“My life is like a Robert de Niro movie: after touring Europe I hit rock bottom in Barcelona, taking cocaine, heroin, pills… of everything. But Pau and Mani got me out of shit with sports and now I don’t drink anything anymore”. This is the self portrait of Osmanone of the members of the boxing group of the Baluard Care and Monitoring Center (CAS), the stigmatized drugstore in Raval. Along with him, a dozen other colleagues train every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday morning at the DKSR gym in Poble Sec. His objective: to defeat the ‘monkey’.
A lifeguard behind the Mill
There, next to 1990s former boxer nicknamed ‘Mani’José Antonio Ransanz, and the CAS Baluard social integrator, Alex Penas, each member of the group sweats, hits and tries to forget consumption. “They are not coaches, they are like therapists to talk to; thanks to them I am as I am & rdquor ;, assesses Osman. Neither he nor the others do not forget Pau Sevilla, the Baluard educator who created this therapy from a field in the Drassanes and with his own particular material. “Now rest in peace & rdquor ;, Mani adds. “He encouraged me to help and train these guys; from then on we moved to the gym & rdquor ;, recalls the ex-boxer while he drinks coffee surrounded by his disciples.
As Penas explains, “here some habits are created, a routine, some obligations& rdquor;. “We make them understand that, If they want to train tomorrow, the day before they cannot consume. And little by little they are leaving it & rdquor ;, she emphasizes. A dynamic that, however, turns out to be a very steep slope for the majority: “To be encouraged to come, they are encouraged quickly, but it is very difficult for them to comply when they are in a moment of active consumption; of those who come, some become loyal and others serve as a catapult for a new life project, but many do not return”, he confesses.
an escape route
“I arrived in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve 2017, I consumed everything, and, as I was a regular at the Baluard room, one day I found Pau with two kids kicking and punching,” he recalls. Isaac. “They told me that if I wanted to train with them… ‘Look how I am,’ I replied. But after that I decided to start methadone treatment and join & rdquor ;, she recalls. Since then she confesses that she has had “ups and downs & rdquor; but, proud, he boasts that now he misses few training sessions. “I had to serve a three-year sentence for something I didn’t do, but when I was on leave he kept coming to train; if I have the stability that I have it is thanks to boxing”, sentence.
In fact, both he and Osman work regularly, when “before I didn’t want to feel or talk about work,” recalls Isaac. For this reason, he is very clear that drugs will always try to leave him on the canvas, but he points out that, between the four ropes of the DKSR gym, they will not leave him KO again
“The gym is like a family, here we support each other and, if anyone needs it, we meet up after training, on weekends, we eat together…”, he says paco, another member of the set. In his case, the experience is repeated: “I had never done boxing, but I came, I liked it and it forced me to go back to having a routine of preparing my bag, washing… It makes you return to the real world & rdquor ;, synthesizes. In his case, the consumption is sporadic: “It is important to bear in mind that, to start here, you must have made the prior decision to lower the doses & rdquor ;. “If it is consumed every day and you don’t have a place to sleep, it is very difficult,” he stresses.
no magic wand
The educator Álex Penas illustrates how complicated it is to meet the requirement of being clean for those who are in a phase of active consumption: “One of the girls who came here will be about a month ago; Yesterday I met her in the Baluard room and she told me that she would be with us today, but she hasn’t appeared either & mldr; & rdquor ;, he exemplifies. “The time they dedicate to rehabilitate in the end depends a lot on the person and their life path, it is not the same to have been on the street for 30 years consuming than to have been two & rdquor ;, he argues. A vital course that, in any case, will always pursue them: “This in the end does not heal, neither boxing nor anything, there is no magic wand, it is a matter of taking it like someone who suffers from sugar, that they learn to manage it& rdquor ;, adds Mani.
In this sense, one of the levers who helped Paco out of the well was a floor for reinsertion of drug addicts. However, he knows that his case is by no means the norm in Barcelona. “People who use need more programs like this; In Switzerland there are integrated circuits where people are given a house, a salary, the medication they want… It already works for half of them, but there are resources for drug addicts and here it seems that it is not & rdquor ;, he sums up.
Lack of resources
Alex and Mani’s group is part of the Fight4Fun project of the Well-being and Development Association (ABD), the managing entity of CAS Baluard. “It is true that in Barcelona there are other places that help these people, but we need many more sports-related workshops,” Alex demands. “Whether through contact sports, or with another type of activity, we need more projects to get them off the street and force them to have guidelines and obligations & rdquor ;, he explains.
In any case, he clarifies that his proposal must be accompanied by more permanent resources: “We have a specific shelter but there are waiting lists of four months and up& rdquor ;. As El Periódico reported, the high demand and the good results of the shelter that Barcelona has opened for drug addicts has quickly outgrown it. “Right now in Barcelona it’s very difficult to get a roof over your head if you’re on the street and, if you don’t sleep well, nobody wants to go train afterwards,” he concludes.