THE life of a former drug addict is akin to walking a tightrope, as it is quite easy to fall off the straight and narrow path.
“It takes one who has been there to know what it is like, and the days when I was on drugs were the worst of my life,” said pastor Richard Lee.
It has been some 20 years since Lee turned over a new leaf, but he continues to live on the fringes of the drug-fuelled world — though in a different capacity.
Lee is one of the key persons running Kenosis Home, a drug rehabilitation centre with eight locations, including one for women only.
He said one of the key principles of the home was to only take in addicts who showed sincerity in wanting to kick the habit.
“Our two-year programme involves three main phases.
“The first is mainly about building rapport and gaining the trust of the addicts, before we move on to addressing their addiction.
“We also try to get them to think about their future and what they want to do with their lives,
“Once they show progress and are ready to step out into the world again, we help them get jobs or start businesses. We do as much as we can,” he said, adding that life at the home was about discipline, which goes some way in helping the addicts stay strong in their resolve to kick the habit.
Lee said the programme was deemed successful only when the former addicts remained clean for as many years as they were in the centre.
He also said 60% to 70% of funds used to run the centres were provided by former addicts who now own thriving businesses.
“One of the key factors in ensuring their success is the support they get.
“Many families find it difficult to accept these former addicts back, fearing the possibility of heartache and suffering all over again. Some eventually do accept them. This is why centres like this are good, because we will always be there for them,” he said.
Kenosis Home, with the help of the Samaritans Ministries under the Trinity Methodist Church and YMCA, also organises a soup kitchen every Saturday afternoon in Brickfields, where you can see former addicts serving the poor, the homeless and addicts.
“We also go to the riverbanks in the city on Thursdays, where there are more addicts. I see this session as going ‘fishing’, whereby we befriend them, gain their trust and when they are ready, we ‘catch’ them and the centre will help them get clean,” he said.
Lee believes there is plenty of potential in the home.
“In five years’ time, we expect to see a surplus of funds, which can be used by other ministries for their work,” he said.
Kenosis Home is one of two organisations — the other being the Penang Heritage Trust — that will be receiving proceeds from the sale of Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai’s book Penang’s History, My Story.
The book is available at selected MPH and Popular bookstores. For enquiries, call 1300-88-7827.