The House of Hope on the Hill is the First Charitable Residential Treatment Facility for Alcoholics in Russia
In June 2013 the House of Hope on the Hill rehabilitation centre celebrated its 17th anniversary. On the one hand, this is not a long period of existence – what is 17 years even on the scale of one country? On the other hand, this is an immense period. Especially, taking into account that every day here is dedicated to fighting for human life. Sober life.
On the photo:17th anniversary of the House of Hope on the Hill.The total time of sobriety is more than 600 years.
Our Purpose and Objectives
Our purpose is to help people suffering from this fatal disease. Every person coming to us gets help absolutely free of charge, irrespective of sex, age or religion.
We offer the Minnesota rehabilitation model based on cooperation of specialists and people having their own experience of recovery – chemical addiction councelors. The Minnesota model is the base model in countries where this problem is being successfully resolved. Its basis is working the 12 Steps program of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Our approach has a broader view of the problem of alcoholism, and we believe that in order to really drive the disease off, a person must:
- understand the causes of his or her craving for alcohol;
- become more psychologically stable; and
- change his or her life-style.
The task of the Center’s staff united by the ardent belief in human dignity, love and compassion for those who still suffer from this terrible illness is to help each person stepping over the threshold of the House, no matter how hopeless his or her situation might seem to him or her.
Each time when an alumnus leaves the House of Hope on the Hill relieved of craving for alcohol and having acquired skills of maintaining comfortable and prolonged sobriety, we consider that our task has been fulfilled.
Unfortunately, we cannot help all those who suffer, but be hope that our experience will serve as a good example and many other such centers will be opened in Russia.
Standards of ethics are our common principles and rules defining what is good and what is bad in the professional sphere. Observing the standards of ethics, we adhere to certain values and convey such values in practice, not just verbalize them.
Our core values are respect for human dignity and conviction that each person is entitled to make his or her choice in life.
We believe that our work is done for the good of our residents and their kith and kin and has its value for the entire society.
We are aware of and take into account the limitations each of us has and we understand that our training, professional development, analysis and processing of experience are not just vain wishes, but the professional duty of all the staff of the Center.
People come to us with their suffering, pain and losses from the addiction, and the rehabilitation, i.e. the recovery process is impossible without showing respect for the personality of each individual. We believe that any humiliation of human dignity or honor, contemptuous or arrogant conduct towards residents are blatant violations of professional ethics and inflict irreparable damage to our common cause. In our professional interaction we rule out any manifestations of the “God” syndrome, we do not use our knowledge or power for self-assertion or subordination of patients.
Remembering that one of the most important conditions of successful rehabilitation is residents’ confidence in the Center, we strictly observe the confidentiality of both those who are undergoing a course of rehabilitation at the moment and of those who have already left the Hose, irrespective of the causes of discharge. There are exceptions provided for by the RF legislation, namely, an inquiries from law enforcement or judicial authorities.
We aspire after impartial and unprejudiced attitude towards every person and rule out discrimination on any grounds.
We are aware of and accept the fact that relationships of friendship or close acquaintanceship with residents, including former residents, may have undesired effects and adversely affect Center’s reputation. Sexual and financial relationships with residents are inadmissible for at least three years after discharge. The restriction of informal contacts covers also the possibility of sponsorship and tutorship for former residents of the Center. An exception for nonprofessional interaction is participation in AA and NA groups. We consider it necessary and mandatory to inform the administration of the Center and to discuss with colleagues any cases when former residents apply for professional (paid) assistance outside the Center.
Svetlana Alexeyevna Moseeva, CEO of the House of Hope on the Hill Rehabilitation Center:
- These days, when there is so much grief, pain, deceit and self-interest around, when mass media endlessly tell us about disasters and wars, it is very important that each person’s life have a place where you feel protected and find a confirmation that selflessness, kindness, care and courage still exist.
The House of Hope on the Hill Rehabilitation Center, for which I have been working for many years, is a place where such miracles as finding hope, regaining human dignity, respect, and gratitude are a normal thing! And I need miracles very much! If you doubt that such things are possible these days, you are welcome to visit us and have a look!
On the photo, from left to right:Natalya Petrovna Lemke, Head of the Social Development Department, Social Policy Committee of St. Petersburg;
Igor Valeryevich Gavryushkin, Leader of the Tsarskoselsky Carnival Foundation, member of the Council of Trustees and the Board ofthe House of Hope on the Hill;
Svetlana Alexeyevna Moseeva, CEO of the House of Hope on the Hill.
