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– two former drug addicts speak candidlyBy Enid Joaquin“My greatest regret is that I was never there for my children, I never played the role of a father to them- I was never really a father to my children both in North America or those in Guyana, and I almost destroyed their lives and that of my former wife, through my obsession with drugs.I’ve made some negative choices that impacted my life severely, and took me from one level to another. It cost me thirty years of my life- almost half of my life!” former drug addict Aubrey Daphness confessed during our interview recently.Looking dapper! Dereck BacchusHe added, “In the United States, where I had married and had four beautiful kids, I forced my wife to go on welfare just to take care of our kids, while instead of supporting them, I spent all the money I made supporting my drug addiction.When my children learnt of my drug addiction our relationship was severed.However, now that I’m clean I’m trying to start a relationship with them, but it is very slow.I have grown children, who don’t even know me- I mean I have a daughter who is now a doctor, and I sometimes talk to her on facebook, and all she says is “hi dad”, and once when I tried to push further, she told me, “all I know of you is that you’re Aubrey Daphness,China Jerseys Cheap, my biological father, nothing more.” Both of his sons are officers in the US Marines, and he also communicates with them on Facebook.Looking at Daphness, I found it hard to believe that this neatly dressed, clean shaven, well-spoken individual,Wholesale Jerseys From China, sitting across the table from me, once walked the streets of Linden, looking for every opportunity to get another ‘high.’And doing that was easy he said- “getting any kind of drugs here is easy, it’s available twenty four seven, seven days a week and you don’t have to go very far.”Indeed he was so adept at getting his ‘highs’, that he was soon reduced to the “lowest of lows.”His spiral into such abysmal depths would send shock waves throughout Linden, as no one expected that one of the community’s brightest minds could be reduced to such a state.Daphness said that he began experimenting with drugs, after graduating from the University of San Francisco, in the USA with a double degree in Business Economics and Computer Science in 1980. After his graduation he gained employment, with AT&T, where he ‘was introduced’ to cocaine and marijuana.But cocaine became his ‘drug of choice.’“My whole mind was always centred on drugs, drugs, drugs.The core of my life was lost to drugs.”His wife could not cope with his addiction, and was granted an uncontested divorce.Daphness was later deported from the US in 1992, and upon his return to Guyana, gained employment with the bauxite company, as a Senior Computer systems Analyst.Always “Drugging”Daphness confesses that he was ‘drugging’ for fourteen of the fifteen years he spent employed in the bauxite industry.He said that it was easy to do.‘I was able to drug and hide it, because of the level that I operated at in management, I was able to get my subordinates to get the work done efficiently and effectively, as I had surrounded myself with ‘intellectuals.’I was even drugging during the entire time that I was doing the RETA Programme, on television.” Daphness was also well known in the entertainment circles for his “Daffo Karaoke System”. That too enabled his addictions.RehabilitationAubrey Daphness is currently a drug counselor and administrative Officer of the Phoenix Recovery Project at Mon Repos.Two years ago, he himself was undergoing the drug rehabilitation programme there.It was the second time around for him.The first time he entered the Programme was in February 2010, after he was taken there by relatives. But he absconded after three months, and went all the way to New Amsterdam, where he said the addiction got worse- “spiraled out of control.”He lived in the streets, “But then I couldn’t take it anymore, I was hurting too much, I couldn’t take the pain anymore; that is when I decided that if I was to survive I had to get help.”Our erstwhile addict would go back to the Phoenix Centre seeking help, and was fortunate to be admitted for free, by the Coordinator Mr. Clarence Younge.Today it is now two years since he is ‘clean.“I’m now living testimony that this thing (drug addiction) can be beaten; and I get so much support, its overwhelming- people, especially here in Linden are really happy to see that I was able to turn my life around. Some of them have even been contacting me to help get their loved ones into the programme, and I have been able to assist some of them, while a few others are on the waiting list.However, with all the commendations that I get here, my relatives, especially my sister Camille, are not too keen on me taking up residence again in Linden, because this was my old stomping ground- this was my drug haven, all my old drugging cronies are here, my suppliers, everybody that helped to support my habit. And I myself am not keen either, because due to teachings here at the Phoenix Recovery Centre,Cheap Jerseys Store, we were taught to stay away from slippery people, places and things.