Whenever I meet people who are unaware of my past, they see me as who I am now and can never imagine I was a hardcore addict. More so, some may doubt that I did sleep in the streets, inside parked jeepneys, and along the boulevards and rummaged for thrown fast food packs when hungry. Here is someone who can validate my story as he shares his courageous, honest and incredible story of recovery. Written in his own words, here is JV’s story:

Hi! My name is JV and im 33 yrs old. Masasabi ko na lumaki ako na marangyang ang pamilya. Ang father ko ay Vice president ng isang company and ang mother ko ay housewife.

My parents provided everything I needed. In short “spoiled” ako. I studied in private schools. Naalala ko pa every weekend namamasyal kami out of town, shopping, eating sa five-star hotels

As a 9 year old with his mother after winning 3rd place in the school declamation contest

But everything changed when my father died. My mother could no longer afford sa schooling at needs ko. She decided to transfer me to a public school. I was hurt dahil sa pagkawala ng father ko at hindi na naibibigay ang mga bagay na gusto ko. Naglayas ako sa amin at the age of 14.

I started living on the streets of Manila, at the Luneta Park, vacant jeepneys and sa Roxas blvd. Pag umuulan para akong basang sisiw hahayaan ko lang matuyo ang damit ko sa katawan ko ng natutulog ako sa jeep.

Magugulat na lang ako na gigisingin ako ng driver dahil papasada na siya and I need to look again kung saan matutulog. Pag hindi ko na kaya tiisin ang gutom ko, mga tira-tira sa fast food kakainin ko or pupunta ako sa mga feeding program.

That’s where I met some people who used drugs and alcohol. Nung una nililibre ako. Pero at the end gusto na nila ako gumastos. They taught me how to earn money.

We went to Isetan Recto at binugaw nila ako. In short I become a “call boy”. After ako “gamitin” ng mga customer, gagamit naman ako ng drugs.

Volunteering as a nursing assistant and on his way to graduating his caregiver course.

I was earning a couple of hundred pesos every day but at the end sa drugs at alcohol ang ending. Sa kalye pa din ang bahay ko for almost a decade. I didn’t even care about my life as long as I use drugs and alcohol.

There are times na sa sobrang kalasingan ko sa tabi ng kalsada ako nakakatulog kung saan dinadaananan ako ng tao. Pag gising ko wala na akong tsinelas, pera at kung ano man ang may value na dala ko. But my addiction never stopped.

I still continued using drugs and alcohol. Dumating sa point na napagod na ako, I decided to go home at the age of 24. I graduated from high school. I went to college and took BSN ( Nursing).

After a month sa school, my classmate invited me to drink, then I blacked out. I did not know what I was doing the following day. I woke up at the police station and the police told me I threatened my mother with a knife! I cannot imagine na nagawa ko yun! Mahal ko ang mother ko. It was all because of alcohol.

My siblings decided to kick me out of the house because of the shame na dinulot ko at sa behavior ko. I went back again sa kalye sleeping on the streets and started “selling myself” to sustain my addiction needs. Then I met a girl. We lived together. I finally decided to work, instead of continuing being a callboy.

Then she got pregnant. We moved to Dumaguete worked in a call center. I was able to provide for the needs of my family. After she gave birth I was happy and excited! I was not able to control myself that I celebrated and drank alcohol again.

I ended up sleeping on the Dumaguete Boulevard. I woke up at 2 pm na tirik ang araw and I did not know where I parked my motorcycle. My wallet was gone and one shoe was missing.

The following day I continued to drink almost everyday. There were times that when I got drunk I eould beat up my wife. Kung hindi na ako lasing puno ako ng pagsisi hangang sa dumating sa point na natanggal ako sa trbaho because of my absentism and going to work intoxicated.

One day pag uwi ko I discovered my partner and my daughter left me. I don’t t know kung saan sila pumunta. I hated myself and tried to commit suicide.

I slashed my pulse but luckily I survived. I only had 700 pesos left. I decided to move to Cebu. Luckily I got hired on the same day. Nung kumikita na ako my addiction started again.

Every payday I would always take drugs and drink alcohol. Natatanggal ako sa work because of my behaviour. For almost 10 years naka 20 plus call center companies ako and never ako naregular.

Ang pinakamatagal na stay ko sa company was 3 months. It came to the point na wala na ako maapplyan and I could not re-apply because of my blacklisted record.

Hanggang dumating sa point pumupunta ako sa Ayala mall and started eating leftover food sa food court. I didn’t even have money for my resume para maka apply. I did not know where to go.

As a SafeHaven Life Recovery Village Staff

Drugs and alcohol destroyed me, my family and people who loved me hanggang sa naisip ko to put myself into treatment. On September 2018 I went to SafeHaven Recovery Village. They accepted me with open arms.

Thru the program and staff, I was able to realize things with the help of Pastor Ronnie Delos Santos and professional recovery coaches for addiction

They were able to show the love and joy that my addiction took away from me. Ngayon nag-aaral ako ng Caregiving! In a few months I will finally graduate.

I have been clean and sober for almost 2 years this coming September 2020. Iam now a regular staff in Safehaven helping suffering addicts realize that there is HOPE and change is possible.

I was able to accomplish the things na hindi ko na achieve noon. Now my wallet has never been empty. I eat three times a day. I have a good place to sleep.

I am no longer suffering. Hindi ko man makuha ang mga bagay na nawala sa akin, pero unti-unti bumabalik. Ang importante for now sa akin I was able to receive and give love and respect again. This time I will never let addiction steal the love and joy that God placed in my heart.

#safehavenrecovervillage #baifoundation