapy is housed in an Islamic boarding school, our therapy is not a religion therapy. So, if anyone asks, ‘Are the therapy participants here had to be a Muslim?’ I will say firmly, ‘No!’, and I also explicitly stated that I have never and will never ask a non-Muslim therapy participant to convert to Islam. I once had a Christian student here and I just ask him to practice Christianity properly, for example by going to church on Sundays, and so forth. So, I say it again that the treatment here is not religious therapy.
Then, when someone asks me, ‘If it’s not based on religious law, then what is the basis of therapy here?’ My answer is our therapy based on natural law. What kind of natural law? Natural law that has stated that behind every pleasure there is trouble lurking, and behind every hardship there is ease that would accompanying.
In its application, I always emphasize to my students that if you are taking drugs that makes you feel good, please remember and be ready that adversity will ambushed at any time. Conversely, I also let them to know that if at the time of therapy they feel a hardship, I only ask them to remember that pleasure will soon adorn their hard work in abandoning drugs. I think this law of nature is applying universally and that is the main reason why I always try to make it as a cornerstone of my therapy here.