“Two years ago, I was released from my last sentence. The months following my release was the true test for me as I had to resist the temptation of drugs. Whenever I saw friends from my past, I would quickly evade them. But this was when I knew I was changing, because the past-me would have readily accepted their invitations. Even then, I still kept thinking I wasn’t strong enough and that sooner or later, I would give in. All it took was a snap of the mind to go back to my old life. I knew I needed support, so I came to Highpoint.
Even at Highpoint, my life wasn’t perfect. In fact, there was once when I intended to escape. Thankfully, a staff approached me in time and changed my mind. He guided me to face my problems instead of running away from them. From there, I saw how the Highpoint staff were genuinely concerned about supporting my recovery.
Thinking back, my first encounter with my ‘drug friends’ was the year after my NS. Drugs soon became a habit and I was caught that very year. This continued for over 20 years but despite multiple chances to change, I re-offended time and again. For the first time, I saw my dad cry.
My family used to be very bonded, but I started to feel a deep sadness in me after my parents divorced while I was in NS. This took a toll on me because I was very close to them. I thought that turning to drugs would fill the emptiness I felt. This was no excuse, but if only I had the courage to face my struggles instead.
Getting caught that first time was ironic because I myself used to be in the police force during my NS days. From nabbing criminals and addicts, I became one of the addicts myself. It was like watching everything turn over on me. The feeling of being handcuffed and locked up was so familiar, yet this time it was different.
My biggest regret will always be picking up the habit of drugs to begin with. Given my character, I strongly believe that I would have become a much better person should I never have touched drugs. I could have stopped the first time, but I kept going and going. As a result, I lost so much of my precious time being in prison.
To be drug-free at this very moment is something I’m very proud of. I now have a career and Highpoint has become a strong pillar of support whenever I have problems to share. My hope is to continue being drug-free till the day I die. Of course, there will be many obstacles but this recovery journey is for life.”
Testimony by Zulkifli, Alumni of HCSA Highpoint Halfway House