“Even the Linden Town Week, I won’t be here for that- I try to stay away from any type of festivities where drugs and the like would be easily accessible.”Daphness pointed out that because of the easy accessibility of drugs in Linden, about ninety percent of youths, eighteen and over, are currently experimenting with marijuana. He however added that he doubted that this situation is exclusive to Linden, as there are other communities where drugs are just as easy to come by. He pointed out too, that there are many ‘youngsters’ in the community, who are still in school, and could be seen imbibing alcohol freely in the streets.This begs the question of the laws, surrounding the sale of alcohol, to minors by unscrupulous business people, whose only concern, seems to be the money they make, from such sales.He said that in the US, it is strictly prohibited to sell alcohol to minors; but here, everyone seems to be turning a blind eye, and so are involuntary ‘enablers’ of future alcoholics and drug abusers.His plans for the futureDaphness said that he hopes one day to perhaps reintroduce his RETA programme on television, which was very popular, a few years back; but has no plans to go back into the clubs with his karaoke machine. “However I have plans to do business in that area, because I have quite a lot of karaoke tracks that were saved to my computer hard drive,Cheap Jerseys Wholesale, by one of my Deejays. But right now, I take life one day at a time, I have zero expectations, so I’ll have zero disappointments”. Presently he spends any spare time he gets with relatives in Linden, whom he visits every month, and worships at the Calvary Temple church.Dereck BacchusLike Aubrey Daphness, Dereck Bacchus was also a drug addict, with a preference for cocaine, and it also destroyed his family.But he has now been ‘clean’ for seven years. Dereck just decided one day that he had to stop ‘drugging’ because apart from destroying his family life, the constant indulgence was also destroying him.Dereck said he started smoking at the age of fourteen, then graduated to marijuana by the time he was fifteen, and later crack cocaine.He pointed out that he was unconsciously ‘enabled’ in his addiction, by both of his parents, as his father used to buy a carton  of cigarettes every week, which Dereck would pilfer from. Later when he started to smoke marijuana, he would convince his mother to allow him to smoke at home, as he would ‘get busted’ by the police if he smoked in the streets.So Dereck was smoking marijuana both at home and at the Wismar Secondary School which he attended.“Getting marijuana in those days was a breeze, it was easy- every day, I would run out during the break period, and get marijuana for both me and a teacher at the School that was a heavy user.This guy used to even allow me to go into his apartment, and smoke,Cheap NFL Jerseys, because we were close, and I used to be purchasing the stuff for him.There were also a few other male teachers that were also smoking, so I felt comfortable doing it, I wasn’t afraid of being caught.Dereck pointed out that his addiction never interfered with his studies, as he was always an A student.After leaving High School he would later gain employment with the Bauxite Company and get married. During his employment with the Company he would continue drugging, he said.His wife, he pointed out, never had a problem with his smoking at first, because she knew he was a ‘user’ even before they got married.“But later, after I really get hooked on this thing, she started getting fed up and frustrated, as I began to hide my pay slip, because I didn’t want her to know how much money I was spending on drugs.It was quite a lot, and I mean my salary wasn’t that much, so it was like I was depriving my home a lot with my addiction.On top of that I started to steal my wife’s money- I would take it from her purse, and that used to really get her angry.After a while she couldn’t deal with it anymore, so we separated.Dereck said that he has been separated from his wife now for more than seven years.It breaks his heart that he had to be separated from his children, and grasps any opportunity he gets to spend with them now.His youngest was with him, during our interview.Asked about the child’s presence, he declared, ‘I want him to be here, all the moments I can spend with him are very precious; and I have nothing to hide, I want him to know everything.”Dereck said that much of his drug addiction was fed off of frustration, as he encountered a lot of discrimination at his place of employment.He was also abusing alcohol, another addiction he said was fed by the constant celebrations that went on whenever persons got promoted; and said that there were persons, who kept the beverages handy, for those occasions.After he lost his job,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, both his addictions spiraled out of control.But Dereck soon became fed up with the life he was living, and decided that he needed to change course.“When you are a drug addict people disrespect you- they think that they can do you anything, so I just got fed up of everything, the disrespect, and all the pain that this thing was causing me-it was just too much.’Dereck said he never entered a rehabilitation programme, but cut drugs from his life through ‘sheer willpower’He stopped drinking last January, after one of his daughters, almost committed suicide.“It was a wakeup call- my daughter called me one night and said she didn’t feel like living anymore, and then the phone went dead.I called her back frantically several times, but the phone just rang out.Fortunately, his daughter did not die, but that episode would help Dereck to sober up.He has been sober ever since, but still smokes cigarettes. He however swears that he will cuff any cigarette out of his son’s mouth and out it on his lips, if he ever touches the stuff.These days instead of hanging out in the streets looking for a chance to get another high, Dereck spends most of his time helping out his friend Judy Gravesande Noel at the Linden Museum. And just in case you haven’t noticed, he is always looking very dapper!
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