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Rajiv facilitating a session on drug abuse prevention Rajiv facilitating a session on drug abuse prevention
I am Rajiv, a recovering alcoholic and I am 32 years old. I had my first “Drink” when I was in the 9th standard of my school. I still remember the occasion as it was the New Years Eve and I was with my best friends. My first drinking experience was an unpleasant feeling. I remember going to bed dizzy with exhilaration and determined not to drink again. I spent the better part of my childhood like many other children whose parents were employed with the Indian Railways i.e., traveling from state to state.

During my schooling days I was a go–getter in almost every field related to studies and sports. This did not continue long, as at the age of 19 I had to join our family business and could not continue with my education. I started traveling a lot for work purposes and money started coming in easily and very soon I started losing control over myself. My loneliness, long days of stay away from home, drinking behaviors of my business associates coupled with having a lot of money at my disposal all played an important role in progressing me to becoming a regular drinker. This was just the beginning of my alcoholic life–style.

The early signs of big “Achievements” in life started fading away and my career drifted away from its original goal. All my ambitions and dreams got shattered. The only thing, to which I remained loyal, was my world of fantasies and my next drink. I always knew the best way to handle my drinking problem was to quit. My family and well wishers tried their best to help me quit. Like other alcoholics I quit many times, but was soon again back to square one. Bewilderment, fear, resentment moved into my life and my ability to lie outwardly, and maintain a grandiose attitude grew with every drink. I had to drink to live, to cope with the demands of everyday existence, and to encounter disappointments and frustrations. To me the only solution to any of my problem was to resort to drinking. By the year 1999 I had lost everything– my business, my friends, and my family by then had also given up all hopes. I became so weak that I could barely drag myself around. I can never forget “That night” when I woke up in middle of the night with shivers, sweat and fear to see my father weeping quietly sitting besides me.

I was finally picked up from my home on 1st January 2002 by The Calcutta Samaritans Detoxification and Rehabilitation team after a three year long chronic alcohol addiction. Here I completed a long but successful tenure of treatment and rehabilitation. The Calcutta Samaritans trusted me and gave me an opportunity to work with them on various projects related to drug abuse prevention. After all trial and errors this worked for me and I used this platform to help other peers give up drugs. It was in the year 2004 that I became associated with the Regional Resource & Training Centre (RRTC) department of The Calcutta Samaritans. Gradually I found that I could do many things without a drink i.e., write, answer the telephone, working on the computer (to be very honest I never handled computer before joining the RRTC), get through the day and the evenings, sleep at night and get up the next morning to begin another good day.

At present I am shouldering the responsibility of the RRTC as a Regional Support Person under UNODC’s Project H–13. I have been clean for over 3 years now and I am confident that I will continue to be clean for the better part of my life that’s yet to come.