Former drug addict pursues dream of becoming a doctor

A graduating student from Naga City, Cebu used to think that the temporary high he gets from taking illegal drugs was the answer to finding happiness and a sense of belonging. Later on, he realized that he had chosen the wrong path.

Through a now viral Facebook post, Ryan Cabrera Villareal shared his journey on how he was able to finish his studies despite making impulsive decisions in the past that almost ruined his life.

Villareal said that he was introduced to drugs at a very young age. Being the youngest of four siblings, he said that he was never close to his brothers and sisters because of the age gap between them. His parents were also preoccupied with work so they never had that much time with him.

Due to the lack of attention he is getting from his family, Villareal said that he turned to his friends so that he would feel left out.

At the age of 13, he was introduced to marijuana, and he learned how to use other illegal substances as he grows older.

It reached to a point when he got so addicted to illegal drugs that he was consuming it everyday saying that it made him feel less lonely and more happy.

Because of his drug addiction, it has also affected his views on education saying that he initially did not plan on going to college after high school.

He said in an interview with Cebu Daily News Digital that there came a time when he decided to take up a vocational course instead.

“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,” he was quoted as saying.

His mother even convinced him to study Electrical Engineering in Cebu Institute of Technology-University (CIT-U) hoping that his studies will help him stop using 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.

However, it has gotten to a point where his drug addiction took a toll on his health.

He said that, one day, he just woke up in a hospital after he experienced complications from drug use.

It was at this point when Villareal decided to help himself.

“I realized there was more to life than fake happiness,” said Villareal.

He then got admitted and received treatment at Argao rehab. He said that he did not use drugs for 7 months after his rehabilitation but he had a relapse.

However, because of the fear on ending up in a hospital again, he submitted himself in a different rehab center.

After leaving the life of “fake happiness”, Villareal is all about changing himself for the better and he is gradually proving that as he graduates from college with a degree in nursing.

Villareal is proud of this achievement saying that it now makes him a step closer to his dream of becoming a doctor.

“I don’t want to go back [to] that hell again. It is so hard to constantly wage war against yourself and against an invisible enemy which is the ‘disease of addiction,’” Villareal said.

Staff Report

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