Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » People & Places, Social Issues » The REMAR fight to addiction
Jun 10, 2022

The REMAR fight to addiction

There are many Belizeans who are struggling with issues of substance and physical abuse and many of them believe that there is nowhere to turn to. But there is one faith-based organization that continues to go above and beyond in helping to rehabilitate as many of these individuals as possible. Tonight on the Bright Side, Sabreena Daly looks at the work that is being done a REMAR.


Sabreena Daly, Reporting

The last time Juan Gonzalez was in front of a camera, he was fifteen years old in Mexico.  He was caught stealing at a shoe factory.

Juan Testimonial

Juan Gonzalez

Juan Gonzalez, Recovering addict

“I remember the first time I didn’t have to thief a pair of shoes or pants or a T-shirt. They just give me and sometimes I talk bad to them and all they come to do is give me a hug and say take your time, main. Everything will be alright. That comes strange to me because I already forgot about good things and family and the association.”


He took me back to a time in his life, as a young adult battling drug abuse. He was a tourist in Central America, but not on vacation. Juan was fighting his demons of addiction, running from the law and running from the reality of his life.


Juan Gonzalez

“You know, in those times I never realized but now I could say I lost hope. I lost the sense of life. I reached a point that I didn’t care about even myself. I just do, I just try to survive. I take what I want, anytime I want. And that’s why I went through a lot of problems. Your body feel needs, right. You feel hungry. You feel like you want to sleep. That’s how you feel when you have those addictions. You feel like you need to support that. You don’t feel well without it. You keep looking for it. And that is the problem when you have the need. A lot of people don’t trust you anymore. It pushes you to do another thing, then another and pushes you to do worse. It’s very hard.”


In 2005, Juan joined the REMAR rehabilitation program. What started as a myopic view to find peace after a three-year prison sentence, turned into a long-lasting friendship, spiritual peace and comfort.

Pastor Stanley Hill

Pastor Stanley Hill, Vice Director REMAR Belize
“We are a ministry that don’t rely on any psychiatrist or psychologist or any medication at all. Everybody that comes into the ministry or comes into the center does cold turkey withdrawals and we help them through the love of God and through each other. We don’t replace a drug with a drug. We replace a drug with support. Support from the people, support from your sponsors or the people that are in charge. Support from me or my wife or even my kids. At the end of the day, that’s the fundamentals of REMAR. We all live in community, we’re all staying together. If one person is going through a tough time, we’re all standing together with that person and push that person through and that’s what its about. We don’t replace one drug with one drug, we replace a drug with support.”


REMAR Belize was established 25 years ago, in 1997. What looks like a store front of thrift goods, supports a machinery of goodwill behind the scenes. One of its primary services is rehabilitation for persons fighting issues of abuse. Whether it is abuse of drugs, or women and children facing abuse, their rehabilitation program provides service through various facets of support.
Pastor Stanley Hill

“It takes a person with a real bad addiction between fifteen to thirty days to get off drugs completely. And it takes about a year for the drug to leave the body. Then you know you’re completely clean off the drugs or the alcohol. A lot of the drug rehabilitation centers you go to, if you come in for drugs or alcohol, anything like that, they replace it with a certain drug that you can get in the pharmacy or the drug store. We don’t do that because it replaces one addiction with another addiction. And ninety nine percent of the time, the medication that they give you is actually a little bit worse that what the addiction was or the drug or the alcohol that you were on outside.”


The uniqueness of REMAR’s rehabilitation program goes beyond escaping the grip of addiction, in an unconventional way. These persons offering support have been in the same position, either victims of abuse or substance abusers themselves.

Pastor Stanley Hill
“Every person that’s in the Ministry has either had a bad background of abuse or with abuse from a relative or from a sibling or whatever the situation is. We all basically come from the same backgrounds. I’m actually a drug addict myself, or was a drug addict in the years. I’ve been clean now for almost seven years. In My wife only dipped in a little bit into the situation of drugs but she comes from abusive relationships. She actually ran away from her last abusive relationship with her two kids, with nothing, just the clothes on her back. So, at the end of the day, for them to contact me or for them to contact Felicia, my wife, she can actually talk them through it because she’s been there, she’s done it and a few other ladies in the ministry as well. So, it’s a matter of interacting with women who have gone through the same situation so they can see where their power is and where their options are for them to cut that link between the person that’s abusing them and themselves.”


Helping persons fight addiction similar to Juan’s is only a part of the work REMAR does. The organization also supports other vulnerable groups in Belize. The resurgence of afeeding program for children in the morning is also taking place and the facility will also provide meals in the afternoon for displaced persons and the elderly. But REMAR does not take full credit; its service comes from a collective effort with stakeholders, both internationally and locally.

Pastor Stanley Hill

“We are also in the position now because we have been abundantly blessed through all the people that are actually helping us in the Belize, that when we get for example, milk, if its too much milk for us then we support orphanages, we support people in the street, in the villages. We give out a bit of milk here and there. Whatever we get, we don’t keep for ourselves. Obviously, we have our community, we use what we need to use in our community, but the rest we give out to whoever needs it, to the poor, to the needy. That’s what we’ve got at the moment.”


But for people like Juan, REMAR represents a second chance at life; a second attempt at making it right. Where he once shoplifted clothing, Juan now sells it. We stopped in to see him, his wife and his son making a day’s earning at their stall at the Michael Finnegan Marketon a Saturday morning. This time around, the camera caught him earning an honest keep.


Looking on the Bright Side, I’m Sabreena Daly.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed