Timea Kiss-Lukasik is a social worker, firstline practitioner of the Radicalisation Awareness Network, storyteller. She shares her recovery story with very deep sincerity, as well as her 15 years long experience as a mentor in therapeutic communities. She is leader of theatre-therapy workshops, working in adventure-therapy (rock-climbing) and teaches about it on the Special Education Faculty of ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary.
She was one of the speakers at the Face to Face conference - Aprl 26-27, 2018 - https://www.pdcs-conference.sk/
Q: Why did you decide to work with such an unpopular target group – drug-addicted youth? A: Luckily, I can say that in the last 15 years it changed a lot and I’m not the only one who can say that I came out from my own drug addiction and I used the experience of my recovery as an experience professionally. Of course, I also finished studies but, honestly, [the thing I use most] is not what I have learned from the books, but from my life experience and also from my therapy in a treatment centre.
What I took away, maybe, from people when I was a junkie (and I did many bad things) was that I can give back something good. Not for them, but maybe for their children.
Q: Should we as a society help people who voluntarily get into addiction? A: Sometimes, it’s not an easy answer. But I think I do not want to change everyone’s mind. If somebody’s really open to listening to my answer, then I can say that “Hey, man! Can you imagine that these youngsters, if we put out the drugs from their lives, just for one day or a few days or for a week, they are just the same as any other youngster? I mean, they have the same crazy things, and the same dreams…” Drugs [are] something, like a decision. It’s something that happens in their lives, it’s a part of their lives, but there are youngsters (or not only youngsters, I can say people) who have very accepted addictions – I don’t know, sitting in front of the computer all day, or with the smartphone in their hand, or addicted to something else. And then we don’t care because it’s not so ugly or not so dirty as drugs.
So, I think we just need to look to the human behind. And it is really not important, especially when they are already in therapy, it is not important what did they use, important is the [willingness], that they need change and that they want to change. Because if someone doesn’t want to change, then no-one – you, me, nobody – can do any change.
Q: What is healing them? A: I think the [simplest] things are healing. For example, what we are doing now – face to face, eye to eye conversation, honesty. That I don’t hide my tears if I have tears, because I’m touched by a workshop that is going on and I just came out for a few minutes for this interview and we touched a very sensitive topic – how do we feel inside our body, how we respect our body. And this is also a question in my everyday work because, you know, drugs are, let’s say, poisons.
For me it’s really hard to see when the tendency of these new drugs – we call them new psychoactive substances – extremely destructive for a young body. Twenty years ago there were the traditional drugs, mostly the natural drugs, not the synthetic drugs, [who] were not this destructive. But these things are really like poison for the youngsters and it’s not easy to see or to listen when a twelve-year old child (let’s say child, because I’m 45) says to me that: “Timi, I don’t care. I don’t care. I don’t mind what the effects on my body are”. And then what do you say to a child? “Why? Do you think your body’s your temple? Your soul is inside this body, which you got from life when you were born, so is it important for you?”.
And, if the answer is not, then we start (or I think I start) to work slowly with this topic, using body art, theatre, or movement therapy, a lot of sports… Moving, moving, and simple things to feel this [body] which we are inside [of], because we cannot go to the shop and buy another [one]. I mean, you know, it’s a lifelong thing, what we all do with our bodies.
Q: What is a value that people in Hungary should respect more? A: My main sadness is, and I know they use this word very often now, polarization. But my main, I can say sadness, is when I feel that people with opposite opinions, ideas, thinking, cannot just sit down in a calm way and discuss. And there’s the thing (Davis told this yesterday and I take it with me) – that if they talk, they don’t fight. Maybe for five minutes, but I think it’s so important, and this is what I miss – to be open and listen to the other. Because without that I think there is no chance to find the common things.
And we have so many common things – we wake up in the morning, we usually sleep in a bed… One more thing, more important – one yoga teacher told me in a yoga session that: “Timi, did you ever think that the biggest enemies because of religion, political interest, anything, go to a yoga session and they breathe the same air. Breathing, you know – this whole oxygen and nitrogen and every molecule that’s in the air, now [by breathing] it’s inside my lungs. And now I breathe out and now it’s here and maybe in a few seconds it will be inside your body, [the thing] which was [for] few seconds in me. And I was laughing so much when I was imagining the situation as Darryl said, as [between], I don’t know, a black man and a Ku Klux Klan man, or a skinhead and a Roma person. Imagine them just looking into [each other’s] eyes and [saying] “We breathe the same air. We cannot separate that like no, I will not breathe because you were breathing that.”. So it’s just [such] a simple thing.