Addict takes lead in fight against drugs

He is now a counsellor for drug-addicts in Nazareth Formation House

Aldo Bonifacio from Philippines is a counsellor for drug-addicts in Nazareth Formation House, a facility that helps in de-addiction of upper middle class youth in that country.

Twenty-five-year old Bonifacio himself has spent three years at the centre for the treatment of high levels of addiction.

He started taking marijuana at the age of 12 to rid himself of sexual-abuse memories that were inflicted upon him as a child by the maid of the house. She used to send him to the company of her homosexual friends by charging 500 peso each time.

“That time they told me it is love. I could not approach my parents as they were always busy with work and I also did not understand that I was being exploited. But the incidents left harrowing marks on my mind,” said Bonifacio.

He was unable to confide in  his elder brothers too as the relationship was more of bullying than protection. Bonifacio slowly got addicted to drugs. It was a matter of time that he started on cocaine. By the age of 18, he had attempted suicide many times.

“While taking drugs I thought I was having fun. But deep inside me I was getting very unhappy about life and felt that I was dying. I had developed major suicidal tendencies,” he said.

He indulged in lot of criminal activities including shooting at people. He had many court cases against him. Then his parents took notice of the seething problem. He asked them to send him to a rehabilitation centre.

“This helped me develop a good relationship with my father until then we hardly used to talk. Nazareth Formation House was a Catholic set-up where we were treated with a God-centric approach. We were made to do a lot of meditation. I did a lot of manual work too which included farming and construction activities,” said Bonifacio.
Having never done any manual work at home, this treatment kept him busy and helped him look up to a variety of aspects in life, he added.

“Being an addict, I was very arrogant. The treatment made me humble,” said Bonifacio.

As a counsellor
For the past three years, he is helping the foundation as a counsellor. He has also been chosen by the Colombo Plan, an Asia-Pacific association of 26 countries, for their certificate course to treat drug-addicts.

Attending the 6th Asian Recovery Symposium in New Delhi, he looked elated about his future plans.

“I am planning to open a centre of my own within a year or two. I will, thus, be able to help many more addicts,” said Bonifacio.

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