When a person struggles with alcohol or drug addiction, substances often become the person’s only means of feeling pleasure or contentment, both physically and behaviourally. The goal of addiction treatment and rehabilitation is to help the user once again receive pleasure and enjoyment from everyday activities, without the need for substances.
The target of the project “MUCH MORE” is to develop and test new approaches and techniques by combining art therapy, practical healthy nutrition and cooking classes with physical activities in order to maximize the physical, mental and emotional wellness of these men. Physical activities can be a great way to relieve stress, anxiety, frustration and anger. They also allow people to reconnect with hobbies they enjoyed as a child, or discover new “healthy obsessions”.
“I consider that all the workshops are useful but especially I prefer healthy cooking classes. Information received makes me understand that people in Latvia do not eat healthy. They consume too much food which could be substituted by other products. I really have got to know a lot of new information. Also art therapy classes are attractive. I got to know some instruments that I did not know that they even exist!” says Romans, Riga.
“I prefer most of all physical exercises” emphasizes Eriks and tells that he and his “peer group members” at the rehabilitation centre “Nova Vita” (Riga) have serious attitude towards sport. Through physical activities they learn to understand that people need to move and be active. At the same time he admits that the trainer is strict and requires that the tasks are carried out exactly in the manner they are demonstrated. And it is not easy at all. At the same time Eriks also adds that he has learned some new exercises which he tries to do in the mornings by himself.
The trainer of the group Agrita agrees that it is not an easy task for her to plan physical exercises for this special target group because “these men are so different - some are very weak, some are stronger, their degree of strength is so different. And this is understandable because of their past experience with alcohol.” During physical activity classes she explains the benefits that come with any type of exercise.
The Project tries to support these men as much as possible. New t-shirts, gym bags, water bottles and cups are those small things that might provide enjoyment, satisfaction, self-esteem and in a long-term help finding new ways to fill their time.
By Aija Vecenāne, City of Riga Welfare Department