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Primary Choices

By Ronnie Mangubat

There are two primary choices in life, one is to accept conditions as they exist, two is to accept the responsibility for changing them.

Often times I would be staring at my only 5-year-old son and fear would creep in when I think this kid following my footstep. I started drinking and smoking pot when I was 12, and yes being the only son among 4 siblings my parents were not to keen on being hard on me. I would always have my way, my parents were way too generous and forgiving that I would always have my way.

Must I give my kid-tough love? Discipline? Control that my parents did not bestow on me? I worry the day he would come home from school reeking of alcohol as I often would during my high school days. I would not want him to go through the things I went through, the addiction I developed in my days.

I would always be giving my family a lot to worry about me, I never gave my schooling the attention it needed, I focused more on booze, smoke, and then drugs. I gave them sleepless nights when I get into brawls and other misdemeanors.

Anyway, my addiction was too much to bear for my family. I was unmanageable, to say the least, my using was getting heavier, my behavior causing not only pain but humiliation for those that loved me. My parents wanted me to get the best education possible, for me to associate with the good crowd in school and society but I guess I’m wired to be wild and uncontained.

I was sent to rehab 7 times, the first when I was at the young age of 21 and still unwilling to let go of my drug affair and relapse would always be a normal thing for me. I guess I never wanted to abandon my hedonist tendencies even if it was breaking everyone.

My Mom would shed a river of tear and it would never guilt me, my addiction made me callous. When I was 36, my Dad died and we were unable to sustain our upper-middle-class lifestyle, I never stopped using. I found ways to sustain my vice, to the extent of me dealing and selling drugs.

My first marriage suffered a death kneel when my wife who gave me 2 daughters found out I was cheating on her. She would find so much patience on my addiction and believed I could change for my daughters eventually but as fate would have it her hope was kayoed by my infidelity. She finally filed for a divorce and got my kids to live with her far away from me.

My dad dying and my wife leaving me weren’t enough reason for me to change. I never wanted to be sober. Repeated attempts at costly rehab treatments proved futile. I was not the kind to live a normal productive life.

When I was 44 years old, my second wife gave birth to our son when I was inside TCI village and on my 7th rehab. This time I was looking for a good reason to embrace sobriety. All my previous treatment experiences were full of learning that never penetrated me, perhaps I’m impermeable to such lessons owing to the entitlement and leniency I was accorded by my parents.

I always thought the change would never find me as being lost is a better proposition than living life laden with responsibility. It is easier to be without care and burden, accountability is never an addict’s strong trait. However, age and reason are good ingredients for change, love and continued trust softened my reservations, strengthened my resolve.

My 4 daughters

My son, Lake, is 6 years old, and I am almost 6 years sober. Those were not very easy years for me, every day was a struggle, it still is. I found a good job, my family lifts me, and I have a good support group. I suspect my wife, my mom, and my siblings are proud of me, I’m even proud of myself having the elusive drug free life in my grasp. Finding a good reason gave me my freedom, freedom to seek value, of a productive life. I believe my son will find a path better than the one I took. Finding God in my recovery, I pray this to be so.

My Son

Today, my life took a bright turn with a better prospect for the future. My wife Hershey is a great blessing in my life and my strongest shield that never abandoned me despite all my past failures. Aside from my son Lake, she gave me Rain, River, and Brooke, my three inspiring, smart, and beautiful daughters, my reasons for aspiring a sober life.

My wife and daughters

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