Just for Today – PKAADK, Pendamai

Quite a few things on my mind right now besides writing this post and satisfy Tehsin; who, among others, are understandably annoyed with my leaving things hanging (again) with the last post.

benjy-llpk There’s also the matter of the South Korean ship; Bob Geldof’s daughter, Peaches; and the detention of actress Azean Irdawaty’s son. The last two involved drugs, which have a connection with this blog.

CAPTION: After two weeks in detention for the possession case, Benjy was charged in court. After his mother posted bail, he was rearrested. Pix from The Malay Mail

And the Korean matter – yes, I’m concerned with the developments there…because of the presence of someone who is very important to me and my family. I can only hope that it doesn’t get out of hand.

But let’s leave the present for the time being and continue with what the previous post was about.

kiapregio The last time I saw Abdulrahim Abdul Rahman was at 1.30 PM on Monday 18 December 2006, as a spanking-new AADK Kia Pregio took us from the Pusat Khidmat AADK Kuantan at Jalan Gambut to the Terminal Makmur a short distance away.

It was a very special day for me and nine others. That was the much talked about, speculated and awaited – the day of the Bebas. The AADK wasn’t going to just give us our watikah and let us loose, no – they insisted on holding a ceremony… We, the group of selected inmates from the centres in Pahang, who had spent our last three months undergoing a special programme. And Rahim; he was a Pembimbing Rakan Sebaya (PRS – Peer Group Guide) – an elite group of people with a very crucial role in drug rehabilitation.

Now, it’s a fact that no matter how honest and sincere an anti-drugs or rehabilitation officer is, there’s a limit as to his ability to reach the recovering addict. There are certain aspects of addiction that `outsiders’ could never fully realise and understand. Only someone “who had been there”, who had seen it and who had felt the corrosive effects of addiction on himself and his life, could have the same level of empathy with the addicts.

I had first known Rahim 10 months before that; when I was a red-shirted, Phase One Botak (Baldie..Newbie) at the end of November 2005. He was there with another PRS, Abang Man, and they were representing PENDAMAI.

By the way, in pusat culture, including and especially at psg-tshirtGambang, the botaks are the lowest in the pecking order and the food chain – sometimes literally (if there’s not enough of something, the botaks have to `voluntarily’ sacrifice their share). They also `volunteer’ for the toughest, dirtiest, most dreary work. Everyone starts as a botak.

CAPTION: The antithesis of the botak – the white-shirted, Phase 4 & Pre-Release Abang (Big Brother – Senior). Not everyone will be one – (i) those who had run away. (ii) obtained an early release due to “humanitarian reasons” (HIV, chronic illness, mental – real or imagined) (iii) those with pending criminal cases – they went to court..and never came back

Their visit and talk left a big impression on me. Here were people who had gone through the same things as we had. But there’s a big difference – they were respectable members of society while we were inmates of an institution. The one variable that had decided our lot in life at that time was… they no longer took drugs; they worked on their rehabilitation.

They gave me hope and courage to imagine and work for a better future. I was determined to follow what they had mentioned and not to “follow the crowd”. This included “to see our stay, court-ordered that it was, as an opportunity to create better things”. And also “not to engage in nonsense”.

That’s one of the main reasons why I did not take a single drop of home-brewed samsu (there were LOTS of opportunities for this, especially when I became a Pengawas in June 2006); or drugs or whatever substances. It wasn’t easy at times where I’d resent “missing out on a lot of fun”.

But it was these denials and keeping to the straight path – they build your inner strength and give real happiness. I was a slow learner of this fundamental principle of Life, as amplified in the School of Tots blog: “Life is About Choices”.I choose to not drink.. I choose to pray… I choose not to allow anger consume me and influence my decision…” And I saw my self and my life improving as a result.

I was looking for the chance to get into contact with Rahim, Abang Man and the Pendamai people. Through pamphlets lying around in the hostel, I learned that its office was at the PKAADK. In August, there came word that the PKAADK would hold a three-month programme for qualified pusat inmates.

I didn’t really want to leave Gambang. Things were quite comfortable and time flew by quite fast in an environment like that. However, there were advantages in going to PKAADK – firstly, I would no longer be shouldering the responsibility of handling the Cendana hostel, and especially the inmates’ welfare. I had held a few posts during my non-addiction days, including in a political party, but being the prefect of Cendana  is the one that I am proudest of.

