PS. This is not business related, I will continue writing about business after this.
This is my story. I’m coming out and sharing a big part of my past.
I hope this inspires and help others.
I attended the Grand Easter Feast 2014.
MOA arena. 18,000++ people.
towards the end of the event,
leaders on stage were holding boards with a statement on each side.
Another had, “Man of Anger” then flips it to “Man of Love”
One guy was holding, “Alcoholic” Then when he flips the board, “Godaholic”
A friend had, “Lost everything in gambling” then turns and it read, “Gained everything in Christ”
Then after everyone on stage did their cardboard stint, the closing message was, “We may be imperfect but don’t worry because we have a perfect God.” I was stunned. My jaw dropped. I could relate to almost all of them!!!!
So later that day, I posted on Facebook my own “cardboard” – I had to write one.
It was also perfect because it was 420! 420 (read as four-twenty) is known as “Marijuana Day” – this is celebrated every 420 or April 20 around the world. For years, I’ve been celebrating it. But not this year. Not last year.
If this was on a cardboard, I would write “Drug addict” or “Smoking addict” then when I flip my cardboard, It would say… “Addicted in helping others with their businesses”
I was floored with the comments and the likes. Which led me to write this article.
Let me tell you about my smoking career/story.
So as you read earlier, Bo Sanchez is my uncle. (He’s is Mom’s youngest and only brother.)
I grew up listening to his talks. I was raised in a family where we prayed the rosary every time we ride a car and we had to memorize the 10 commandments before our 7th birthday. Kidding.
As a boy, I would go to bible studies, prayer meetings, beach outings (with a priest who said mass daily) – not because I wanted to, but because I had no choice – My uncle was leading the pack! and my Mom was a loyal servant. My dad serves as well. and so as my aunts, other uncles and grandparents!
On the other side of my family, my Dad’s side… Things were different. (My Dad was protestant. He converted catholic when he married my mom. Which makes me catholic btw.)
Everyone from my Dad’s side are protestants. 2 of my Dad’s brothers are Pastors. So I grew up with an uncle who is a Catholic Preacher and 2 uncles as Pastors. There were times where I would go to Simbang gabi with my Mom in our Parish (Catholic) then when we got home, I would go with my cousins to their Simbang gabi (Protestant Church) (They have free coffee and pandesal plus I had a crush there!)
I love both sides of my family. I love being with my cousins from both sides. But being between different beliefs, practices and traditions…was hard for little Marco.
Confusion, puberty age, peer pressure, wanting to grow up fast, immaturity, and everything not nice turned me into a rebellious little kid – I started failing school, started lying, cheating, stealing: In short, black sheep of the family.
So I was in grade 5 when I had my first puff – I got a stick from my uncle’s pack. (No, not Bo Sanchez – I never saw him smoke or even hold a stick of cigarette) – It was another uncle. I had a bike then, so my uncle would ask me to buy cigarettes from the store in our village. This started my curiosity with cigarettes. So it didn’t take long before I had that first puff. I choked. I coughed. But I felt “COOL“ – So I finished that stick and bought my stick with the little change that I had. Yes, I was 12. (It was 1999!!!)
So there I was, A 12 years old boy who would save money so I could buy a pack. I also started to drink at this age, perfect combination diba? Alcohol + Smoking = “cool kid” This made me a regular smoker, I would smoke with my cousins, friends from the village, and random people in sari-sari stores.
Then came High school, my allowance was bigger. I had money to buy a pack of Marlboro Menthol twice or thrice a week! My whole highschool barkada were smokers as well. We would smoke after school. We would smoke in our drinking sessions. We would smoke when we would cut class and play in computer shops. This was also the same time I got introduced to Marijuana. Boy did I love it. I loved being “high” – So I would start saving money for it. I also tried other drugs- Mushrooms, Vs, Es, etc. Name it, I tried it. But I enjoyed Marijuana the most.
This started my addiction. I would smoke 1 pack of cigarettes a day, a joint of marijuana every single day. (A ‘joint’ is a rolled up stick of marijuana in a rolling paper) This went on for years. Imagine, 1999 pa! That was like 12-13 years of smoking! God have mercy on my lungs! There was this time when I was in Highschool when I got into a fist fight over a girl. (Not so cool. But I’m friends with that guy now) I was the one who “Attacked” and started the fight, but it was me who ended up in the hospital. Seesh. A part of my nose was broken and the doctors had to fix it. Blood from that area flowed into my throat and they had to clean it. After the operation, my parents told me that while cleaning the throat area, there were these black spots – I have no idea what medical term for that is – but I remember the doctor telling me to stop smoking (In frigging front of my parents!!!) You can just imagine my Mom’s heart when she heard that. My dad? Okay lang. He kinda knew about it. Teehee. He caught me a couple of times and has been telling me to stop smoking for the longest time. Of course I never listened.
