The thing that inspired me most in life is seeing a schoolmate transform from a drug addict to a counsellor who perseveres to help others trapped in the harmful web of drug addiction.
I met him a few days ago and over a cup of coffee, he narrated me the amazing story of his life: the struggle from his school time to the changes that transformed him.
In 1995, he joined Upper TCV school, Dharamshala. During his school days, he bunked classes and never obeyed the school staff or followed school discipline. As a result, the school authorities suspended him from school in 2000. Realizing that his academic life has suddenly come to a standstill, he joined the army that same year.
While sharing his story of drug addiction, he mentioned that initially, he smoked cigarettes out of curiosity. Gradually through peers at his army unit, he took to substance abuse by taking harmful pills to enjoy the momentary ecstasy that these pills induce. That curiosity led him slowly to take stronger drugs. When he doesn’t get pills, he took chemical injection as a substitute.
Over the seven years that he stayed in the army, he breached countless rules which cost him numerous punishments. Even during that time, he knew he was addicted to drugs and it was difficult to follow rules and disciplines that eventually became the cause for his expulsion from the army too.
Addiction to the drug also led him and a friend to Ladakh where they started to sell drugs. He played as a third person to sell drugs buying it from locals. It went on for awhile until his friend’s brother reported them to police.The policeman interrogated and put them in jail for six months. Meanwhile, his sister from Dharamshala who stood for him managed to get him out of prison.
After this incident, he came to Dharamshala to stay with sister. Again he started taking drugs. While in the midst he was informed about Kunphen Centre that gives counselling on drug abuse and provides job opportunities. He immediately worked at the centre for six months. Dependency on drugs remained same despite having treatment at a rehabilitation centre. He kept on smoking marijuana, consuming alcohol and taking drugs.
However, in 2015, something miraculous happened which gave him a new hope: a hope that he can stop taking drugs and change. He stopped taking drugs for a while and spent time alone pondering why he is doing this. He found himself pathetic taking drugs that will only ruin his life. With that strong conviction, he abstained taking drugs for about a month. At one occasion at Tsuglakhang, in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he made a promise that he won’t take drugs from that moment.
He is happy now having a job and met his life partner. He is blessed to have his wife during his transition to life. She has been very supportive of him in the ups and downs of his life. Before we conclude our conversation, he said, “I feel proud when I see myself in the mirror and I aspire to help those drug addict to see the bright side of their lives.”
“ I AM A DRUG SURVIVOR AND I AM ALWAYS READY TO HELP THOSE IN NEED.”