I also would not have to put up with a certain type of melancholy that was becoming more frequent – separating from people I’ve shared so many happy memories with. The 15th and 30th of each month were the days when inmates are released, and I remember the sadness of the past few… 15 June – 056/05 `Az’, the charismatic 42-year-old prefect from Setapak, KL I took over from. His boisterous laughter was a part of the hostel – often, we would hear it from a distance when returning from the mosque.

And now it was quiet – I’d pass by his bed, remember him, and immediately become melancholic. This went on for days. I was going to suffer around six more release dates before my number comes up.

The third reason was no less important – I must get out of my comfort zone and prepare myself for the future. That means moving to Kuantan. The three months spent here were filled with various activities.

Rahim had handled a lot of them – his presence was the most important factor in my deciding to stay there. And we learned about “rehabilitation”… about what to expect when we re-enter society. The sharing of experiences was very important – he had been clean since around 1994, and had rebuilt his life bit by bit. It wasn’t smooth sailing all the way since, for he had to face various problems. But the most important thing is that, no matter how bad the situation appeared, “we never have to use drugs again”.

That day finally came – of completing the circle that had started at 9.00 AM on Thursday 11 August 2005 — a one-hour trip to get a RM10 tube of morphine “to help cope with self-hatred from a meaningless life tangled with hopeless situations”. Instead, it took 16 months and one week… and without the morphine.

And it wasn’t the same sad, defeated and humiliated person who was sent to Gambang in handcuffs in a police van on 8 November 2005. The person who boarded the 3PM TransNasional Kuantan-Kota Bharu bus: it was someone who, despite some anxiety concerning marital matters, was bubbling with hope, who had the courage to look at and acknowledge his mistakes, and who had the desire to make amends.Just For Today Book

Just for today my thoughts will be on my recovery, living and enjoying life without the use of drugs.

Just for today I will have faith in someone in NA who believes in me and wants to help me in my recovery.

Just for today I will have a program. I will try to follow it to the best of my ability.

Just for today through NA I will try to get a better perspective on my life.

Just for today I will be unafraid, my thoughts will be on my new associations, people who are not using and who have found a new way of life. So long as I follow that way, I have nothing to fear.

10 thoughts on “Just for Today – PKAADK, Pendamai

  1. salam pakmat chendana.

    how r u sir?.. hope everything is in good care n good health,.. beside the few disturbing news that make us think deeper – the drugs, the reason why people do drugs,..and all in between.

    u take good care pakmat. see u around.

  2. Bro cendana,
    can u share wt me the “…anxiety concerning marital matters”…on a personal basis. I will drive down to Pasir Mas one day and meet you, InsyaAllah.

    • Izaham, sorry for being late. I was aware of this since yesterday afternoon, but kept getting distracted from replying..

      It’s okay – I had mentioned about this in some posts. Actually, my marriage had almost collapsed even before I was sent to Gambang. But I was angered when in remand, for I knew she had prevented others from bailing me. I had kept that resentment throughout my stay at Gambang and PKAADK – the only thing that I didn’t make a serious attempt to rectify while there.

      But I had managed to mend relationships with my parents and sisters that were broken for a number of years. This I’m grateful to Allah for – even if I had to stay 2 years there to mend this, I would have gladly done so.

      Anyway, when I was released, I did have intentions to make amends with my wife. My parents and sister had supported my family during my stay there, so this prevented her from filing for a divorce when I was at Gambang.

      The problem was that both are “hard-headed, can’t lower themselves…” although I was willing/able to to a certain degree — humility learned from the stay, and was something I didn’t have before. I was willing to make amends..but when the other person didn’t pave the way, I couldn’t do so. Then an argument ended in her going to the court.

