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In the early 80’s the Archdiocese of Bombay responded to the call of Healing the Addict. A role model of a Recovered Addict, who almost became a legend, was Russel Pinto. With the help of Fr. Ronald Braganza, he began a Treatment centre called Seva-Daan on the mezzanine floor of Mt. Carmel’s Church. Within a year or two, another Recovered Alcoholic Ossie, also began working on the street cases of Addiction. Bandra was known for not only the growing menace of Addiction but also there were many groups functioning as Gangs and Chapel road was the place for such regular fights. It was with the three patients of Aasha-Daan of Mother Teresa’s Home and the many street addicts that Kripa was born. The then Municipal Commissioner Tinaikar responded to the plea of Herbert Almeida the retired IGP of Imphal to use the temporary structure behind Mt. Carmel’s Church for the purpose. After the new Church this structure had to be demolished. However, as a special favour Tinaikar granted the use of the Annex only if it was to be utilised for the Recovery of Addicts and Alcoholics.

From that humble beginning, both Kripa and Seva have served in the field of Addiction and have been the longest partners of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Government of India. While Kripa Foundation grew exponentially all over India and spread out into ten countries in collaborative projects, its special component, Kripafoundation Iyengar Yoga™ has spread in over forty countries. Seva-Daan meanwhile set up a facility in the remote village of Dahanu. A couple of years ago, in a joint venture with Kripa and Seva we introduced a model of Recovery that would help marginalised people find their “original Blessing” through the love and care of the Environment. With the fertile land and ample water, the Addicts have deeply experienced the love of the Earth and the flora and fauna to become a source of income generation as well as grow organic vegetables, rice and other fruits both for the Kitchen Table and for the nearby villagers. Both Kripa and Seva are Church based Rehab Projects and emphasise the spirituality of the Twelve Step Programme. The common factor of the healing process is the principle that ‘the commonly shared vulnerability empowers the Human being”. It is the model inspired by Mother Teresa that has helped us to be witnesses of the Gospel. As Pope Francis said that it is now time to get out of our Churches and reach out to the marginalised.

However, many prefer to keep to the comfort of rituals and church services and fail to fulfil the Pope’s call. For them such work has even become an embarrassment and sadly they even obstruct such initiatives. Little wonder that the Government and the Global Organisations keep acknowledging this work and invite us to set up this model of addressing Addiction. Recently there was a call by Lord Clive in the House of Lords of the British Parliament, who proposed setting up Kripa in the UK.  This proposal was made since the recovery rate has dropped drastically in the West. However, the method of Eastern discipline used in Addiction recovery has made a big difference in prevention as well as recovery of the afflicted and Affected of addiction and addiction related ailments such as HIV AIDS.