PEOPLE say that we learn best from our own experiences. Books, journals, articles and conventions may provide comprehensive and updated research on certain topics but only humans can explain phenomenon in the best way because it comes not only from our rational minds but from the heart and emotions as well.
Last Friday, I was fortunate to meet three brilliant people who once have been into drug addiction and now are in the recovery process. Amazing, because they all have similar advocacies of helping people understand how drug addiction affects life and how ending drug addiction transforms life.
Today, they have been so active in joining organizations like the City Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (Cadac) in helping the reformists.
I must first thank them for giving me the privilege to interview and write about them. I am so grateful for their courage to share their experience without hesitations. Indeed, they are the living proofs that there is hope for those who are addicted to drugs.
Ian Magpantay, RN, RC started using drugs when he was sixteen years old. He said that during his younger years, he has longed for the love of his family. He felt that he needed much more attention; hence he resorted to taking illegal drugs, which affected his family relationships, friends and career.
Magpantay admitted that he lost control of his life until he was admitted to a rehabilitation center in 2015. When he was discharged, he promised to start a new life.
In his struggle to continue being sober, his family continued to support him unconditionally and it was his faith in God that made him stronger and believe that he is capable of change. Also, he believes that recovering from drug addiction is impossible to happen if there is no program to follow since this requires a change of lifestyle and attitude.
He also added that the struggle is not only to get rid of chemical addiction but as well as the addictive behavior. Right now, at 38, he continues to work in drug rehabilitation as a case manager, educating drug reformists that recovery is never easy, it needs hard work, but it is never impossible.
I had also talked with Dennis Jaleco, another reformist, who shared that he was hooked to smoking and drugs at the age of 14 due to curiosity and peer pressure.
He admitted that he was coming in and out of the rehabilitation center five times already and felt hopeless until he had a car accident in 2014. His life was under 50-50 condition and he was admitted in the ICU for five days.
That incident made him asked, "What’s the purpose of my life?" He then realized that life is a trial and error process and that everything happens for a reason.
After his last rehabilitation, he decided to stand up after his many falls with God and his family, helping him see the beauty of life without resorting to drugs.
Jaleco is now a college student in a University and is one of the active Cadac volunteers, spending his vacant hours in promoting the "no to drug addiction," using all his learning’s and experiences from addiction to healing as a tool. He said that volunteering is one way that helps him recover. According to him, nobody can keep something if one cannot share it with others.
Ronaldo Rivera also started using marijuana in 1980 and not contented, he resorted to using shabu (methamphetamine hydrochlouride) in 1990. But he had been sober since 2014. He shared that he was so good in avoiding something, that he became very good at it.
When asked about drug addiction recovery, Rivera's insight was so deep. He said that recovery is a lifestyle that is so difficult to get used to and but if one persists, the longing for euphoria brought by drugs would soon be replaced.
He said that stigma about drug addiction is still so evident today, and thus to liberate one’s self from it is essential. He also makes sure of establishing sovereignty over individualized thought system. He shared that it is because of his faith in God that makes him feel safe and secured. His journey in recovery is not without obstacles – it is like going up to the escalator that is going down. He added that the most difficult part is to stay away from your dragging friends, whom you have shared joys for many years. Hence, he believes that a drug reformist needs a recovery guide.
Hail to these three who has the heart to disclose about their lives, so people can see that better life awaits those who are once hooked to drugs and decided to change only for the best.