Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 20th 2014 Contents A38
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, August 20, 2014
CONTINUES ON PAGE A37
Ammon quickly put the advice to
"I experimented with other drugs
before, but I never got addicted to any.
I suppose they all never had the kind
of effect cocaine had on me. It became
the norm for me to snort cocaine in
the restrooms of nightclubs while I was
The former merchandising manager
was eventually introduced to another
grade of cocaine---crack cocaine. Pow-
dered cocaine would just sober him up,
but crack gave him what he described
as an "out-of-body" experience.
He graduated from smoking crack
in the form of a "black cigarette" (a
combination of tobacco, marijuana and
cocaine all rolled into one joint), to
smoking crack via the pipe, something
he was warned against by friends. But
the warning fell on deaf ears. Ammon
wanted to experience higher heights.
He began living a double life. By day,
he would go to work and at night he
would hit the bars, then head home to
His family and employer soon found
out about his addiction and both urged
him to get help. He was eventually sent
to counselling by his employer, through
the company s employee assistance
But this did not help. In fact, Ammon
admitted, if anything, it taught him
how to hide his addiction better. With
the false belief that he was doing better,
things began to look up on his job and
he was even promoted
But in the background his addiction
only grew stronger. He spent less time
at parties and drinking at bars and more
time at home, smoking crack.
His lifestyle took an emotional toll
on his elderly parents and an aunt who
lived at home with the family.
"They would talk to me, but I never
listened. I wondered why were they
being bothered by something that I
was doing to myself? But in reality
when the addict is using a drug, he
ultimately becomes the family s drug,
because now they are completely occu-
pied with trying to save this person."
Things fall apart
Ammon s growing crack addiction
inevitably affected his job. Spending
late nights smoking crack eventually
led to poor punctuality, failure to meet
deadlines and generally unsatisfactory
"I knew what was going on and I
really tried to stop. I would tell myself
I would not smoke it for so many hours
tonight, or I would try and stay away
addiction, I really could not help
After many verbal and written warn-
ings, Ammon lost his job in 2012 and
crack became his 24-hour nurse.
"The thing about addiction is that
the addict always believes they can
return to that time when they could
have managed the drug but that never
happens. We do not realise how far
we ve gone or how deep we re in."
Recognising his downward spiral, he
admitted to his family that he needed
help and asked to go to rehab. However,
even that he thought he could control.
He did not want to go to a rehab centre
in T&T and instead asked the family
to send him to the Crossroads Reha-
bilitation Centre in Antigua.
They disagreed. Their decision only
infuriated Ammon and fuelled his
addiction further. He began losing
weight and hallucinating and his rela-
tionship with family and friends dete-
"I was in pure isolation," he said.
It was at that point he really hit rock
bottom and with nowhere to go, he
made up his mind to truly surrender.
"I told my family that I will go any-
where and do anything that they want-
ed if it would make me well again."
They decided he would attend the
New Life Ministries Rehabilitation Cen-
tre at Mt St Benedict, St Augustine. In
2013, he checked in, spending the first
three months of the two-year pro-
gramme in-house. There, he learned
of the disease of addiction. He learned
more about self-esteem, how to com-
municate better, humility, anger man-
agement, triggers that can contribute
to relapses and most importantly, to
accept responsibility for his own
"It was not the easiest being in rehab.
I did some things I never had to do for
myself, like wash my own clothes by
hand, wash many wares...sometimes
some huge pots and pans," he jokes. "I
constantly had chores and then of
course I was dealing with the various
personalities of other recovering addicts.
"But all of it helped in creating the
A new life
Today, Ammon is completing a
course in Caribbean regional addiction
studies with UWI, St Augustine s Open
Campus. He also works as a volunteer
twice a week at the centre.
He says now, "Addiction is a disease
just like any other disease. Addicts need
to take their medication, which comes
in the form of meetings. In these meet-
ings we listen to the stories of other
addicts, which are constant reminders
of where we were and where we ought
not to return.
"All of the Alcoholic Anonymous
(AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
fellowships follow the 12-step pro-
gramme, which helps the addict to
understand and accept his disease and
to also realise through regular fellow-
ship, there is hope."
Recovery is not just about staying
clean from drugs, he explained, because
once you stop taking drugs there is a
void that needs to be filled. Rather it
is living life on life s terms without the
use of drugs, one day at a time. Finding
and connecting with a higher being is
also paramount in one s recovery
process, he stresses.
"I strongly believe part of the
reason for me going to rehab was
through my family s prayers to save
my life. And I owe my staying
clean to my newfound connection
with that higher being.
"This is really the only way any
addict, I think, can truly surrender,
by letting go and letting that
supreme being take control."
If you or someone you know
needs help with addiction, visit
call 679-0066 to find an AA near
you. For Narcotics Anonymous, e-
mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 367-
For the Substance Abuse and
Prevention Centre, call 662-2211/14.
Service is available 24 hours.
TO GET HELP
"I strongly believe part of the
reason for me going to rehab
was through my family's prayers
to save my life. And I owe my
staying clean to my newfound
connection with that higher
being. This is really the only way
any addict, I think, can truly
surrender, by letting go and
letting that supreme being take
Addictions too deep to help himself
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