The main stages of the Charity's activity

1986 – Eugene Protsenko, a psychologist (and later «Old World» Christian Charity's Chairman and Program Director), after 12 years of work as a psychologist in various Moscow-based medical and psychological institutions starts working in one of Moscow addiction medical treatment clinic. Here he contributes to formation of group therapy with addicts, particularly to organization of one of the first in Moscow self-help groups.

1987-1988 – this activity proceeds in a new place - narcological dispensary №11 (near Varshavskaya metro station). Here the first team of future the Charity staff is formed. It organizes individual and group psychotherapeutic treatment, actively encourages formation of self-help groups in the narcological dispensary. Alcoholics Anonymous group «Renaissance» functions in the narcological dispensary for several years. Psychotherapeutic group for drug addicts starts functioning, where principles of drug addicts anonymous group therapy are introduced.

Then the Charity moves to narcological dispensary №12, where several members of this group form the first in Moscow drug addicts anonymous group. At the same time the team of future the Charity actively studies foreign experience in narcology. The first serious step in this direction is the contact with Polish colleagues, and after that, participation of E. Protsenko in the international narcological conference in Warsaw in 1988.

Representatives of numerous organizations from all over the world concerned with addiction therapy gather at the conference. There cooperation with many of these organizations starts, particularly with a Polish organization «Monar» and its leader Marek Kotanski, Italian organization Centro Italiano di Solidarieta (CEIS) and others. Afterwards delegations from these organizations come to Moscow on our invitation, sharing their experience in detail. Thus our team is provided with a stimulus to proceed in the same directions.

1989-1990 E. Protsenko (in the first group of Russian trainees) undergoes long-term training in the USA in several alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers. During this training he gets a thorough knowledge of The Minnesota Model of Addiction Treatment – the most effective approach of addiction treatment in the world.

1991-1996 period of cooperation with Fund «NAN» («No to Alcoholism and Narcomania»). The chairman of «NAN» - a young doctor-psychiatrist Oleg Zykov gets interested in our team’s work. He suggests organizing the department of individual and group psychotherapeutic treatment in narcological dispensary №12 (later the premises were given to Mary's House Charity). E. Protsenko becomes the head of the department, members of the team Nadezhda Moiseeva, Olga Dymova, Isaak London, Sergey Nikolenko become specialists in the department. Some time later new people join us, they are doctor Alexander Byrlakov, psychologist Inna Bausheva and many others. Psychologists, doctors, recovered patients, many trainees come to work in the department. Some of them later become managers and employees of well-known drug addiction treatment centers and programs in Moscow and Moscow region.

At the same time «Social Academy» is organized where E. Protsenko and S. Nikolenko teach. The twelve-month course includes theoretical lectures and seminars on addictology and Christian anthropology, as well as intensive practical work in groups, AA self-help groups and others.

One of the first initiatives of the new department staff was active assistance in creating Anonymous Alcoholics group on the basis of narcological dispensary. It still functions in the same premises («Cheremushki» group).

Since 1992 out-patient rehabilitation program «Old World» starts functioning and is active today. For many years this program was very intensive: its participants had sessions six times a week. For the last several years the program works in a supportive mode due to the opening of an in-patient rehabilitation center in Erino. 

1996 – we become a legal entity - the Old World Christian Charity is registered as a public association. The timing is just right because soon serious conflicting views between our Christian-based approach and official narcology become obvious. In order not to stop rehabilitation program and not to deny assistance to its 20 participants we have to leave the dispensary. That means we lose any financial support from narcological dispensary, the workspace, the telephone etc.

Unfortunately, under the circumstances, few specialists of the department remain devoted themselves to the common goals.

Only three or four specialists were committed enough to keep the program going in a rented apartment in Tsvetnoy boulevard which is provided by one of our graduates. To support the program financially other graduates form limited partnership «Old World» which, however, turns out legally incapable and goes into liquidation. As a result, soon only two specialists work in the program: E. Protsenko and A. Burlakov (who, notwithstanding all difficulties, worked for «Old World» for more than 10 years). Volunteers from graduates and their relatives come to help. Only their support has helped the rehabilitation program to survive through rough times and not to give up.

Since 1998 the charity works in various premises: the catholic cathedral in Malaya Gruzinskaya, «Pirogovskaya school» in Yakimanka, in Mary's House Charity in Remizov street, the Anglican church in Voznesensky lane.

2003 – we found a Rehabilitation Center (therapeutic community) at Pokrovskaya church in Erino village of Moscow region. We had the idea of this center for as long as «Old World» existed. But we’ve got an opportunity to come to its realization only in 1997 when the International Coalition of Cities of Refuge (ICCR) allocated us some funding. The funding was enough only to construct a basement and a building frame. Thanks to some other organizations (mostly from abroad) which knew and supported the Charity, we managed to proceed with the construction. The first rehabilitants took up residence there and carried on the construction and furnishing of the center. This process is still going on but, unlike the first comers, the present rehabilitants live in warm comfortable accommodation equipped with modern amenities.

Since 2005 the Rehabilitation Center has been functioning as a self-managed community, the Charity staff act mostly as coordinators and guides. Everyday life is regulated by norms and rules worked out over the years and by the community itself.

Nowadays apart from the rehabilitation the center runs also educational, organizational and methodological activities. In the nearest future we are planning to construct a new residential building and to convert the existing premises into educational, administrative and industrial one with rooms for lectures, groups and workshops.

Near the center we are planning to have a hostel for our graduates («Halfway House») where the charity professionals will help them to re-socialize. Construction of two houses with flats for the charity specialists are contemplated on the territory.

Since 2007 «Old World» has taken part in the program «Church against AIDS» which was started by the Round table on religious education and diaconia at the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. The project is realized with assistance of The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and financed by US Agency for International Development.

Under this project in 2007 the Charity creates Addiction and HIV/AIDS Resource Center with Hot Line Phone, regularly updated database and other essential information. The Resource Center had its site www.resource-center.narod.ru which is together with the Charity site www.oldworld.narod.ru transformed into a newly designed and extended site www.stsv.org. The aim of this project is to develop the church system of drug addicts rehabilitation and HIV/AIDS support in all regions of Russia. The main task of the Resource Center is to design low-cost or no-cost models of effective work with addicts and their relatives. These models could be reproduced in other Russian Orthodox dioceses and parishes creating similar information and coordination centers, hotline phones and rehabilitation programs.

In 2008 under the Resource Center project «Old World» publishes methodological media-handbook «Some practical issues of organizing parish work with drug addicts and HIV-infected». The handbook summarizes the experience of the Charity rehabilitation work over the years and contains plenty of textual, audio and video materials which can help to organize free help.

 

Since February 2010 we work in the parish of the church of Our Lady the Joy to All the Afflicted in Bolshaya Ordynka in Moscow. Not long before that Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk (Alfeyev) was appointed as the rector of the church. During many years of our work we had to give lessons, lectures, consultations to addicts and their relatives in different places. Being a non-profit organization we had no possibility to rent an office. We were helped by different charities and churches. We worked in private apartments, schools, Catholic and Protestant churches. Finally, after this long period of wandering we found Home in the Russian Orthodox Church to which all our specialists and many of the patients belong. Now our work is carried under the omophorion and with the blessing of Metropolitan Hilarion. Many of us have been under his pastoral care for a long time. We are very happy to be finally at home and have the opportunity to work in the God’s fields.