A Sense Of Security

When Bernd Maier* talks about cooking, his eyes light up. The trained butcher and cook is one of the residents of the Immanuel-Grözinger-Haus (IGH) and has been at home here for 12 years. It’s a matter of honor that he is providing for himself in his eleven square meter room, which also includes a small kitchenette with two hot plates. Especially hearty dishes like stuffed peppers or goulash are on his menu. “I always cook with fresh ingredients – and I own an additional third hotplate,” he says with a smirk.

In 2010, the 59-year-old moved temporarily to a shared apartment. The pilot project of the operator at that time, the Protestant Community, “eva”, was to become the first step into a self-determined life for him. For seven years he lived together with a second IGH resident in a nearby apartment. Then alcohol again put a spoke in his wheel. “I had a total crash and wasn’t able to stay there,” Maier regrets. Since 2017 he has been living at the IGH again and feels very comfortable here. “I know some other facilities in Stuttgart, but this is one of the best,” he says. Above all, he appreciates the fact that there are caretakers available day and night. Sometimes the need for conversation is simply urgent.

Bernd Maier always has “dry phases” as he calls them. He just has one, it lasts already about six weeks. Sometimes, however, an invitation from his buddies for a beer becomes the reason, the treacherous addiction cycle starts all over again. He would like to go back to a regular job. Just like before, when he was still cooking in the “Oasis” of a day facility of the “eva”. Unfortunately, he doesn’t dare to do this permanently at the moment. “But at some point I’ll do it again,” he says with conviction – and that almost sounds like a promise.

Another resident who visits the TAS-Café this afternoon is Horst Müller*. He also has a biography with many fractions that finally led the native Saxon to the Immanuel-Grözinger-Haus. The 64-year-old came to the IGH in 1998 with severe alcohol problems. However, Müller managed to become “dry” here. “From one day to the next, without supervised detoxification or an accompanying therapy,” he tells proudly. In the end, a serious illness shook him up. A stay in hospital for weeks made him change his mind and from one day to the next he never touched a drop of alcohol again. “Not many people are able to do that,” explains Markus Vordermeier, the head of the nearby neighborhood garden.

Since 2010, Müller has been living on the 13th floor of the IGH, the “dry floor” as it’s called. In order to offer former alcoholics a protected place, there is no alcohol at all on this floor. Horst Müller is now resistant to all temptations, he doesn’t mind if beer and shots are consumed next to him.

In order to structure his everyday life, he likes to work in the creative workshop. The trained varnisher, who used to work at a Trabant factory in Zwickau, is a recognized specialist for paints and varnishes here. He knows a lot about the application of paint and goes to work with the appropriate expertise. Meanwhile, his Matrjoschka dolls, which have been neatly painted, are standing on the cupboard in the TAS-Café and will certainly soon find fans. If you ask him about his wishes for the future, he has only one: “To stay healthy”.

(* names are changed)


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