Former drug addict leaves life of ‘fake happiness,’ pursues dream of being a doctor

By: Immae Lachica April 10,2019 - 12:01 PM
A screenshot of the Facebook post of Ryan Villareal that is making rounds online.

Cebu City— Ryan Cabrera Villareal thought he was living the life he wanted.

At a young age, he turned to illegal drugs to make up for what he thought was a lack of attention he was getting from his family. 

It helped him for a while.  When he got addicted to it, he felt he was always happy. He felt he wasn’t left out. 

But the drugs took a toll on his body, and this is when he knew this wasn’t on the right path. 

“I realized there was more to life than fake happiness,” said Villareal, who is from Naga City, Cebu.

From that time on, Villareal started a new journey towards a better life. He went into rehab, stayed clean and took up a nursing course at a Cebu university to fulfil his dreams of becoming a doctor.

Now, he’s a step closer to that dream, as the 23-year-old Villareal is set to graduate this April 14, 2019.

His Facebook post of his inspiring story has made rounds on the Internet.

“Ga too gyud ko’g ma Drug lord na ko, pero wala gyud tawn ko nimu pasagdi Lord

This achievement is just a bonus for me because today I am 50 months clean (4 years & 2 months),” he said in his post. “I never thought I’d see this day coming.”

Villareal said that he was 13 years old when he was first introduced to marijuana. It was because of his friends who were a few years older than him that he tried the illegal substance. 

“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. 

A year after he started using marijuana, his curiosity led him in using illegal drugs as young as 14 years old. 

According to Villareal he wanted to belong to something that would make him feel less lonely and more happy. 

Because of his addiction, Villareal told Cebu Daily News Digital that he had no plans of going to college after graduating high school. 

“Ni abot sa time nga ni skwela ko ug vocational course which is computer sa CTS para naa koy sideline akoy tig repair ug computer then ako kwarta ako e sustain sa bisyo naku” he said. 

(There came a time when I went to study for a vocational computer course in CTS, so that I can have a sideline job to repair computers, then the money I earned, I used it to sustain the vice I was already addicted to.) 

After taking up the vocational course, his mother encouraged him to study Electrical Engineering in Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) in the hopes that Villareal would stray away from using illegal drugs. 

“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. 

He became so addicted to the illegal substance that his drug tolerance increased because he was using it everyday. 

It was at this point that he hit rockbottom. 

One day, Villareal woke up in a hospital due to  complications from 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 said. 

But with the fear that he might again end up in a hospital and cause him his life, he geared up and submitted himself to a different rehab, this time in Talisay Aftercare. 

It was there that he found a new direction in life. 

Now that he’s closer to his dreams, Villareal is focused on completing his mission. And he is aware that in order to achieve that goal, he has to remain clean.

“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.’” /bmjo

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