Life is like the ocean, it will drag you with its currents or you can learn to surf
'A' level student-inmate from institution A4
I used to think that life was unfair and cruel, why do bad things happen to me? Why am I constantly being tested? Why can’t I be happy like everybody else? Someone once told me that happiness is a choice and can choose to be happy if I want to. I found it ludicrous! How can I choose to be happy when life keeps knocking me down? However, my time behind bars gave me a different outlook in life. It forced me to reflect on now my self-destructive behaviour trapped me in a vicious cycle, one that I desperately wanted to break.
I was not raised in a broken family. In fact, my family is the epitome of perfection. I have a father who works extremely hard to put food on the table and a mother whose heart is made of gold. Their love towards me and my brother knows no boundaries. The both of us have the luxury of having our own rooms, we never went a day hungry and have annual family holiday trips. This is why I cannot fathom how I became the dregs of society when my family is so put together. In a picture-perfect family, I was the black sheep.
Many would ridicule me for not appreciating what I have. But the lure of drugs were too strong for my already damaged soul. What started off a curiosity morphed into an addiction. Unbeknownst to me, I was pulled into a cycle. I had an insatiable appetite for the high life as it was an escape from the disappointment in my parent's eyes, from the world's lofty expectations of me, from my self-loathing thoughts. When I was high, everything felt right or rather, I could not feel anything. However, when the high wears off, I was forced to face my demons. Afraid to face them, I turned to my loyal companions. Thus, creating a vicious cycle.
Believe me, I tried to break out of the cycle. It was excruciating to break. It took an astronomical amount of effort pain and courage to put an end to a life of destruction.
But I did it! I got up and fought my demons. I found my passion-teaching children. I realised that there are more to life than drugs. The satisfaction of seeing my students & applying what I taught them and watching them grow beats any kind of ‘high'. My family saw the changes I made, and they were immensely proud of me. Finally! I was happy and felt that life was getting better. I fell in love to a responsible and hardworking man. We got engaged shortly and were in the midst of preparing for our wedding.
It was a year into my sobriety when I started missing my old life. We kept fighting over petty things which will blow out of proportion. I felt that he did not understand me and that all of it was too good to be true. That I am undeserving of a good life. That I will always be an addict. All these negative thoughts polluted my mind and I succumbed to it. My demons were lurking and calling out for me. I was delusional for thinking I was strong enough to defeat them. My life went spiraling down. I lost everything good in my life. My job which I loved. My fiancé who loved me. My family's trust. My happiness. All I was left with were the demons in my head and emptiness that swallowed me. All efforts in making that change were for nothing. I could hear my demons laughing at me. And so began my self-destruction but this time, it was back with a vengeance. I was unlucky this time as the actions landed me in prison.
Looking back, I allowed my cynicism to outweigh my optimism. I always choose to see the negative side of things and that gave me a fainted view of life. I did not trust anyone - not even myself. Through various classes and experiences, I have learnt to adopt an anti-negative thinking it was not easy they at first, but Rome was not built in a day. Recognising my mistakes made me learn more about myself and who I want to be. I want to be emotionally independent as my happiness is not tied to people or things. I learn to love myself because I am worth it even with all my flaws.
Life is like the ocean, it will either drag you with its currents or you can learn to surf. There is no survival manual or a "Dummies Guide to Life”. Everyone live their life differently based on their experiences, upbringings, or peers. What is important is that we take charge of our own life. I am done being a loyal slave to drugs and letting negativity consume me. I will go through the vicissitudes of life with optimism and perseverance. Sometimes we go through the ugly side of life so we can cherish the beautiful side of life. Indeed, happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy even as I continue to face adversities.