      But even then, the marriage could be saved because I was willing to lower myself to an extent..my parents and family were supportive of this. And hers too in the beginning. However, there were some deceitful people who harboured ill-will towards me – I’ll mention this to you another time. You’ll be shocked…

      BTW should you plan to drive over to here, PLEASE never ever make a surprise and unplanned call. There are very good reasons for this.. A few months ago, I couldn’t meet with Nazmi, Sherry’s husband. It was really unfortunate that on the day he was around here, I wasn’t well. And with satD – just as I was about to go out, I had to experience severe stomach pains…

  3. Salam Brother Cendana
    You are as strong as your name, I use it in aromatherapy as it seems to give character, stability and strength in all my oils. I couldnt comprehend everything you wrote in your your articles but somehow I can understand, and the emotion just moved me to tears.., how Allah loves you! He has blessed you with an amazing inert energy. I will doa’ that you are able to unleash the full power of it, and make use of it to the max. Amin. Take good care bro, and love Allah till it hurts,so that nothing and no one would ever hurt you ever again

    • An Nisaa,
      Thank you for your very kind comment here. It’s one of the most touching and most meaningful that I’ve ever received, and especially coming at a time when I’m facing a difficult period. I don’t know what it was and where that had moved you but it humbled me. However, I must state that I certainly am not strong – `fragile’ is the right description. I get cut and hurt quite easily and deeply. Character, stability, strength — these are the exact attributes that I lack and am seeking.

      This aromatherapy which uses cendana/sandalwood – where can I find it, please? Thank you very much for you doa, and the advice – as I had mentioned earlier, this has come at a critical moment.

  4. Salam Cendana,
    I prescribe the oils that I blend myself to my patients, but they’re mostly, hmm.. no, actually all women. However I would be more than happy to make a special blend for you. Its got powerful healing properties, and oiling the body was a practice of our Prophet Muhammad pbuh so I strongly advocate it. I could post it to you if you could provide me with an address.

    I still stand by my opinion – you are a person with extraordinary strength. Anyone less ordinary would not be able to withstand the suffering you have had to endure. Most people would say “well he chose to be that way” and even you yourself mentioned somewhere in your post that it was a matter of choice. I have my own theory about this, about addiction and about making a turnaround in life. I would describe your situation as being a victim of circumstance or more accurately a “victim of consequence”. This is why I was in tears while reading your post and I couldnt really make out (and thus comprehend)what you wrote with my vision blurred, but what I experienced was an extremely heavy, full, almost explosive sensation on the chest.

    MC, without strength, you would not be able to expose in (remarkable) detail your life and how you started becoming an addict, neither would you be able to admit to your weaknesses and express your real feelings. I have never come across a man who has had the ability to admit that he has an ego and few have admitted to making mistakes. Humility is rare and a grossly underrated virtue these days, and to me, it is the evidence of the strength that lies within you.

    • Salam An Nisaa,
      This comes a full 24 hours after your comment – yesterday was an exceptionally tough and difficult day with a particular matter, which had diverted a lot of my time and attention.

      I’m quite ignorant about aromatherapy and oils and don’t know beyond general assumptions which could be inaccurate. This practice of oiling the body – I remember having read about it in Indian culture too. Well, since you have to make a special mixture just for me, I’m now quite hesitant about it. But at the same time, there’s also a strong desire to have it; especially when you mention “healing properties”. Okay, the only way that I’ll not feel guilty is by paying for it and the postal charges – in full, with no subsidies. If it’s “beyond my budget”, then I will have to spread it over two payments. I’ll email you my address.

      Your mentioning of “victim of consequence” has opened up a new concept for me. I’ve never seen myself as `victim’ due to my own specific choices. I’ll be giving this more thought. But whatever, I feel the most important thing is what we do about it. And the things that I endured, which you attribute to extraordinary strength (which made me blush) … what else could I do about it except to endure? It’s something like having to wait an extra two hours for a replacement bus to start your trip after the original one broke down — is it “extraordinary patience” on a passenger’s part? He just had to wait for it.

      This ability to expose things – I attribute this to lessons I had learned through Narcotics Anonymous. Previously, for sure I would/could not have done so. Probably, I would try to justify every mistake and weakness that I do mention…and trying to blame others for it.

      Well, thank you again for your very kind words, and the very touching comments. They really make my day:-)

  5. Oh by the way MC, character, and a very strong one at that, is there too, buried deep under guilt, fear, anger, despair…Hurt is only a perception of the mind of which the spirit and the emotion has control over, if you tell yourself it hurts, it will…

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