JERRY Joseph “Jay” C. Valderrama has journeyed the road where defiance and self-destruction thrive along the potholed road. He chose to be in the pits at one point in his life but, in the end, he chose to change.
Change, for him, was not inevitable until he woke up one morning with nothing left except that off chance of choosing change.
Drugs once ruled over Jay. Once in his life he discovered its uses and believed it would make him stronger and happier. All he thought about was the temporary relief and ecstasy drugs could give.
He first tried it out of curiosity because his friends were doing it until he continued using it to have a good time. Soon the problems started – at school, home, and in relationships. He experimented with drugs and continued to use them because the substance either made him good or stopped him from feeling bad.
He was in his ‘best’ worst; a nightmare for some.
He was not different from famous actors who played Iron Man and Coach Carter. Robert Downey, Jr., one of the most promising actors in the 1990s, battled massive drug addiction problem and was not given roles for a time because he was considered a liability. Samuel Jackson, who overdosed several times with heroin, was sent to New York rehab clinic and came back to play a cocaine addict in Jungle Fever, a role that he considered cathartic.
They were once lost but like them, Jay was spirited to change.
On August 15, 1999, his parents decided to send him to Babista Drug Rehabilitation Center, now New Day Recovery Center, Inc. (NDRC) in the hope of a miracle. For four months he stayed as a resident and during those times spiritual maturity crept into his being.
Now he is a living testimony of change and miracle.
In January 2000, he began serving at NDRC as facilitator. While he was leading his life to spiritual awakening, Jay shared the same aura in conducting group activities and psycho-education among the residents.
The group dynamics he conducted which always ended with processing also gave him enlightenment. And little by little, his desire to change took over his being.
After two years, Jay became a counselor. He became a source of emotional strength and steadfastness for the caseloads of residents. He relied on good stress management skills and emotional maturity in handling them.
In 2004, Jay became the program director of NDRC. Aside from counseling, he produced modules and programs to help the well-being of residents. From then on, he found fulfillment.
For 14 years now, Jay lives a clean and sober life. No substance, smoking, drinking, and gambling. His lifestyle took a quantum leap.
From the place that once helped him to bring back his life again, Jay tried to serve persons like him who abused drugs.
Jay said he attributes his big change to the institution whose dedication to the promotion of healing and well-being of patients and residents is immense. Aside from his growing faith in God and strong self-motivation, Jay also considers the opportunities given to him by couple Atty. Joel Bernard and Dr. Aneze Babista as a gift.
For him, all happened with impeccable timing.
NDRC’s goal is to heal the body, mind and spirit through behavioral and lifestyle change, physical therapies, medical intervention and counseling to restore wellness as opposed to concentrating on illness.
Their treatment program addresses the behavioral, cognitive, psychological and spiritual aspects of the residents utilizing the principles of the Twelve Steps, the concepts of Rational Emotive and Behavioral Therapy, the Therapeutic Community and Multidisciplinary Team Approach.
At 48, Jay has found the joy he once thought could be found in those ‘good times’. He has become an inspiration to the youth and even adults. He conducts seminars and symposiums to enlighten the youth that drug addiction does no one any good.
As famous Hollywood star Jane Fonda puts it, “It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”
Jay has helped restore the well-being of an average of 42 residents per year in NDRC.
Just recently, he was one of the 15 exam takers from the Philippines and the only one from Mindanao who passed the Asean Center for Certification and Education of Addiction Professionals under Colomba Plan at Bangkok, Thailand. This means that Jay is now a certified international addiction counselor.
Jay has attended various leadership training and addiction seminars here and abroad. For him, every opportunity serves a purpose to make him a good counselor.
Jay may not be as strong as Iron Man or as determined as Coach Charter, but Jay is different in a way. His clean and sober life now is a statement that miracles happen and they happen when you believe in God, in yourself, and in people who have a gift to change others.