Ferdinand, 62 years old, is a client of Blue Cross Poland. He joined the Blue Cross Rehabilitation Centre after being released from prison. In October of this year, the International Blue Cross went to Poland where it had the privilege, amongst other things, of meeting Ferdinand. He kindly agreed to share his story.
“I’m Ferdinand. I’ve four children aged between 25 and 39. I’m divorced. My wife chucked me out of home a long time ago. I was an alcoholic. When I got up in the morning, the first thing I did was to try to get hold of a beer. Otherwise, I’d shake and sweat. Then I’d look for a job for the day. In case I found nothing, I’d go and beg. All the money I got, I’d spend on drinks. I finally had to go to prison because I didn’t pay child support, I just didn’t care.”
When Ferdinand left prison in 2006, he decided to quit alcohol. Consequently, his probation officer referred him to the Blue Cross Poland Rehabilitation Centre.
“I decided to quit alcohol because I didn’t want people to point at me or ridicule me anymore. And I wanted to get in contact with my family again. My wife and children refused to talk to me. I had lost everything because of alcohol, my wife, my children, and my home.”
Ferdinand has been staying in the Centre for five years now. Ever since, he has managed to live without alcohol.
“A lot has changed in my life thanks to therapists, psychologists, and other people who deal with such diseases [referring to addiction]. I found out what an alcohol-free life looks like! I feel safe at the Centre. I don’t have to live on the street. Also, I have reencountered my family. But I didn’t want to return home as they’d surely ask: “Why do you now come back home? I work in the Centre’s kitchen.”
Ferdinand takes active part in the rehabilitation activities of the Centre. Things are going well for him, and he has resumed school.
“Today, even when I see other people drinking, I don’t worry. I can walk freely in the street, look at others drinking. I can even go to my sister’s house where they drink alcohol quite often. I can stay with them but when there’s something unpleasant going on, I immediately leave so that I don’t get into alcohol-related rows.
Well, this year, in order not to think about my health and all the rest, I decided to go back to school as I need a secondary school diploma. If I succeed in getting the diploma, I’d like to continue and study at the ‘theological high-school’ – because I received a lot and now it’s up to me to help others!”
Blue Cross Rehabilitation Centre, Bielsko-Biala, October 2011
This project story is related to the project Blue Cross Poland Offers Care and Therapy to Former Prisoners and Homeless Men