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Personal Stories

Roger and Sanna’s story

Roger and Sanna
We came to Basta after a twelve-step program that we had done separate from each other. We had jointly decided to become drug free. After the twelve-step program, we were reunited at Basta. Sanna came just before me.

She thought it was scary to come all alone to a completely new place, but it felt better when she started working in the stable. She felt well received and also felt at home with the horses, despite the fact she hadn’t been working with horses for a long time.

I had a leave from prison and had the chance to go see Sanna at Basta (before I was allowed to move there). I felt very well received, and everyone greeted me with open arms. It felt like I belonged there, and I missed it as soon as I left. Two weeks later I moved there.

I came to Basta on a Friday and started working on the Monday. I was working at Basta Construction and my first job was to redo a rooftop. Me and Sanna both felt that it worked really well to combine the twelve-step program with Basta. Sanna had started taking drugs already in her teens, but myself I was almost 30 before I became a drug abuser. Before I had also worked some. We had never known each other without drugs before we came to Basta, so it was a little nervous thinking of how the relationship would turn out. Pretty fast we found each other and the feelings were still there!
Sanna was worried that she would do something wrong at work in the beginning. But she felt she was needed and that the work was meaningful and it was mostly fun to go there. But sometimes it was hard. The manager in the stable was going through a rough interferon treatment and was not always easy to deal with. ”If I can I cope with this, I can cope with most things” she used to say.

After some time I started working with the building and property maintenance team, since I had done similar work before. Through working I came in contact with others within my field that I learned a lot from, and I felt that my interest in my field was reignited.

Sanna had always dreamt of working with children, and with her job in the stable she got the chance to do so since the stable also arranged camps for children. The only work she had had before Basta was as a trainee in a store for a short while, so her experience from the stable became invaluable for her.

I had developed really bad teeth after years in drug abuse, but when I came to Basta I tried to deal with it and managed to get them better. To be without teeth is not that fun so to fix them was a really big lift for me. Another thing that lifted me was that I learned to use computers for the first time. Basta had a computer room where I took my first steps on Facebook, and I learned more and more with the help of my friends.

It can feel a little isolated at Basta since it is situated far from any big town, but right then it felt like something positive. There is always someone to talk to, and even if we were two, it is always nice to be able to be social with others if you feel like it. You didn’t have to rush it to leave.

That thing that you are allowed to stay as long as you want to is good and that you can grow knowing that you can stay. We got an offer to move home to our home municipality just after four months without drugs, but we didn’t dare to go for that option. We were simply not ready. It takes time to rebuild yourself again.

The foundation we built at Basta was really good and after exactly one year and three days we moved back to our home town. First we stayed in a shared housing through the municipality, and after a lot of work we got a second hand contract in the town where Sanna’s son lived. Sanna had had visits and contact with her son during our stay at Basta and the goal was to have him move in with us. We were open with our background and got a lot of rejections when we looked for apartments, but on the 25th apartment…. we applied for we got a ”yes” and Sanna’s son could move in with us.

Sanna starting working on her grades at night school, and I started working with my father with green areas maintenance. And life was working. Sanna’s mother had not wanted to see Sanna when she was active with drugs, but now Sanna was starting to miss her. In the end we moved into town where Sanna’s mother lived so they could start healing their relationship. And Sanna’s son moved with us. Now we are working on building good relations and everything gets better day by day, with Sanna’s son, between Sanna and her mother, and between me and my father, with whom I had had a bad relationship with during my drug abuse. He can now even call me to ask for advice, and that feels pretty good. Now we have been a family for a while.

If we have any good advice for others that want to quit a drug abuse, it is that it’s important to have something meaningful to do, a work to go to. It’s also important not to rush things. Take it easy, it takes time to find yourself again. The most important thing is a sustainable recovery.