Vitaly Nikolayevich Osipchuk, Rehabilitation Program Director:
- I like it when people’s lives change for the better and I like to participate in this. People are different, and often they have wounds in their souls, some tragedies… And when wounds begin to heal, changes start happening in a person’s life that may be called miraculous. It is very important for me that I am a part of this. This fills my life with a meaning.
Eugenia Kolpakova, Information Development Manager:
- The House is a place where miracles happen and I am happy that I can be a part of them to the best of my ability.
Natalya Vladimirovna Trifonova, Family Program Director:
- I know everything about the House of Hope on the Hill, as I was present at its birth. I know how it was created, how it was growing and developing from the very first bricks. I started working here from the year 2000. First, I worked as a nurse, then as a family program councelor, and starting from 2005 as the Family Program Director. In 2001 I underwent a training program in the USA dedicated to working with relatives of addicts. I have been constantly improving my skills by attending training programs and courses. Being a co-dependent myself, I attend Al-Anon and open AA meetings for my own recovery.
Today I feel that I am a happy person: I have joy and gratitude to the world and people and I can share all that with those who need it.
Alexandr Yuryevich Vasilyev, Primary Program Director:
- Hi! I have been working for the House of Hope for more than ten years. And I cannot call this place my job. Every morning I get up, wash, have breakfast, get in my car and drive to work, and when I have come, I understand that I have come home… The House of Hope on the Hill is like second home to me. Home that once helped me find sobriety – not the house itself, not the building, but the people who lived in the house. As Volodya Trifonov used to say, “A house without people is a building”. Now, many years later, I come here and meet such people, those who have managed to get free of the insanity and cunning of alcoholism, those who have found or are looking for a way towards a normal life. I see their faces, eyes, I see their hope and understand that it is worth coming here, that it is worth living, that there is a purpose in my life, and this gives me so much strength, so much energy, that I want to live, to rejoice, to be happy, to love and to do good.
I am the Center’s Primary Program Director. It is a program that helps sick, despairing people find hope of recovery. A program that gets such people acquainted with their disease, with the Twelve Steps, and with the Alcoholics Anonymous. For most of our alumni the Primary Program has become their first step towards a new life, their first step towards knowledge of themselves and of the surrounding world.
I would like to wish everyone to see more of the good, joy and happiness around you.
Sincerely yours, Alexandr Yuryevich.
Sergey Vasilyevich Agafonov, Leading Counselor:
- My education: 27.06.2000 - The Northwestern Academy of State Service (social work with addicts). October – February 2003 – the St. Petersburg State University of the Art of Teaching (advanced training program).
At the moment I have been sober for 9 years. I underwent rehabilitation at the House of Hope on the Hill. In December 1999, after the House, I started working and renting a flat, as I had come from a different place, Sverdlovskaya Region, I earn my living myself. I try to attend AA meetings at least twice a week. I have been recovering without relapses. I work the steps with my sponsor and in a peer group.
In my opinion, I can help alcohol addicts by sharing my experience of working the steps and can share my knowledge gained during studies at seminars on substance abuse.
Tatyana Krivets, Leading Counselor:
- I have been working for the Center for 4 years. Before coming to the House of Hope on the Hill I had worked for the Rehabilitation Center for drug addicts in the village of Poshetni where I had been in charge of primary admission. I had collaborated with the Social Care Center of Krasnoselsky District and worked with families of addicts.
I see the meaning of my life in helping people who suffer and in showing them a way out of the tight situation in which they have found themselves. I like to carry the message that there is always a possibility to change something for the better in one’s life.
A difficult area in my work is facing my powerlessness when there is a very strong confrontation with the disease of addicts.
Irina Yuryevna Ivanova, Cook and Caterer:
- I fulfil one of the important commandments, “An alcoholic must never be hungry!”. I graduated from the correspondence department of the St. Petersburg Economic and Technological Culinary College. As a child, I was very happy when guests came to visit us. I still have that in me. I like to meet guests, and the Center has given me this opportunity. I am glad to see those who step over the threshold of the House of Hope on the Hill for the first time. I am glad to see those who come to share their sobriety. I am glad to see all the alumni who come to us again and again.
I had never been able to understand, why my parents had been drinking. They did not take care of their health! And my words and struggle with their alcoholism did not help. And only here, at the Center, I have learnt that it is an incurable and fatal disease. Here I have also learnt that I am co-dependent.
