There’s a whole lot of work to do – six articles to edit, a magazine to proofread, two book reviews, research for an article due next Thursday, an article “about anything” (really), politics-related writings, research on Web hosting and Internet marketing for a very dear friend… But for once, I’m going to ignore these and write this post.
It’s also because of some guilt – the comments from sepadu, satD, nadya.s and Capt here do have an effect on my conscience:-) Then there are those who have been prodding me elsewhere – Distractor (from Facebook), Sherry Nor-Jane; among others. And yes, it’s been a good 20 days since the last post: honestly, I do feel bad about people coming to see whether I’ve written something new – and being disappointed.
It’s been seven months since I started this blog, and it’s a good time to sit back and review what has happened. There have been a lot of good and great things that have occurred as a result, directly or indirectly. And there are also the bad things.
Then there’s one particular comment from An-Nimr at the Demi Negara blog… I don’t know how this post will come out – I have the feeling it’s going to be long and rambling because there are so many things on my mind right now. Well, as usual, I’m just going to write whatever comes to mind: this never-ending journey towards recovery and the struggle to try Live life on Life’s terms.
There are times when things are rough, like right now. There’s this matter of my case at the Syariah court, which would sap my emotional energy sometimes. And there’s also in dealing with a society that mostly refuses to give recovering addicts a chance; always too glad and ready to bring up incidents of past wrongs and expecting and hoping for… what?! that those like me would always suffer and be deprived of success and joy until we die?
Oh, practically all of them would proclaim “being supportive”, of course. However, their actions and words over a period of time would belie this; and bringing out what their real thoughts are. One of the reasons is because they had already come up with a conclusion, and have made it publicly known whenever there are discussions about “drug addiction”.
It’s this one: “Once an addict, always an addict… People who become addicted will remain this way until they die… they might stop for a while, but they will ALWAYS return to drugs.” “Dadah sudah sebati dalam tubuh, memang tak boleh tinggal,” they would sagely and smugly declare. And they’d give examples as proof of this – of someone they know who was addicted until he died, despite being sent to four pusats and five times in prison. To `strengthen’ their conclusion, they might quote some authority – doctors or AADK and police officers they claim to have heard from.
It’s a fact that people, by nature, want to be right. However, there are those who would somehow take it as an affront should they be wrong. Having already decided on this, they regard their opinions as “facts” that must be defended at all costs. So, when some former addict looks to be doing okay, they’d feel threatened – and harbour resentment too… They’d go out of their way to find `proof’ that “it’s only temporary – he’ll get back on drugs soon, if not already”.
And they’d wait with eagle eyes for the slightest `indication’ – real or otherwise – so that they can pull him down, “and put him where he belongs; in the gutter”. I have no doubts that should I suffer a relapse and slide, all of you here will hear about it in all its gory details – and more. The veracity of their `fact’ has been defended, and they’ll trumpet this for all to hear.
Yes, that’s the sad and disappointing part about the past seven months. Although I had expected some hostility when coming out in the open and being a visible target, I was still shocked with and angered by the devious manner in which they try to subvert and undermine. It’s me and my life, my name that they’re mucking up; so, if I don’t turn the other cheek but instead slash and hack, please don’t be too shocked. But I’ll get to this in its own good time.
Do I regret coming out into the open then? Definitely not, for indirectly, through the Grace of God, this blog has also helped to solve a major problem that I had faced for almost two years – unemployment. As it is, I’m now actually having to refuse new jobs and projects – at least until I’ve comfortably adapted to what I’m doing now. [I have to thank two people – Brigitte and Sheila especially… and Puteri Kamaliah, her son and David R too. But another time.]
No less importantly, I’ve come to know of some truly excellent people; of whom I would never have come across had I remained in the shadows… Elviza, Mat Salo, Datin Mamasita, Zara and others. And a few of them have become crucial factors in my life – people whose counsel I’d always seek when deciding on important matters. They have come through for me on quite a number of occasions; including a few really critical moments when I was on the brink.
