A man recounted with TVM his experience on drugs and gambling, describing the addictions as monsters. He says the road of freeing himself from these addictions was a long one, although he said that temptation remains and he combats daily against them. He acknowledges that Caritas services were an important factor in his life.
“You start with marijuana and they tell you it is nothing, when in reality it is…”
He started taking drugs at the age of 14 to overcome shyness and get well with friends. In time, when he didn’t find marijuana, he experimented with other drugs, such as heroin.
The man recalls that marijuana badly affected him psychologically and was admitted at Monte Carmeli hospital for treatment. “I spent some three and a half years, in and out of treatment…sometimes for three months or six months”.
He says that drugs took control of his life and he even tried suicide on various occasions. Through the insistence of his mother he sought the assistance of Caritas.
“You learn how to wait, to reason with yourself and think before you act”.
The Caritas programme completely changed the man’s life, although he says that after 20 years on drugs it wasn’t easy for him to be free. Now, he has not touched drugs for 10 years.
“I remained in touch with them and go frequently there…it is like when you service your car which gets a new life. Even when I feel unwell I visit San Blas to meet my friends and talk to them”.
Drugs weren’t the only problem he fought against. Through Gambling Anonymous he managed to stop gambling. He used to spend his monthly earnings on gaming and the more he worked, the more he played. “I used to gamble on everything”.
He has not gambled for a year, but insists that it is not easy for a person to keep a distance from gambling. “The monster is always there…if I see an outlet, I try not to please this monster, turn my face away and stop thinking”.
Caritas dedicates 70 per cent of its work with drug related persons. It also offers various social services from its main office at Floriana and has a number of support groups, such as that for persons with gambling problems, which is run by volunteers.