Enrique became a drug addict at 11 and grew up quick to anger and cuss at the slightest provocation. His own relatives used drugs regularly and introduced Enrique to shabu. This led him to experiment with alcohol and all the drugs he could get his hands on, including the medicines of his bedridden tita who had cancer.
“The drugs made it hard to focus and be interested in anything,” Enrique shares. By the time he reached college, his long and heavy drug use had slowed down his reflexes alarmingly. “My body couldn’t follow my mind anymore,” Enrique recalls. “When I wanted to react a certain way, my brains couldn’t form the neural connections to make me say and do what I wanted.” It got so bad that the days became an incoherent haze with Enrique popping in and out of reality.
After just one semester in college, Enrique dropped out. He transferred to another school but that didn’t work because he just skipped lunch to spend his tuition in the beer house where he’d drink himself into a stupor. He’d pass out and wake up in the street not remembering anything. “I didn’t care about anything. I questioned everything, including my existence.”
“I thought drugs were cool at fun at the time,” Enrique says. He remembers being high at the beach and thinking the sand was Tinkerbell’s dust! “I was so stupid!” He smiles sheepishly. “I was still a child! I am sure that the drugs I took are to blame for my brains not developing to their maximum.”
One fateful day, Enrique and his friends found an abandoned house. “The moment we shot up, our senses were heightened 100 times and we thought the abandoned house was a snazzy bar. We were high and overflowing with love for each other.” Enrique was on the second floor enjoying himself so much that he ignored his thirst and didn’t go down to drink water. Already very dehydrated, Enrique shot up again and overdosed. “I was on the floor, dying, my brains fried, haunted by deathly visions I was not supposed to see. My lust and anger – all the thoughts I thought had no meaning – built up and externalized. I felt broken and unable to gather myself. I was a thousand million pieces and had different thoughts at the same time. Murag buang. (I had gone crazy.)”
Enrique barely survived the overdose. A few hours later when he was already home, he was still high. He knew something was amiss when his deathly hallucinations didn’t stop. He continued seeing piercing eyes and hearing taunting voices. Enrique remembers thinking, “If this is life, if the world is really mean, then I want to stop existing.” His hallucinations promptly ended. “I wasn’t afraid to die anymore,” Enrique realized.
During the next three (3) weeks, Enrique pushed himself to take back control of his life. He met a group of individuals who were giving a workshop on cultivating inner courage. Enrique was impressed and fascinated. Several months later, Enrique joined the same workshop with different participants. The organizers of the workshop invited Enrique to join their weekly meetings and introduced him to anthroposophy and Steiner/Waldorf education. Enrique began hanging out with his new friends more and more and lapping up books about inner work and social action.
In the company of these nurturing friends, Enrique greatly improved. He still smoked weed every now and then though. The habit was hard to break. Until he realized he could be so much more if he wasn’t dependent on any substance to be okay.
Enrique says, “I didn’t develop until I started meditating. My improvement was slow when I didn’t meditate.” Every time Enrique smoked weed, what he had gained from meditating, he lost and had to start over. So he stopped taking weed and explains, “I put so much effort into reaching a certain level during meditation and be able to reflect clearly. I wasn’t going to throw that away over and over again.”
It’s been several years now since Enrique’s overdose. Today, he is in the driver’s seat of his life again. With determination and discipline, he is keeping a healthy lifestyle, taking care of what he says and what he thinks and feels, as well as what he puts inside his body. He meditates the moment he wakes up, before going to bed, and whenever necessary. His strong will has set him on a new trajectory rewarding him with good company and meaningful engagements that nurture the environment and empower people. Otherwise he doesn’t want any part of it. “There is no point in staying small,” Enrique emphatically declares.
Note: Enrique has worked as a games teacher in a Steiner school, opened his own bike shop, managed an alternative cafe bar, and is currently involved with helping scientists and organic farmers work together. To learn more about MISSION Courage Workshops that was Enrique’s first step to healing. Visit www.imaginalmission.org to learn about a MCW near you and the imaginals behind it.