By Ian Ty
“Words do not change people, experience does”
To avoid relapse part of my aftercare strategy is to make myself available almost constantly to treatment facilities and be a part of the team to coach recovery among its residents over the years. Giving back became an advocacy for me, a personal drive that keeps me stay on top of my malady at the same time developing trust and two way mentorship among those I come to guide inside and out of the facility.
Over the years of practicing sobriety and giving back helping others heal from addiction through recovery coaching , I would often still feel not the least comfortable when people i gaining sobriety under my watch would call me Kuya Ian.
Yes , I am addressed Kuya by those in treatment and even after they are socially reintegrated upon completion of therapy, they find it in good taste to continue calling me as such. Perhaps my affiliation with Treatment Facilities the most current of which is TCI Village is driven by my need to constantly be reminded of how it is to stand strong drug free, the process of witnessing others gain an upper hand in their bottomed out predicament allows me to stay on top of my own vulnerabilities.
Through my years of counseling experience I can say that every addiction has its own individual DNA, while it seems to have a universal denouement, each abuse retains a distinct plot, and every recovery a different story. For others it is a continuing struggle, for most it is just a haunting chapter in their lives . This is mine.
It was the new year’s eve of 1993 when I first had a taste of “shabu“. Instead of celebrating the coming of a brand new year with my family, I was outside with the so-called neighborhood troublemakers trying to prove my manhood by getting drunk. And when the choice to take my first hit was offered, there was absolutely no hesitation in my mind that this was going to be the best gift I’ll ever have.
For some people, it would take a series of drug-taking binges for a certain period to get you hooked. For me, it only took a week and I was already pumped up to learn the tricks of the drug trade. I wanted more, I wanted the way the smoke gets into your head after a few puffs and makes you forget that there is more to life than just pleasure. I wanted it to be the reason why I would continue living. You could easily say I lost my direction but I always knew where to find the drugs I needed.
This party would go uninterrupted for 13 more years until… I got sent to rehab by 2006, against my will. In my mind, it was the worst place I could ever be. I can’t be stuck inside while the world kept its course. Escaped, got caught, escaped again. I left everyone in my life who wasn’t using drugs. I roamed Cubao and made it my home away from home. I had no one in my circle who wanted me clean and everyone was there to help me get even dirtier. I was happy, or so I thought.
In 2013, I entered the same treatment facility again. This time a bit more open that things might not be going according to my plan. I decided to give recovery one more try. I completed the program and tried my chances on the other side of the coin, helping others just like me. This responsibility enabled me to keep myself grounded, happy, and contented with a purpose. If only I knew then what I knew now right? Damn, I lost so much…. Looking back and taking into account all that has happened in my life.
Here is a simple summary of what I may have lost during my selfish journey. I missed out on being included in my daughter’s childhood memories. I was not able to appreciate my relationship with my high school sweetheart who gave me her undying affection and love. I lost my chance to be grateful to my loving parents for bringing me into this world and making them stand tall and proud of what I can achieve. I threw away countless opportunities that would have given me financial security (I had a perfect job at logistics) for my future. I distanced myself from relatives and friends who could have shown me the color of true friendships. I lost money, lots of it just to satisfy my thirst for things that don’t last. I lost time, not knowing how long I still have on Earth.
But recovery gave me something I never had before. It continues to give me a clear purpose in life, helping me save myself by being a part of something bigger than I could imagine. The change gave me the chance to be with my family once again, learning to put them first before my needs. Sobriety gave me back the trust I had once lost from my parents, who in the toughest of times never gave up but showed responsible love and concern.
Brotherhood gave me friends who can be my support group during days when I wonder if I am still on the right path. My Higher Power tells me I may not always be in control but it’s probably better that way. I’m Ian and this is what I still have left. Ain’t that bad after all, right? So please give the treatment a chance.