ASTANA – For alcoholics, addicts and disadvantaged persons, Betel KZ offers a chance to return to a normal life. The organisation provides opportunities through a kind, home-like environment and cooperates with state and private companies. Services are free and treatment is based on workshop activity and interaction with those who were once in the same situation.
“What happened to me does not happen instantly. Everybody wants an instant miracle. You are looking for help, you expect that someone or something will help you and you will be free of the disease and pain,” said Aidos, a 41-year-old former addict.
Betel KZ strives to be financially independent. Patients manage a household and work in small construction teams, learning how to erect and repair industrial buildings, houses and apartments. The skills help them reintegrate into normal life and get a job in the future.
“My life was very similar to the lives of the other boys, whose parents paid great attention to their education, trying to give the best to their children: honesty, integrity, respect for elders and good manners,” he recounted in an interview for this story. “My father, an honest Communist, wanted me to become an architect after his business trip to France. He dreamed that I would build the Kazakh version of the Eiffel Tower or the Notre Dame Cathedral.”
“But everything went into oblivion. In 1990’s when racketeering and theft were very popular, I was good at making well-prepared documents and all kinds of scams. In 1992 I went to prison. My family was shocked. After the prison term, I became addicted,” he said.
Many patients, who were successfully treated three to ten years ago, have decided to devote their lives to the organisation and help others return to their normal lives. The main idea is to provide moral standards and healthy habits for the clients. The Betel KZ administration believes patients must solve the problem of brutality through complete soul searching.
“My height is 1.9 metres and I weighed only 59 kilogrammes. It is terrible to think about my health! In 2001 I had an overdose and my mom asked me only one question, ‘Where are your friends?’ The truth is that all my friends were already dead,” said Aidos.
After reaching his lowest point, however, his life has turned around.
“As a result, my wife and I divorced in 2009 and I started a new life in Astana. One day I was told that there is an organisation in the city which really helps addicted people. Betel KZ helped me, but I have lost so many years. My past years are gone and I can’t get them back, but I have a future and I have hope. I returned to my human dignity, sensible view of life and relationship with my family. My heart finally found peace!” said Aidos.