The 17th session of Sanlakbay Program was held last August 11, 2017 at the Formation Center of St. John the Baptist Parish at 3:00 pm. Under PCP4, it was attended by 7 drug surrenderees from Corazon de Jesus, 4 from Isabelita and 5 from St. Joseph. From PCP5 there were 5 drug surrenderees present from Progreso, 1 from Balong Bato and 2 each from the barangays of Salapan and Rivera. The total drug surrenderees present were 26.
It was the second day of Gabay Counselling for the drug surrenderees which was facilitated by Dr. Cesar Bien. The day started with a welcome remark from Ms. Melinda Eli, Sanlakbay team head of SJBP, followed by prayers of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be in Tagalog.
The papers with answers of the drug surrenderees regarding the questions on the short documentary video by Ogie Alcasid were passed to Dr. Cesar Bien last week. Before the session, he read and reviewed them already so he could have a bird’s eye view of the lives of the drug surrenderees. In a circle formation, he communicated with them by asking the questions how are they, what’s keeping them busy, how long did they stop using drugs, what were their learning experiences, and so forth. He also asked the “kalakbays” if they were able to write down their answers daily in their take home assignment called the “Learning Diary.” Dr. Cesar Bien asked them what their struggles were during the week as they were striving to change their way of life. Through the counselling, the drug surrenderees will be able to discover themselves, their strengths and weaknesses, their problems, their outlook in life. He reminded them that they must continue with jotting down their answers daily in their learning diary. Additional homework was given to them by enumerating in the answer sheet as follows: 1.) What are the things I would totally give up in my life? 2.) What are those that I would only partly surrender? 3.) When will I start to avoid and eliminate the things that are harmful to me? 4.) What are my strengths that I will use in order to overcome my addiction?
Dr. Bien told the kalakbays that they have only one life to live. There are many solutions to their problems but the difficulties and hardships are always present in their midst. They were told to use the traffic light—stop, continue, start. They should stop using drugs, continue to have hope in God that they will win the battle within themselves and start now by renewing their lives through active participation in the sanlakbay program. He also told them that it is natural for people to be weak and even their will is not that strong but when the root cause of the problem was already identified and then they totally surrender everything to God, peace will reside in their hearts which will strengthen them as they journey from slavery to drugs going to the path of freedom doing the will of God.
After a two-hour discussion with the drug surrenderees, sister Vicky Reyes led the closing prayer. Let us be steadfast in our prayers and sacrifices as we continue to ask God’s help that our kalakbays will have a strong determination to avoid evil, decisiveness to put order in their lives by dedicating their time, talent, treasures and testimonies serving God and others.
“Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.”—-Proverbs 27:12
“The peace that Christ gives is to guide you in the decisions you make; for it is to this peace that God has called you together in the one body.” —Col.3:15
“Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.”— Hebrews 4:16
By: Malou Evangelista