What was the worst thing I did?
Being a marijuana (weed) addict, I had to look for a supply. I had to use a pay-per-minute computer with internet to look for “reggae spots” in Bangkok to score my weed. I found my way through the nasty streets of Bangkok with the help of elephants. Kidding.
But through hard work, (Haha!) I found a secret spot and was able to buy Marijuana. It tasted different, it was so much better than what we have here in Manila. The guys who sold it to me said it was “Bangkok magic” – I loved it so much I bought more than what I could finish.
What’s so crazy about it? I brought it home to Manila. How was I able to get through airport security? I have no idea.
I don’t know if my Mom knew about my Marijuana addiction (I guess she’s finding out very soon. Haha!)
My dad caught me smoking weed when I was in college. I was in my room, I closed all the windows, placed the Marijuana leaves in a ‘pot’ and lighted everything and converted my room into a “hotbox” – stupid me, my room was a few steps away from the kitchen – my dad’s kungfu place.
He barged in, smoke coming out his nose (real smoke), with a loud voice…. “Bakit amoy Marijuana Marco!!!”
Now, believe me when I say that he was mad. He was the hulk! But there I was, calm as ever, relaxed….
I remember I just smiled at him. You can imagine how high I was right???
He opened the windows and left me smiling for the next 10 hours. (Kidding, It was more like 6 hours) before the talked to me.
I was addicted.
I was deep in addiction.
I spent thousands on Marijuana.
On cigarettes? there were months when I smoked 2 packs every single day.
I started to smoke when I was 12. I stopped before I was 25. Just count those sticks!
I am writing about this because I already overcame this addiction.
Last year, I decided to quit smoking – both marijuana and cigarettes.
I have never smoked since. I will never smoke again. Ever.
HOW DID I DO IT?
It was simple. I just decided to quit. Cold turkey. No program, no nicotine gums, no quitting little-by-little, no nothing.
It happened in a snap. I decided to quit in a second, and to date I never smoked again.
WHY DID I DO IT?
This is a bit tricky. I did it for a girl. (Before you react violently and say “ay wala yan” read on first.)
I was starting to get to know this girl that I really really liked. We were going out from time to time.
I can still picture that moment when I decided to quit: It was March 16, 2013, Saturday, Around 4-5pm, Inside my car, Field Master Pajero, Coral Blue, CSB731, I was driving, Stoplight at Padre Burgos Avenue about to turn right to Roxas Blvd., we came from Divisoria, talking about random stuff about each other, when she asked me, “Do you smoke?” after 31 seconds, I answered “I used to” – now when I said that, I was sincere – the last time I smoked was earlier that day.
That was also the last stick I ever and will ever puff. That exact moment, I knew I was quitting for good. Of course I’ve been wanting to quit smoking for sometime already. I was aware that It was slowly killing my body naman. I think all smokers has a couple of family and friends who has been telling them to stop.
But as all smokers would say, “Mahirap.”
Most smokers can relate to this – You all want to quit smoking. But It’s hard not to Smoke when you wake up, when you’re unloading your intestines, while drinking coffee, after meals, while drinking, when stressed, when bored, when friends are smoking. Right? 🙂
More than the will to “quit” – I believe you also need a reason.
For me, It was that girl. Your reason for quitting is like the ‘wick’, but the real ‘bomb’ is determination an discipline.
What happened with that girl?
Did we end up together? Yes.
Did I smoke again after saying that to her? Nope.
Are we still together? No.
Did I smoke when we broke up? No.
Will I ever smoke again? Never.
Emotional problems usually causes ‘ex-smokers‘ to smoke again.
But I’ve been through the worst emotional roller coasters and I have never resorted to smoking again.
I’m a happy quitter.
I pray you get to quit as well. Find your reason! Be determined and disciplined!
I was a drug addict. But it’s okay. I’ve been set free.
I was addicted to smoking. But it’s okay. I’m smoke free.
I am not perfect. But it’s okay. I have a perfect God.
May this inspire.