Sector: Alcohol Abuse
Ravindar had many hopes for his life. But unable to control his alcohol addiction, these dreams moved further and further away from his reach. At the age of 20, he had his first drink, and his life would never be the same. His own friends had shoved that first drink in his hands. Little did they know how this would affect him and make his life spiral downwards.
There was not a single drop of alcohol in Ravindar’s house. His parents worked hard to provide a good life for their son. Ravindar too worked hard. He would wake up early each morning and do daily work in order to contribute to his family’s income. He used to work as a conductor on a truck and travel all across Himachal Pradesh. At night, Ravindar would relax with many of his trucker friends. When they first offered him alcohol he refused, aware of what it had done to some others who were around his age. But finally he gave in to the social pressure and had his first drink of alcohol.
What started as a drink became an uncontrollable habit. Ravindar would often drink 6-8 bottles of alcohol a day making him unable to work or function. He would stumble around the village aimlessly wasting time. He rarely tried to find work anymore and lost any motivation to progress in his life. The whole village came to know about his problem and shunned him because of his behavior. In order to fund his habit, Ravindar needed money and would try to convince employers to hire him. But they refused knowing that he was always under the influence of alcohol.
Nothing could stop Ravindar from drinking. Even after he seriously injured himself while drunk, he continued his habit. He was addicted and from morning to night he would have a bottle by his side. Instead of drinking the chai that his mother affectionately made for him each morning, he would sneak away and drink. Eventually, his friends were disgusted by his habit and told him to stay away from them.
Ravindar’s parents were worried about his state and felt they had lost their son. Desperate to change his ways they pleaded with him to stop. But Ravindar assured them he did not have a problem and continued drinking when he left the house. Although the situation seemed hopeless, there was a part of Ravindar that wanted to return to his old life, a life where he was respected by his parents and community. When Ravindar’s parents showed him the damage he had caused one night after drinking heavily, he was shocked. He could not remember anything he had done and realized for the first time that he had no control over himself when he drank. Ravindar knew he had to change for the sake of his parents and for himself. One of his neighbors, a relative of a CORD worker, was aware of CORD’s Alcohol Abuse Awareness Program and encouraged him to attend. Nervous at first, Ravindar knew this was his only way out of addiction and went to CORD. At CORD, Dr. Kshama Metre (affectionately called Dr. Didi), put into effect the Sinclair Method as taught to her by her dear friend Dr. Roy Escapa from London. In this method, an alcoholic does not have to give up drinking. Instead, the alcoholic takes a 50 mg tablet of Naltima (Generic: Naltrexone Hydrochloride) before drinking. As the person begins to drink, the receptors on the cells are blocked and are not as receptive to the alcohol. The strong reinforcement which the alcoholic has built after years of drinking slowly begins to subside. Within 6-12 weeks of using the tablet, the desire to drink is curbed. Ravindar was desperate to try anything to give up drinking, so he started taking Naltima after getting a liver test at the Red Cross Society in Dharamsala. Naltima was very effective for Ravindar and with the support of his family and community he completely stopped drinking alcohol within 12 days, an unusually fast recovery. After seeing what life was like without being a slave to the bottle, Ravindar was determined to never drink alcohol again.
Today Ravindar spreads his story to others facing the addiction. He continues to be monitored by CORD workers and frequently attends follow-up sessions. He has been trained by CORD as a Resource Volunteer and creates awareness about alcohol abuse in the villages of Kangra District. Inspired by Ravindar, many of his friends have started coming to CORD for treatment. Ravindar is proud of his journey to recovery and is never ashamed to share his story. He has taken his life back and has helped many others do the same.