Homer had his first taste of shabu when he was just 17 years old. He was young and as a son of a policeman had some petty privileges of getting off hook easily when he was in fray with authorities.
Studying at a private Catholic school did not deter Homer from engaging into his adventures that would lead him to dangerous behavior sometimes. Money was not a concern for him. Being the youngest in the family, he enjoyed the favors of his parents. He was too young and too carefree.
When he graduated high school, Homer enrolled in college and studied in becoming a Nurse. He displayed aptitude for the academics.
He can earn high grades despite his non-commitment to studying. This fed his ego. He can get away more from his misbehaviors just because he was able to secure high grades from his professors. Homer is very social by nature. He can charm his way in.
He can become an instant favorite just because he displays that “little boy” enigma he would use to manipulate. And because of this, he finished college without really putting in a lot of effort, but the real gauge of learning came when he took his board exam and flanked.
Homer, failed to become a licensed Registered Nurse. He also lost the confidence of his father who placed high hopes in his natural ability to excel in academics. Homer’s ego was bruised by the disappointments expressed to him by his family. He further took to spending more time with friends who jammed with him in doing drugs.
Homer landed a job in Singapore. He worked there as nursing aide. His host country has a steep policy on drug use. This prevented Homer from seeking it and remained sober while he was working there. Things changed when his father died in 2009.
He came home for the funeral but his friends were also waiting for him. Soon he was doing drugs again. He came back to Singapore but would always find ways to go back home filing leave of absence just so he can use drugs with friends. This cycle continued until 2010 when his money got depleted and ran out of reasons to use for filing LOA to his boss in Singapore.
His failure to go back to Singapore dragged him further deeper to drug addiction. No work but with a lot of time, Homer lost all control of his life. Homer became to his mother for finances and drugs also demanded more chunk from the family’s finances.
Homer started stealing. Cellphones started to come missing and other valuables like money, jewelry and appliances (at least the ones he can carry). He would sell anything of value he can find at home. His mother’s home where his other siblings’ family resides, became a place of anger and distrust, repeated hurts and endless lies. Homer spiraled some more. Soon enough, he was kicked out of the family home by his siblings. This broke Homer’s mom’s heart but at that moment, the family decided it’s best for Homer to be on his own.
Homer started living with friends, did more drugs and would also be kicked out eventually. Left with nowhere to go, he lived like a street dweller. He would sleep inside parked jeepneys. He asked food from friends and neighbors who still knew him and his family. Sometimes, a kumpadre would give him food in exchange of some menial service of washing the dishes or cleaning toilets.
Ever since Homer was left by his wife in 1999, he just started blaming everyone for the losses he went through. However, Homer’s mom was relentless. Her love for her son moved her to seek for him non-stop. Sometimes, she would get a lead where her son might be and there, she went to give him food or money and asked him to just come home. Homer was a proud man. He just continued to live in the streets. He made sure his family understood his pains and his feeling of rejection was because of them. Things changed when 2016 came.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte declared an all-out war against drugs and the extensive sweep of drug users happened in Manila City.
Again, Homer’s mother begged him to just come home and seek help. Their family earned a bit of influence in their community because of his late father who was a policeman.
Homer’s family sought the help of the Barangay to facilitate his surrender and his inclusion to a community-based drug rehabilitation program. Homer enrolled in the Sanlakbay program. This is where he met Fr. Bobby Dela Cruz.
Homer said it was a process for him to learn the idea of owning his decisions in life.
It did not come down easy for him to see for the very first time how selfish he was. However, this was enough for him to start his journey towards recovery.
Homer was faithful to attend all the program sessions and when his course ended, he attended further formation via Neo-Catechumenal Way in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Quezon City. The more Homer got to know himself, the more he saw how low he fell but yet at the same time, all the more he understood how deep was the Lord’s love for him is.
For Homer, recovery was not an overnight process. Rather, it was a daily decision to stay sober. The biggest lesson for Homer is the understanding that he can’t change himself. He doesn’t have anything in him to boast that he can run his life drug-free except that he constantly needs help from God. He goes to the sacraments for help.
So, he also attends the weekly meetings with Sanlakbay’s Ugnayan. This is a Narcotics Anonymous meeting regularly held at the Sanlakbay Office. And when Sanlakbay Center needed volunteers to do some work in the office, Homer was the first man who came for the job.
Later on, his sincerity and dedication awarded him a job in the center.
Homer’s biggest gift from the Lord came, when his children now adults, reconnected with him. Homer is just grateful for the chance to rebuild his relationship with them. And just recently, they treated him to a dinner.