'N' Level student-inmate from Tanah Merah Prison
Some people simply drift through life without a sense of purpose or direction. Often seeking ephemeral pleasures, instant gratification and only “Live for the day.” These hedonists are usually so caught up in the present moment that they seemed incapable of seeing the consequences of their actions. Their choices, when they can summon the will to choose, tend to take the path of least resistance. I was once, such a person.
Since young, I lost my father. My mother a stoic women, raised my single-handedly despite our circumstances, she tried her best to provide my material and emotional needs. However, I was rebellious and obstreperous by nature and had a recalcitrant attitude towards discipline. I turned from bad to worse and started mixing with the wrong company. Soon, my impressionable mind was exposed to and inundated with unsavoury influences and vices of every kind.
I became intrigued and enticed by the glamour of substance abuse. A confluence of events led me to cross the Rubicon and I got myself involved in drugs.
There is a saying that goes; one puff is too many, and then a thousand is never enough. Thus, before long, I found myself heavily addicted to drugs. Those friends (Fiends), that used to supply me drugs for free, started charging exorbitantly. Initially, I would pilfer from my mother, and when is left with no money to steal, I would resort to petty crimes and eventually peddling drugs to feed my pernicious and expensive habit. During my drug-induced stupor, days passed like a drunken haze, and strangely, I felt neither compunction nor contrition for what I did then. I was only concerned on how and where I procure the money for my next fix.
In the span of a year, my life spiraled out of control. Deep in my heart, I knew it was only a matter of time before the long arm of law caught up with me. My world came crashing down one day, when I was ensnared in an island wide drug sting. It was then that I knew that the day of my reckoning had come. A cocktail of emotions washed over me, a bittersweet feeling laced with pain, regret, sadness and relief. The pain of being arrested and the sweet relieve from my tormented existence. Being addicted to illicit drugs and constantly trying to satisfy its insatiable cravings is likened to trying to fill up a bottomless pit with a shovel.
It has been two years since that fateful day, and I have been languishing in prison since. Surrounded by steel doors, iron bars, a plethora of rules and a motley assortment of criminals as companions. Even though I lost my freedom, I gained something else in return. The demon that had held me in bondage has been vanquished. The fog of miasma that had shrouded me in darkness, lifted. Those dark and dreadful days were over. Sobriety, allows me to see with clarity now, realising my follies, and to appreciating my life, freedom and most importantly, my mother.
Life is a journey, and everyone embarks on it the moment they are born. The vagaries and vicissitudes of life encapsulates us all. Life’s journey, from cradle to the grave, is fraught with felicities and sorrows, opportunities and difficulties, crossroads and dead-ends.
For me, the road to recovery will be a long and arduous journey, and I may stumble along the way. But I know for every step I take, it brings me closer to my prize, at the end beyond the horizon. A life of hope and a better future.