I can list very many things, answering the question: “What has the Center been giving me?” It is understanding, support, warmth, learning how to rejoice in life, how to speak about my feelings, how to accept my powerlessness, communication with interesting people… In a word, everything!
I am grateful to Vladimir Ivanovich Trifonov, the first Director of the House, a big heart, to Lou Bantle, Fr. Bernie, E. V. Zubkov, and all those who remember and support the House of Hope on the Hill for their priceless labour and contribution to the House of Hope.
Svetlana Gusarova, nurse:
- I have been working for the House of Hope on the Hill for three years and a half, but it is the seventh year that I have known it. Why did I leave the flower business, the high salary, the job near my home? Perhaps, because I had been going to this work/service throughout my life, even if that had been done unconsciously.
I see people as they come: their eyes are full of despair, pain, guilt, self-pity, fear and a deadlock ahead. I see how gradually first a faltering hope and then faith and love appear in their eyes. And I am happy that there is a piece of my heart there, that I can give something to and serve people who are sick both physically and spiritually. I am grateful to God that He has given me this grace.
Yegor Vasilyevich Konobeyev, Logistics Manager of the House
(on the photo – with Svetlana Moseeva, CEO of the House of Hope on the Hill):
- I am grateful to the House for the opportunity of working here as logistics manager for many years and deriving a great satisfaction from that. Sometimes I am asked about the purpose of my life and I answer that it is in my work. I help people and I can feel their needs. I work with people who show love towards me. There is an inner power inside me, it is wiser and stronger than me, and I am just a tiny particle of it.
Alyona Makarova, Secretary, the “voice” of the House:
- I have been working for the House for 10 years. I started as a cook who made breakfasts. After I realized that I wished to participate more actively in the work of the Center, I was sent to study computer literacy and then I became the secretary. If you call the Center now, it will be me who will answer you. It can be said that I have taken a fancy to the work for the Center. I feel that I help people start a new life. I always really feel for our residents.
When I do not work, I bring up my two adult sons, a cat and a parrot.
From the History of the House of Hope on the Hill
In 1989 Louis Bantle, an American businessman, came to Russia. He had got rid of his alcohol addiction and for more than 30 years, till his death in 2010 he stayed sober by using the 12 Steps program created by the founders of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) movement. In 1990 Louis Bantle founded the International Institute for Alcohol Education and Training, which started developing educational programs in the field of chemical dependency. The Institute was headed by Eugene Zubkov.
On the photo:Louis (Lou) Bantle (on the right) and Eugene Zubkov
Lou Bantle decided to introduce to Russians the 12 Steps program, thanks to which millions of alcoholics all over the world have started a sober life. Today the AA movement has widely spread throughout Russia. But at that time nobody had heard anything of the kind in this country. That is why at first Lou Bantle brought to the USA for his own account well-known Russian writers, musicians, doctors and priests – all those who had to deal with alcoholism personally or professionally. Thus, about 350 persons underwent a course of rehabilitation. Besides, some of them also underwent a course of professional training. Many of those people not only have quit drinking, they help others to stay sober.
Having realized the scale of alcoholism in Russia, Lou understood that a rehab should be founded in Russia, too. At first, Lou organized a shelter for homeless alcoholics in the territory of a household plot of the Sophia Cathedral in the settlement of Pogi. The staff of the shelter taught the basics of the 12 Steps program of Alcoholics Anonymous to its residents.
However, soon it became clear that an own specialized rehabilitation center was needed. Lou Bantle met Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, and the Patriarch blessed the foundation of such a center. A blessing was also received from Pope John Paul II.
And in March 1997, upon the initiative of Eugene Zubkov, President of the International Institute for Alcoholism Education and Training , the shelter was converted into a rehabilitation center for alcohol addicts. Co-founders and inspirers of the project on the Russian side were Markell, dean of the Theodore Tsar’s Cathedral, then archimandrite and now the Bishop of Tsarskoye Selo, and Dmitry Shagin, a well-known artist and founder of the Mitki art group. From its first days, the House of Hope on the Hill was also supported by businessman Rick Shannon.
A land plot with an unfinished house was bought for Lou’s money in the village of Perekyulya near St. Petersburg. Soon the construction of the house was finished, and on April 17, 1997 four first residents crossed the threshold of the new building of the rehab that was given the name “House of Hope on the Hill”.
