While drug addiction is spreading rapidly in Pakistan, treatment services remain highly deficient and not evidence-based. Relapse rates are very high (almost 98%). Many factors contribute to this including stigma, lack of psycho-social support and poor life skills. Inadequate follow-up and limited aftercare from treatment providers further undermines post-treatment recovery and reintegration. To address this gap, I used knowledge gained through my Humphrey Fellowship experience to launch the Recovery Club. The rationale for the Recovery Club came initially by Ms. Asia Ashraf through interactions with professionals from NA/ AA community. Focus group discussions guided my efforts to launch the Recovery Club, which we started at Sunny Trust, Islamabad in January 2017. The Recovery Club provides an open, free, safe and friendly space for persons in recovery to discuss their issues with peers and program staff over a cup of tea/coffee. They practice life skills and grow in their capacity to solve real-life problems. This in turn builds self-confidence and helps them strengthen their long-term recovery and successful reintegration.
Beginning with only 2 persons, the Recovery Club now has over 30 members. This affirms that recovery is possible when a recovery-oriented system of care and support is available. “Recovery Café”, and “Recovery Lounge” are our next initiative.