Before it turns your health upside down, addiction plays havoc with a person’s will power.
“Nasha was my life. I would begin and end my day with it. I had lost count of days, months, and years that had flown past me while I was in nasha”, recounts 25-years-old Naseem (name changed)
Naseem was an alcoholic for four years, from 2007-2011.
When Naseem graduated from school in 2007, his parents haboured hopes of seeing their youngest child in a white-collared job, unlike their three elder children – two sons and a daughter - all three married and working in the unorganised sector as labourers.
That’s how most people in his community, Bhalaswa in north Delhi subsist: as daily-wage laourers. Incidents of crime, drug abuse or nasha as people fondly call it, are widely prevalent here. Naseem unwittingly took to alcohol at quite an early age.
“As a 17-year-old, I was running on a very thin rope; there were enough reasons for me to not indulge in bad company, but at such a tender age, only bad felt good”, he grimaces.
Naseem began consuming alcohol in remarkable proportions since then. His tryst with intoxication continued for 4 years till Magic Bus intervened in the community. Nirmal, Magic Bus Youth Mentor marked the community as “high-risk” as it was known in the neighourhood for indulging in substance abuse.
Despite caution, Nirmal ventured into the community and began mobilising people. In the second month of meetings, Nirmal met Naseem. Naseem had potential but he was gradually throwing away all his talents through excessive drinking. It was Nirmal who introduced Naseem to Santosh, Training and Monitoring Officer, for rehabilitation and counseling.
“Santosh bhaiya was calm yet firm with me. In my first few sessions, I watched atleast five documentaries that showed me the fatal effects of alcohol. I began to analyse my activities objectively”, he explains.
The incident that shook him the most was when one of his dear friends collapsed in front of him due to excessive consumption of alcohol. He realised that it could have been him. All that Santosh bhaiya had been telling him about abandoning his habit came back to him. He took his friend to the hospital and vowed never to touch alcohol again.
Naseem was dejected. He experienced withdrawal symptoms after he gave up alcohol but he was ready to try and turn around his life towards a better future. That’s when something remarkable happened. Santosh bhaiya appointed him the Community Youth Leader. In one go, Naseem found himself being looked upon as a role model.
“ I will always credit Magic Bus for believing that I could be a better person, that not all was over. When one is fighting addiction, the belief and faith of the ones closest to you does a great deal of good. The first few months were unbearable without alcohol, but Magic Bus’ constant support and the company of children helped me forego my habit”, he smiles.
Today, Naseem works as a government contractor and continues to be Magic Bus Community Youth Leader. In his free time, he counsels children and youth who indulge in nasha. He gives his own example every time he faces a stubborn addict.
In fact when he shared his story, he believed that it would motivate anyone indulging in substance abuse to give up on their habit.
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