Butterflies and Hurricanes

A substance abuser’s narrative


“ Gusto ko nga kun mamatay man gani ko, maayu ko sa pagtan-aw sa akong pamilya. Kay kun namatay pa ko niadtong hitaboa, makaingun siguro cla ug “MAYRA”

Aldwin Alburo lived a good life.  Married to a loving wife and graced with two lovely children while enjoying a 9 to 5 job as a photocopier technician to a generous company, he was in cloud nine. After working for 9 years, he was 1 technician holding 245 accounts.  He thought he couldn’t get higher but he did.

When the generous company had to close for internal issues, its employees were given their last pay as adieu. But fate was Aldwin’s good friend. He has proven himself a hardworking man and a goddamn good technician so the 245 accounts stayed with him and multiplied whilst cutting off the middle man. More clients, more income,a much better life.

Then fate whispered to Aldwin that he was meant for something more. It wasn’t at all being greedy rather ambitious. He wanted to give his family the world-what father wouldn’t want that? So, he succumbs to fate’s allure. Simultaneous to being a technician he ventured in buy and sell. After all,who else would reign supreme at selling a machine than one whose hands knows it’s anatomy from coverings down to the copper.

Business was good. The photocopier technician who, once upon a time ago, lived with his family of four in a rented room now owns and calls home a two-storey house in the city.  He also has in his name other properties such as land, vehicles and a happy, well provided family.  He thought he couldn’t get higher but he did.

Despite the high life, Aldwin remained a humble man and as generous was fate towards him, he too treated other people the same.  His homecoming to his birthplace always seemed like a fiesta for his clan. A feast in honor of the good life he was given; A feast in honor of the stars that aligned for him.

Humility and abundance often attract people closer to you but none is ever a guarantee of just what sort of people because even those who pose as friends have a tendency of pushing you to your abyss. Aldwin remained on top of avoiding these. He hasn’t strayed from his path. He has not the intention of ever doing so.

But as often one ignores the Raven, shall more it cometh banging on your chamber door and the human part of Aldwin can no longer ignore. Darkness embraced the night accompanied by the cacophony of merrymaking among drunken friends. Then came a whisper,

 “ Gamay lang bai, makapawala ni sa hubog “.

“Sige,gamay lang…karon lang”

The flapping of the butterfly can start a distant hurricane. The little in one time, overtime grew often and more.

He thought he couldn’t get higher but he did.

He gained more friends because he was a very generous man. He enticed more women because he was a generous lover. He was loved by his fellows because he provided more than enough stones for burning.

He thought he couldn’t get higher but he did.

 But this was a different kind of high. The high dragged Aldwin to his lowest. He lost everything- The material, immaterial and the family that mattered to him most.

The buy and sell man now sells all of his. The repair technician could no longer fix himself.

The Police one day was in pursuit of a wanted man with another name but Aldwin was at the wrong place at the wrong time doing all the wrong things.The guns started firing and the sea was his only escape. He started swimming but the gunshots didn’t stop. The knock of death knocked some sense back into the man.

“Ginoo akong mga anak unsaon nalang?!”

He stopped swimming and turned himself in. For a couple of weeks he had free access to a room,food and beverage but he was not a free man. It wasn’t jail that made him decide to stop. It wasn’t nearly dying either. Aldwin finally decided to stop because he thought,he must have been kept alive for a reason.

Stopping wasn’t easy.The urge of reunion with an old flame has a method of sugarcoating itself to making you believe that you needed it in your life. A fast healing is a lie and pretentious.

Convincing other people that a man thrives to turn his life around wasn’t easy either. So Aldwin and the others like him that society have branded as a certain people had to go past shame to overcome their demons.

He thought he couldn’t get higher but now he knows he can and that not all highs are good. Aldwin is not the same man he was at the beginning of this narrative but he also is no longer the same man at the middle of it. He is now a changed man for the better who to this day continues to change while convincing others to change as well. A man who then was a recovering substance abuser of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration program of the City of Bogo and now a facilitator of that same program counting the days of abstinence, working very hard to avoid the number to be at zero.