When you are chained by alcohol and heroin, it is not easy to hope and even harder to believe that a different future is possible. But sometimes it happens: after 10 years of addiction, Arben (false name) makes an attempt to start a therapy in 2013, but unable to take it any longer, he runs away a few months later. One year later, life leads him to knock again at the door of the Therapeutic Community Antonio Sciarra, located in Nenshat, a village with two thousand souls, situated in the province of Shkodra, Albania.
Arben was born in Durres. He is a very shy young man, whose only rebellion against his father-master was the oblivion he found in alcohol at first and in drugs later on. At present, at the age of 31, he has almost completed his treatment. With the passing of time, mistrust has given way to trust and step by step, Arben managed to fully realize his potential. He is one of the 10 young people involved in an ambitious project: they want to start a social carpentry, i.e., a job training activity open to the guests of the recovery community Father Antonio Sciarra, run by the Pope John XXIII Community in Albania.
This is the only recovery facility in the Balkan country: there are also other organizations working in the fields of prevention or drug therapy, but none of them has the characteristic of offering a personal psychological and human journey to drug addicts. In Albania, the scourge of drug use and abuse is growing. But we ought to mention and put on the same level also the problems gambling and alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, the ongoing changes along with the growing influence of the Western way of life after the fall of the socialist regime, has favored the upsurge of the negative aspects of the global society in this place. Drug use and abuse has significantly increased among young people. Moreover, some Albanian young people try to treat their inner discomfort and fill their existential voids by taking refuge in gambling, drugs or alcohol.
Toni di Loreto, from Teramo, a missionary in Albania since 2013, is in charge of the Therapeutic Community Father Antonio Sciarra together with Zelco Tadic, who is from Mostar. ‘‘In September last year, a few young men opened a carpentry course’’ Toni explains. “For three months they have been learning how to draw furniture, then, in December they started working in a carpentry shop located 20 km away from our house, where they had the opportunity to make practice. This activity is managed by a dear friend of ours, David Nenshat, a well-known carpenter who has numerous customers also in Tirana. He was the one who taught our young men. It is a very nice collaboration. We continue to send young men to his carpentry, so they can learn the craft: then, the best ones realize a work in our carpentry.”
Arben has been enthusiastic about this proposal from the very beginning and has learned more than anyone else. At present he is following our social carpentry. He realized that moving back to Durres, his home city, would not help him to build his future. His goal, which is the same of the operators who accompany him on that path, is to get involved and become an important figure in woodworking. He wants to commit to it, so as to obtain a job that will allow him to earn a salary and guarantee his own independence.
Taken from Always