It was all started with a wrong relationship between my Father and Mother. They lived together illegally (No Blessing of the Church) and I am the product of that relationship. They were young and they parted for good, my mother turned me over to my Grandmother when I was just 1 month old.

I grew up in my Grandmother’s care in a squatter area in Davao City, Philippines with my 4 cousins. And what can we expect living in a squatter area where drugs are rampant? I involuntarily adopted their culture, I began to talk like they talk, behave like they behave and live life of a curse. I think I was 8 when I started smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and hanging out with wrong friends. Then drugs came in. It was an addiction which brought me to unknown places and it became my source of income and emptied my pockets.

It started with having a good time, living nightlife, and I allowed my friends to influence me. I can’t blame them for what I myself decided to get involved with. It was really good, I enjoyed their company, their companionship and it was really fun. We’d say, “THIS IS LIFE” but it was nothing but a “TRAP”. I started taking minor drugs such as small amount of tablets, cough medicines, and marijuana. Then started taking “Shabu” which is like Cocaine.

It was 2003 when I had to leave Davao City because I got involved in a serious case, where drug addicts were being killed by a powerful group, “Davos Death Squad”. I was 14 and needed to get away to save my life and escape the death threats. I flew to Metro Manila, the main city in the Philippines, almost 2 hours by airplane.

It was in Metro Manila I got even worse. I met more drug users, friends who are highly experienced in the drug business.

2007 was the worst experience in my immature young wild life. Drugs/substances took me to my edge. I heard voices coming from inside of me, my conscience talking. I remember telling myself “this is the wrong path I really have to change the life I’ve made”. I know I’m getting worse but still I can’t get away from the cravings of my addiction. “I am in trouble, in need of help”. Deep in my heart I still have a conscience speaking “this is not the life you were meant for, you were meant for something good, something better.” I was thinking the right thing but still doing the wrong thing! If I were to describe my situation, it was CHAINS! Am I in chains? It’s hard for me to get free.

Others might think I’m insane. It was like half my mind was lost. However, despite the conditions I could still manage to partly think right.

I came to my senses when I couldn’t handle myself anymore.

November 16, 2007 one of my close relatives from Davao City attended a conference in Metro Manila and took the opportunity to visit me as well. Actually, they had no idea what I had been through but they knew I was the black sheep of the family. This relative was on my father’s side, Ministers, Christian Bible believers and they told me to go home with them to Davao city, they were willing to help me, to get me back to school and more. I just said, “wait for me until Christmas” we’ll see if I’ll go home. If I go home fine if not fine!

December 27, 2007 I contacted my family, my father’s side, “help me book a ticket I want to go home and start a new life if given a chance”. I flew back in Davao City 6:30am December 31, 2007 just before New Years. I slept through the New Year celebration because I was recovering from 3 days of no sleep, I took drugs for 3 days straight, celebrating my “despedida” or “last week of staying with my friends”.

I started taking drugs when I was 14, I was 19 when I went home.

I didn’t expect what would be next… I really had no idea how to start because the cravings and addiction were still in me. I realized that the greatest enemy I could face was not my wrong friends but it’s the enemy in me. Really, it was horrible, it wasn’t easy! What matters is that there was a family willing to forget what I had done and accept me. They gave me the perspective to live on. It was a very huge help for me during that time. Acceptance is a big deal and antidote for someone like me struggling with my addiction. I’m 27 years old and thank God and for the gift of family, new friends, people who surrounded me who were there to help and support me for who I was and become who I am today. It’s almost 7 years now since the last time I remember taking a substance. I can really say that “I AM FREE”.

If I were to give tips and ideas for parents on how to help teens with Addiction?

Here’s what helped me:

  1. I decided to depart from my user friends
  2. Acceptance and love of Family.
  3. Hopes, prayers and Faith in God.

Just like what I have said my second family, the side of my father. They’re Ministers. They’ve given me the chance to get involved in the ministry and help me process my journey and start a new beginning. I’ve been traveling in the Philippines for 5 years sharing my story, encouraging the youth that there’s still hope whatever addiction they’re in.

I’ve learned that life is mostly sowing and reaping…

“Acts of Faith aren’t like pebbles dropped in a pool that make a few temporary ripples and then sink to the bottom, inert. They’re seeds planted in the soil of life, and they will come up one day. The harvest is inevitable. Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest (Gal 6:7). Decisions are seed. Attitudes are seed. Acts are seed. Prayers are seed. Thoughts are seed. And all of it will come to harvest. The person, though, who looks for quick results from planting seeds of well doing, will be disappointed. If I want potatoes for dinner tomorrow, it will do me little to go out tonight and plant potatoes in my garden. Long stretches of darkness and invisibility and silence separate planting from reaping.” – Eugene Peters-