I missed writing my final examinations due to influence of drugs
Something that has a beginning also has an end: no night can live forever, because day will come. No addiction can live forever, recovery and restoration will come. But every soul should do what it takes to prevent being addicted.
Patrick’s addiction to alcohol started by ‘stealing’ what his father bought, drunk and kept in order to drink later. “When my father is asleep during day or night hours, I would steal his alcohol and drink. I said to myself, I can’t drink juice men, I also need Dad’s drink”.
Freedom from my parents contributed to my addiction to alcohol and drugs. This made me mix with groups who were already using alcohol and drugs very easily. I easily mixed with the groups who were using drugs and alcohol because this made us to have shared interest and behavior. Because of the freedom from my parents, asking money from my Mum became easy: I would trick my Mum that some amount of money was required by the school to buy a particular text book. Every time when I asked for this money, I would receive positive feedback before bed time. There was a mistake my Mum committed continuously: she never verified if I had ever bought those books or not.
Patrick says he will not forget the fact that being a drug and alcohol addict made him not sit for his final examination in 2019. While others were writing the end of senior six (S.6) exams, I was sleeping because I took ‘excessive’ drugs and alcohol the previous day. During school days, I used to upset the whole class. I took teachers as my equals. Everyone in the school knew I was using drugs.
Since I met Purpose Rwanda early 2022, many things have changed in my life: For the past 13 months, I have stayed addiction free. I feel safe and peaceful, no fear of being arrested by the police because of drug abuse. I have achieved this status of peace and freedom because Purpose Rwanda has been my counselor and helper. My Mum is very happy and proud of me: she is no longer having the stress that she used to get because of my addiction situation.
Patrick continued: “My Mum knows and appreciates what Purpose Rwanda is doing in my life; she always guides me to be very close to Purpose Rwanda. My Mum gave me these pieces of advice:
- Learn to be an independent minded person who is not driven by group influence that is convincing you to resume using drugs.
- Be smart even if you don’t own anything. This will make the community have respect for you.
- That, if your body tells you to use drugs, search for snacks, this will make you forget about drugs”. This is what I am following until now. According to Patrick, this is a big idea for those who are using drugs. It will help them.
- Remember Purpose Rwanda invested in your life by supporting, advising and counseling to ensuring you stop using drugs. Therefore, continue being with Purpose Rwanda and follow its teaching.
- Follow the guidance in the Church and of Purpose Rwanda. This will help you if you obey
- Always pray to God for He will guide and bless your life.
Patrick, having gone through all what was created by drugs and alcohol addictions, attempted to give some valuable pieces of advice to the following which are worth applying:
Advice to Students especially those in S.6
- Be near God and pray for his guidance in your academic life.
- Read your books. This should push you to be in the library, not in bars.
- Obey and respect yourself. In this way, you will keep your name and of your Parents clean.
- Great future is expensive. If you spoil the present time, your future will be complicated and full of suffering and unreasonable because of drugs and alcohol.
- Addiction can take you to jail. How will you recover from this loss when you are supposed to advance in your studies?
- Drugs reduce self-esteem. How I look, how I will handle life, the face looks bad, not able to take good decision. This is not good for a student.
Advice to Parents
- Make sure your child goes to school and does not take another direction
- Parents should make daily schedules and follow. In this way, they can understand their children.
- Know the parties your children attend. It’s here that they may learn bad habits if not checked.
- Make time to be with your children, let work not deny them the chance to be with you.
- Control what they watch on the internet. Example, they may see someone who smokes, and they too want to try. There is no trying when it comes to drugs: the moment you start it, it carries you away.
- Check the rooms where your children sleep. What they keep in their rooms and bags will be surprise you.
- If I were a parent, I would use the internet to show to my children at young age, the effects of drug addiction. They will ask many questions, and I explain it to them so that they can understand.
- In a nutshell, parents should visit their children and get information about them from teachers and other students. This makes parents know their children’s behavior while in school.
Advice to the Government
Ministry of Education should instruct teachers to dedicate at least five (5) minutes after every lesson to teach about effects of drugs to students. This will help in prevention of addictions.
Patrick also shared his idea about the misconception people have about drugs or alcohol abuse
He shared these:
- That people think those who abuse drugs, alcohol and sex do so due to poverty. To him this is not true.
- That people who are addicted are less human, cannot think well anymore and therefore they are rejected by their families and the community. To him this is a mistake.
- People have thinking that those who are addicted to alcohol and drugs are violent. To him, the addicted need help that can make them recover.
- My own friends and those who know me did not belief that I have recovered from drugs and alcohol addictions: in 2022, between February and July, when I was invited on Radio Rwanda, Television Rwanda, City Radio and Capital FM, those who heard me speak and saw me on Rwanda Television could not belief it was me. To them my facial appearance, body language, testimony about how I started using alcohol and drugs, how I have recovered, how I missed siting for my final S.6examination examination is something they cannot belief in.
My own plan
- My Dream is to build a facility where children learn about effects of drugs so that we shall have addiction free generation.
- When Purpose Rwanda is creating awareness in schools about dangers of drugs, alcohol and sex abuse, I would like to take part and use my experience to educate others so that they do not drop out of school as it happened to me.
- When I get the opportunity, I would like to continue with studies. I was pursing Mathematics, Economics and Geography (MEG).
There is a lot to learn from this story depending on who has read it. But one thing is certain: if there is will, family support and conviction to beat addictions, it is possible; it is possible to collectively build a Purposeful and Addiction Free Generations.