BY RONALD TASAYCO
I was about 15 or 16 years of age and at high school when I began to smoke marijuana. I was in it for the fun with a few friends and within three years I was addicted.
Some years prior my younger sister had a serious injury and for years required constant treatment. Eventually she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which put a lot of pressure on our family’s resources.
As my parents had to work around the clock to help cover costs, I didn't see much of them. My dad was a policeman who did not earn a lot. He needed to get a second and third job to help cover all the costs.
With my parents so caught up working, I was free to go my own way but clearly I got lost.
To pay for my addiction I began to steal from home and from others. I had begun university studies but soon dropped out and just hung about with my friends who were also into drugs. I didn't study, had no job and had given up on life, including on my family.
Eventually, on seeing the suffering that I was putting my parents through, I began to take stock of what I was doing.
My parents eventually got through to me and with the help of Columban Fr Leo Donnelly (pictured with me), I started rehabilitation at a nearby hospital.
Around that time some women from our small parish community came to the house to invite my dad to a retreat and he persuaded them to invite me. Of course, he told them about the problem I was dealing with. That invitation came at just the right time for me.
I am now 27 years of age and have a good job selling financial products in a credit union.
Addiction, family and God (The Far East)