A netizen on Facebook changed his profile picture to show his self, donning a graduation toga—a symbolism of sorts- since he recently finished his nursing course, in particular, to show that he has completed one chapter in his life: leaving behind his turbulent past of being a drug addict and is now set to attain his dream of becoming a doctor.
Ryan Cabrera Villareal, 23, former illegal substance abuser, wrote online “I realized there was more to life than fake happiness.”
The native of Naga City, Cebu shared that he thought he was living the life he wanted. He was first introduced to marijuana at 13 years old, succumbing to peer pressure and making up for what he believed was lack of attention from his family.
“I turned to my friends because of the busy schedules of my parents, being the youngest in four siblings and the age gap between me and my siblings, I felt left out,” he said.
For Villareal, the drugs he took made him feel less lonely. At 14, his curiosity led him to using illegal drugs and for a while, he thought his “habit” made him happy.
Villareal told Cebu Daily News Digital that he had no plans of going to college after graduating high school because of his addiction. He disclosed to them that there was one instance when he went to study for a vocational computer course in CTS so that he can have a sideline job to repair computers. However, his hard-earned money was used to sustain his addiction.
After his stint with the vocational course, his mother encouraged him to study Electrical Engineering in Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U), hoping that he would kick off his vice.
“I went and studied engineering and passed the first semester. But then during the second semester I tricked my parents and made them believe that I was still going to school, but in reality I’ve been using the money for my tuition to sustain my addiction with illegal drugs,” said Villareal.
From then on, his drug tolerance increased because he was “using” it every day. But the abuse of illegal substances eventually took a toll on his body, and that was when he realized he made a mistake. He woke up one day in a hospital due to complications from illegal drug use.
“After that incident, I accepted the treatment and went to Argao rehab. I was clean for 7 months but unfortunately, I relapsed,” he recounted.
Fearing that he might end up in a hospital again which could cause him his life, Villareal submitted himself to a different rehabilitation, this time in Talisay Aftercare, and fully committed to it.
“I don’t want to go back (to) that hell again,” Villareal said in his post. “It is so hard to constantly wage war against yourself and against an invisible enemy which is the ‘disease of addiction.’”
So he stayed clean and took up a nursing course at a university in Cebu to realize his dreams of becoming a doctor.
“This achievement is just a bonus for me because today I am 50 months clean (4 years & 2 months)… I never thought I’d see this day coming,” he remarked.
Villareal is set to graduate on April 14, 2019.
TAGS: addiction, Cebu, Cebu Institute of Technology-University, illegal substance abuse, Naga City, netizen shared story of life being a drug addict in the past, rehabilitation, Ryan Cabrera Villareal, Talisay Aftercare, villareal set his life straight and now on his path to becoming a doctor