On June 10,1997 the official opening of the rehabilitation center and the blessing of the building and a memorial cross took place. The Saint Boniface chapel has been built since in the place of the cross.
On the photo:Saint Boniface Chapel
On January 12, 2000 the women’s building was opened and named after Virginia Bantle, Lou’s wife, who supported his charitable activity. Since then, women have been admitted for rehabilitation to the House of Hope on the Hill, too.
In December 2002 the House of Hope on the Hill built a water supply system a kilometer and a half in length for funds provided by Lou Bantle. Standpipes were installed and wells with fire hydrants were equipped for the locals in the villages of Pikkolovo, Murilovo and Perekyulya.
In 2004 a separate men's dormitory unit was built and given the name of Vladimir Trifonov. Vladimir Ivanovich Trifonov was one of the originators of the House and headed the Center for six years, till 2003. Thanks to the efforts of Vladimir Ivanovich who put all his heart and soul into the project, the House became indeed a “House of Hope”. His life is for us an example of service to people.
Valery Nikolayevich Zinkovich (Director of the Center from April till August 2003) and Sergey Vladimirovich Mordvinov (Director of the Center from August 2003 till December 2004) left fond memories of themselves.
On the photo:Vladimir Trifonov, the first Director of the House of Hope on the Hill
From the first days of the existence of the House of Hope on the Hill till now, its activities have been based on unshakeable principles.
The first of them is the principle of charity. The House of Hope on the Hill is a fully free charitable center and exists solely due to voluntary donations. All the years from the moment of the foundation of the Center, financial aid for the maintenance and development of the House of Hope on the Hill was received without interruption from Mr. Louis Bantle till his death on October 10, 2010.
Lou Bantle, or “Papa (Daddy) Lou”, as grateful people who took the road of healing from alcoholism started calling him in the far Russia, was sick for a long time before his death. He was quite an aged man. And still, his death shook everybody whose life and destiny were connected with the House of Hope on the Hill. The obituary published on the web site of the House is full of bitterness and love: “We cannot find the words to express the depth of our loss! Till the last minutes of his life, he remembered about us, Russian people suffering from alcoholism, most of whom he even did not know personally. What a generous and deep soul! Overcoming the pains and suffering of his disease, he took a keen interest in the life of the House, and when he was passing away, photos and letters from the House of Hope on the Hill were near him. Thank God that we had that wonderful encounter in our lives, an encounter that gave so many people the gift of hope, sobriety and a human life deserving respect. The life of the House of Hope on the Hill in the name of LIFE, LOVE, MERCY AND SERVICE TO PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM ALCOHOLISM will be the best memory for Papa Lou!”
Robert Bantle, the son of the deceased, and many other people spoke during the memorial service about Lou Bantle’s love for Russia and the importance of the House of Hope on the Hill for him. Lou Bantle’s posthumous will is an evidence of that. He was cremated, and his ashes were divided into four parts. One remains with the family, and the other three were sent to rehabs for alcoholics that had been supported by Lou Bantle – Ashley near Baltimore, Maryland; High Watch in the State of Connecticut; and the House of Hope on the Hill in Russia.
Lou Bantle used to repeat that he hoped times would come when Russian businessmen would also become aware of the importance of supporting rehabs for those suffering from alcoholism. The House of Hope on the Hill still remains the only fully free secular rehabilitation center. However, in spite of many difficulties, it continues to live and operate, and this is a confirmation that the dream of the House’s founder has started to be fulfilled.
In 2003, for the first time in the history of the House, a considerable part of the funds for the construction of a new building was donated by a Russian businessman who wished to remain anonymous. Since 2007 Russian benefactors – both private persons and organizations – started helping the House, too. The amount of funds donated to the House by its alumni and other people wishing to take part in the cause of helping those suffering from alcoholism is growing.
Another basic principle of our Center’s work is the principle of cooperation between addicts and chemical dependency councelors having their own experience of recovery in the 12 Steps program (the so-called “Minnesota rehabilitation model”). Simply speaking, nobody else will understand an alcoholic better than another alcoholic.
The work of the Center is based on the model used by similar chemical dependency rehabs in the USA: the famous Fr. Martin’s Ashley in the State of Maryland and the St. Christopher’s rehab in the State of New York. Throughout the years of its existence, the House has been cooperating with these centers. All this time, Fr. Bernie Palka, Director of the St. Christopher’s rehab, State of New York, a specialist having 40 years of working experience in chemical dependency rehabilitation, has been helping the House.