CAPTION: Nazmi, Sharifah Nor Jannah and children during Raya Aidilfitri 2008… The single most influential factor during this journey of the past six months.
There’s also An-Nimr, with the uncanny ability to turn up at crucial times with crucial things – often without her realising it. For instance, there was something she wrote at Demi Negara a few days ago, when I was in emotional turmoil:
Who/where would this knight be without those positive urine tests of the past today?
“Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.”– Aldous Huxley
And the exemplary man you are today (as a result of your “experiences”), in conduct, speech and character plus an acute sense of perception, sensitivity and empathy for others, and your attempts to make every minute of this life count for something puts many of us to shame.
As I had replied to her then: “exemplary man” I certainly am not! And No, this isn’t “merendah diri” (humility) – she need only to ask my wife. But An-Nimr/Malaysian Tigress/Tehsin already knew of my case – and from Day One too. Why and How then did she come up with those lines, which describe “someone else”, whoever he is?
And something happened that day: I have to strive and be that person… Whenever a negative thought came up, I’d remember what Tehsin had written and try to correct myself – she might “have seen something”, and had actually written a creed for me to live by. Ah, Tehsin: You have made life difficult for me!:-)
By the way, to those who might not know Tehsin, all I’m going to say is this: After what she has gone through, she “has special powers” – things that Life doesn’t yield through reading books and having a PhD in Psychology, but “through painful experiences, and how one goes through with them”. As such, to me, what she says are always to be noted.
It was also through Tehsin that I’ve come to know of another special person – someone whom I look up to with admiration, and who helped to explain and make sense when some aspects of life appeared twisted. Like Tehsin, Shakirah has gone through challenges that would have mangled, crippled or totally break down those with lesser qualities; and she “knows things” as a result.
CAPTION: Shakirah Zain and youngest son, Muaz. Permission to use graciously given at 7.33PM on 14/3:-)
It’s interesting to note that all whom I’ve mentioned are better educated than I am: David R has a few degrees, all in different fields; Elviza and Zara are lawyers, of course; Sherry and Nazmi are both accountants, and Sherry has a MA too; Tehsin has a degree in Finance from the United States; and Shakirah has an Accountancy degree having studied in Australia and England. And I have, erm… not accepting a chance for a Mara-sponsored degree in English in England due to “misplaced priorities that came about through drug addiction in the late 70’s”, plus two way-not-completed courses…
But this is what that makes them special: Never, not even once, did they ever imply of being superior to me in any way. And with Sherry, Tehsin, Zara and Shakirah especially, there were a lot of chances for them to have done so, for I’m in frequent communication with them through SMS, calls, Yahoo Messenger and Facebook. But they didn’t.
There’s another thing that I’m appreciative of, and which has made me hold them in even higher esteem. Even from early on, they don’t even regard me as “a recovering addict” but… a person.
Besides Sherry, Shakirah too has been responsible for one very important improvement – self-esteem and confidence. Now this is someone who knows a lot about spiritual matters, and is always willing to share.
There were quite a number of times when chats with her would result in my being introduced to new concepts and perspectives that I never knew existed. And some were of such stunning significance as to make me feel liberated or empowered; and feeling that I’ve gotten more pieces of a jigsaw that make life a lot clearer. And simpler too.
With this matter that I’m facing now – the one at the Syariah court – the four of them, plus Sheila, have been of immense help. And comfort. I do have a basic idea of what the future would be, regardless of how things turn out at the court. Through them, I know what to strive for – bringing out the powers inside me and be the best that I can. Because of them, I don’t feel either superior or inferior to anyone anymore. Thanks to them, I’m my own person; whatever I decide what I want to be, not what others think I should be. Tehsin had written out some very high standards, and it scares me – someone who had done deplorable things in his life. But I want to be… why can’t I be? To those who have honestly and sincerely helped over the past seven months: Thank you, to all of you.