HERMITAGE brought me back from the DEAD.
It is difficult to explain how I feel about THE HERMITAGE. It is a place which has given me a SECOND LIFE.
I vividly remember that I was brought to The Hermitage when I and my family had lost all hope. I had suicidal thoughts and tendencies. The doctors were saying that my survival is next to impossible. I was almost DEAD.
Let me narrate this near death ordeal of mine ,in bits and pieces , roughly put together .. as I remember them .
No one starts to drink thinking that he will become a alcoholic , neither did I.
I vividly remember that I took the first sip of alcohol on my 18th birthday , in Chandigarh in 1991. I was studying in 12th grade in DAV college. Before that , I was adamant and resolute not to drink in my life. This was because my father had died of liver cirrhosis ( due to over drinking ).At that time ,I was 9 years old . I had seen hell because of his alcoholism . I was even sadistically happy when he died at a very young age. I had seen a lot of suffering of my mother due to his death . Every day , a new horrific torture .
But , that day on my birthday , my brother- in- law ( whom I respect very much) and my sister came. They took me out for a lunch to celebrate the birthday. And suddenly , I see the best of champagne being popped open. Obviously , it was pre-planned surprise. The whole dining of that five star hotel's restaurant , along with it's staff members , were embarrassing me to take a sip.... AND I DID.
My sister and brother-in-law keep blaming themselves for all the destruction that followed. But , no one could have known. I could see the love which these people must have had for me to make this effort. Now , I could have refused only if l had known that I would ' almost die ' due to that sip , neither could they.
That was my first sip , and I declared that it is going to be the last. But , frankly speaking , those few sips of alcohol made the world seem so good. After that I was sure that I will and CAN drink normally all throughout my life, like most of the people around me.
Then I started drinking occasionally. Initially it gave me a lot of confidence , improved my public relations , esp. with the opposite sex , it was trendy and cool , it gave me a sense of the "oomph factor". It was also a measure of MAN-HOOD , at least that's what I and my friends thought at that age.
Then , I went into my new college in Delhi university in 1992. It was a much more vibrant and potent place for alcoholism than the conservative Chandigarh of that time. There the atmosphere & situations were totally different. I was desperate to fit in... This NEED gave rise to my being part of a group in the hostel who drank everyday , sometimes they even smoked up.
So, I carried on drinking till I reached a state of almost loosing consciousness. I would either gulp in the food , or sleep without eating at all. In the morning , I used to repent and feel guilty. This happened again and again . This started an unending struggle. I kept away from it for some time using my , so called ,willpower and self-control , but addiction sucked me right back in.
Now , at this point , I did not care for anything or anybody else other than alcohol. I even , almost ran over my 11 year old son when he tried to stop me from taking off for drinking. I wanted to get out of this terrible situation , but didn't know how to. It was so miserable that I wanted to DIE.
Everyone tried to make me aware of my grim situation, medically, physically, mentally, etc. But , I already knew it ... I was not MAD.
Finally , a stage came when medical complications started. Blood in my urine was the last straw.... Which happened after days of indigestion , unending cough with a yellowish sputum , yellow eyes , distorted and swollen face , memory blackouts ,shivering of hands and body etc. The ultra sound revealed a grim liver condition, along with spleen and pancreatic damage. The first concern was physical . I got admitted to a leading hospital. There was no concept of rehab and I relapsed thrice in a year. They discharged me saying that I will live for only 3 months more.
So much IGNORANCE.......
I finally reached The Hermitage. This place gave me a new LIFE. I really wish that at some earlier stage someone had said the magic words, which DR BHATIA said that it's a " Disease " and not a weakness of character , that it needs "Willingness “and not will- power ". And that a rehab is not a bad , shameful place. That it's not a place to go and feel guilty. That it is not a " pagal khana". No one said anything even close to that. Everyone kept on repeating the same thing ,that I am an educated and intelligent man , so I could control myself. Even my family did not understand it , even-though all of them are well educated. Nobody knew that it's a disease.
I can't explain how grateful I feel towards Dr. Bhatia and staff of the hospital and Hermitage. They gave me empathy and compassion. My counselors , many of whom are almost family shared and cared for me.
But , I know that its my wife ,the GOD sent angel who saved me.
My new life began. It was not a very painful process . I learned how to live , again. All this happened because my WIFE understood something extraordinary !!This 'something' was so simple, yet so complicated that only 2-3% of the world understands it. Now , I am alive , happy , enjoying every moment of life , emancipated from shackles of the Disease. Namrata (Rosy), my wife won me BACK FROM THE DEATH. Thank you my love , my saviour , ..... I love you.