On the photo:Eugene V. Zubkov, Chairman of the Board of the House of Hope on the Hill;
Dmitry V. Shagin, artist and leader of the Mitki art group, Chairmanof the Councilof Trustees of the House of Hope on the Hill;
Viktor D. Styazhkin, Chief Physicianof the St. Petersburg Psychiatric Hospital of Specialized Type with Intense Observation, member of theCouncil of Trustees andthe Board of the House of Hope on the Hill;
His Grace Markell, Bishop of Tsarskoye Selo, member of theCouncil of Trusteesof the House of Hope on the Hill;
Svetlana A. Moseeva, CEO of the House of Hope on the Hill.
The House of Hope on the Hill has academic and practical contacts with many medical institutions, such as Bekhterev Research Institute (headed by Professor N. G. Neznanov);Psychiatric Hospital of Specialized Type with Intense Observation (headed by Honoured Doctor of Russia V. D. Styazhkin); Kashchenko Psychiatric Hospital (headed by O. V. Limankin); Skvortsov-Stepanov Psychiatric Hospital (headed by V. G. Agishev). V. D. Styazhkin was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the House of Hope on the Hill for many years.
The House of Hope on the Hill is spiritually supported by Markell, Bishop of Tsarskoye Selo. Hegumen Iona (Zaimovsky) also helps the House.
During the recent years the Center has been cooperating with Shelters of Mother Theresa’s Order for Russian socially maladjusted homeless persons. The cooperation consists in admitting for rehabilitation persons suffering from alcoholism who have been rendered assistance in the shelters, in providing consultation aid to workers of the shelters by the House of Hope on the Hill and in teaching such workers how to work with people suffering from alcoholism.
In June 2007 Valentina I. Matviyenko, the then Governor of St. Petersburg attended the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Center.
With the assistance of the Government of St. Petersburg, the Center received a grant of the Christmas Fair 2008 charitable auction, which helped us survive the hard time of the economic crisis of 2008-2009.
A new building that houses a nutrition unit and classrooms was erected for the targeted funds of the grant of the Christmas Fair 2010 charitable auction. The building opening ceremony took place on the day of celebrations of the 16th anniversary of the House of Hope on the Hill. Special gratitude for that deserve Igor Gavryushkin, organizer of the auction and Director of the Tsarskoselsky Carnival Foundation, Alexandr Krashchuk, organizer and sponsor of the construction, and Mikhail Zingarevich, the eminent benefactor who had bought at the auction the lot, the funds from which made the grant that was invested in the construction.
The new building was given Igor Gavryushkin’s name.
The Center is supported by many well-known people.
In 2001 Eric Clapton, famous American guitarist, visited the House.
On the photo:Eric Clapton laying the Alley of Sober Heroes at the House of Hope on the Hill
Yury Shevchuk, a great and old friend of the Center, often gives charity concerts for the purpose of collecting funds in favour of the House of Hope on the Hill. The House is constantly supported by painters Mikhail Shemyakin and Dmitry Shagin, actors Oleg Garkusha, Anvar Libabov, Valery Ivchenko, musician and writer Vladimir Rekshan, writer Dmitry Veresov, journalist Valery Tatarov and many other well-known and respected people. The Council of Trustees of the House (chaired by Dmitry Shagin) formed on a voluntary basis successfully helps the House tackle its tasks.
The Center has been and remains a real home for many, many people. And the House is grateful to everybody who received help here one day and now helps the House and to everybody who have been working for people’s benefit!
The House is grateful to all dear people who have passed away and whom we will never forget here. We will never forget you, Andrey Romanov, Nikita Zaitsev, Valery Slavin, Valery Zinkovich, Vladimir Trifonov, Pyotr Timoshenkov, Eugene Ivchenko, Hilda Grinyova, Nikolay Minayev.
We will never forget you, Papa Lou!
In 2011 the House of Hope on the Hill became the winner of the 3rd All-Russian Festival of Social Programs SoDeystviye (Assistance, or Co-Action) in the nomination “Social Support and Protection of Citizens”.
In 2012 the House of Hope on the Hill became the winner of the 4th All-Russian Festival of Social Programs SoDeystviye in the nomination “Improvement of Citizens’ Moral and Psychological State”.
In 2013 the House of Hope on the Hill received a targeted subsidy of 2,000,000 roubles for its activities thanks to a personal order of G. S. Poltavchenko, Governor of St. Petersburg.