Mathew Thomas was born on 20th December, 1994. His family consisted of four people. He has one elder brother, Jason. Mathew is currently an international student in college. He has faced and overcome several challenges in life, both in school and at home. One of the major challenges, that he has successfully overcome, are smoking and alcohol abuse. The essay shows what made him start smoking and drinking, what made him stop and the effects of this event on his life.
Discussion of the Events
He started his first level of education in a public school, where he regularly interacted with other children from his neighborhood. The early years of his life were what many refer to as a normal life. He grew in an average neighborhood, which had no extreme conditions in terms of poverty, criminal wealth and religion. His religion was similar to that of his parents which is Roman Catholic. His parents were free from drug abuse, and they always advised him against it. However, his brother drank regularly and was also a smoker. Mathew’s hobbies were playing soccer, badminton and chess. He liked Mathematics and wished to become a computer programmer.
Three years ago, he developed a habit that threatened to change his life significantly. He accompanied his brother to a holiday camp. The camp was to last for a month. At this age, he always stayed at home during the holidays. The only time he was away was during school and family trips. Therefore, there was always some kind of supervision on what he did away from home. This time, however, he was only under the watch of his brother and his age mates and friends. There were no adults to order him around or control his behavior. His brother, being a frequent drug user, influenced his actions throughout the camp. He came with cigarettes and alcohol to their tent with several friends. They drank and smoked for long hours and would sometimes extend into all night.
Mathew’s perspective on bad habits changed from then. His brother told him that true initiation to a man meant using drugs, since they were meant for adults. His brother also told him that the only reason drugs were prohibited to those under the legal age was only because the adults did not want their children to have fun. This pressure from Jason and his friends made Mathew try the drugs himself. He started by taking a beer and a cigarette and finally ended up spending time with his brother and friends taking alcohol and smoking. By the time he was through with the camp, he was a regular smoker, just like his brother.
However, he realized that his life was in danger after he faced different problems as a regular smoker. He could no concentrate well in class without having to smoke before the lesson. His smoking frequency increased. He started smoking at intervals of one hour. Sometimes, he would even go out before the end of a lesson to smoke. He quit playing soccer due to fast body fatigue, and he was even replaced in the school team. The person who initiated his healing was his mother. She introduced him to a group of young people who went on voluntary missions to different parts of the country. On all trips, there was a counsellor who accompanied them. The counsellor approached Mathew and told him to share his feelings and problems. He shared his smoking problem with the counsellor.
The counsellor, Miss Margaret, played a major role in changing his life. First, she advised him to stay away from other smokers as much as possible, especially from his brother. This is because the urge to smoke is increased by seeing others smoke. Miss Margaret also gave him a small device which generated a small electric current, enough to cause some pain without causing bodily harm. Any time he had the urge to smoke, he would use the device on his index finger. The pain reminded him of the inner harm the cigarette would cause to his body. The counsellor also explained the symbolism of the device. The small electric charge signified one packet of cigarettes. The more the charge is, the more the harm it would cause to the body. Therefore, more packets meant more harm to the body. She also gave him a book that had photographs of individuals who exhibit adverse effects of smoking. The counsellor made him carry the book all the time. He would look at the photographs any time he felt like smoking. Through these photographs, he could see what he would be in the future and it stimulated him to avoid the habit.
His rehabilitation program started six months after he started smoking. It only took him three months to stop smoking completely. However, the process was not easy. The withdrawal symptoms were severe. He had lack of appetite, paranoia and even amnesia. With the help of a doctor, he was able to curb these symptoms and return to living a normal life. He was happy that he had finally quit the habit. He went back to playing soccer. His coach appreciated his efforts and even made him the soccer captain. The whole process went a long way in changing the course of his life. He took it as a learning experience. He realized that following others blindly is a great mistake. His drug problem was a result of following his brother’s lead blindly. This event changed the course of his life positively and he will never be the same again.
He initiated a peer counselling group in his neighborhood which went a long way in liberating other young people from drug abuse. This includes his brother. He always holds sessions with other young people with a similar problem and tries to assist them find solutions to their problems. This event also helped him in making proper decisions about life issues. He cannot allow other people to make decisions for him. This refers to both, major and minor decisions. It made him have a high self-esteem. This did not mean that he could not listen to others and only followed his ego. His parents helped him greatly during this process. Therefore, he also found out that it is important to heed the advice of elders. This process also made him realize that the progress of one’s life is greatly affected by his/her perceptions about problems. He learnt that he has the ability to initiate and effect major changes in his life. He believes that nothing is impossible with the right attitude and effort. He trusts his leadership qualities and believes that he has a great future ahead.
This event made him realize that the views of others should not determine one’s conduct. The drug problems that he faced were a result of believing that it was a way of initiation from a boy to a man. He is happy now that he has had the chance to liberate himself from the vice. He advises others that the first step to liberate oneself from such vices is to accept the situation and avoid denial. He sees the positive part of any challenge, and views it as a way to reach perfection. He views success in life as the ability to face challenges courageously and overcome them. He accepts challenges as part of life and encourages others to boldly face them.