“I am”, a community of people with addictions, was established in spring 2009 upon the initiative of the priest Kęstutis Dvareckas and a blessing of the cardinal A. J. Bačkis. In 2010 the Community “I am” became a part of “Caritas”, an NGO of Vilnius Archdiocese. Today the activities of the Community “I am” include the programmes of rehabilitation, reintegration, family, raising awareness of the society and outreach to the parishes of Vilnius Archdiocese. Around 15-20 people with alcohol-, drug- or gambling addictions reside in the Community on a regular basis. The staff of the Community – a team of pastoral carers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and their assistants as well as volunteers – is able to provide the addicts and their families with an integrated help. An important part of the activities of the Community is an outreach to other parishes of Lithuania, communicating across the message that there is this possibility to get help both to the people with addictions as well as their families, and addressing the stigmatization of the addiction illness in the society.
The identity of the Community is based on the Christian teaching, which is an important part of life in the Community. We are open to all those affected by the illness of addiction and searching for help, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Recovery requires changes in the physical, psychological, social and spiritual areas of life. Therefore, the rehabilitation programme of the Community “I am” is based on the “Minnesota model” (named after the US state where it was first implemented in 1950s), which has proven its efficiency over time. The “Minnesota model” integrates the principles of the 12-Step programme, which is also the working base of the mutual help groups (AA, AN, AL, Al-anon), and the help provided by the team of professional pastoral carers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and their assistants. The participants of the rehabilitation programme of the Community are introduced to the 12-Step programme by the social workers, who have years of personal experience of leading a sober life and thus being a living proof of and a hope for a different way of life. The traditional “Minnesota model” consists of the 28-day recovery programme. There are, however, different modifications of this model. Based on the experience with working in the field of addiction illness, the Community applies an adapted 6-month “Minnesota model”. We are among the first in Lithuania to flexibly adjust the duration of the recovery programme on a case by case basis depending on the particularity of the recovery process and the personal situation of the recovering addict. The main requirement is to participate in the programme for at least 6 months. The confidentiality of the participants of the rehabilitation programme is fully ensured.
Acceptance procedure to the rehabilitation programme
Those wishing to participate in the rehabilitation programme of the Community can call +370 699 68409.
Over the phone one gets an appointment for the initial meeting, during which the needs of the person with addiction will be discussed as well as he/she will be informed about the rules of the rehabilitation programme. The person wishing to participate in the rehabilitation programme must:
- have taken a decision to change one’s life and be willing to recover;
- be sober for at least 7 days in case of alcohol addiction;
- be clean for at least 14 days in case of drugs / psychoactive substances;
- sobriety period does not apply to persons addicted to gambling.
Upon completion of the rehabilitation programme the recovering person with addictions faces new challenges, which can generally be called the challenge of the integration back to the society. As a natural step in the recovery process comes the safe transition to freedom to live differently, ensured by the rehabilitation programme. This freedom is exercised in daily choices, which are the responsibility of the recovering person. Among the challenges of this recovery stage are: making of a recovery-conducive daily timetable and sticking to it, renewal of the social contacts and learning to establish new relationships, looking for a job and building up financial comfort, etc. Thus an important help for the recovering addict is the professional accompaniment, provided by the reintegration programme of our Community. It ensures the follow-up to the 12-Step programme by providing the guidance of the social worker, participation in the psychological consultation support group and the building up of the life skills by living in the Community. A recovering addict may stay in the reintegration programme from 3 to 12 months.