Interview with a Sobriety Warrior
When I first started this website, it was intended to be more of a lifestyle blog, focusing on skin care, health, fertility and nutrition. However, after making my Facebook page I met a few interesting messages.
I have always had an innate anthropological curiosity, and love scratching beneath the surface to discover how people have come the way they come.
After seeing a sobriety celebratory post on Facebook I tentatively asked if I could email some interview questions for my blog, and was happy when I got a response.
The below is the interview given by Hany Mamdouh
All names, images and answers are sourced with his permission.
How old are you?
How many years have you been sober?
What were your drugs of choice?
I started with different drugs, but heroin was my drug of choice for the last five or six years of my journey with addiction.
When did you start using?
At the age of 15 or 16 if I think.
Do you think there was a deep seated underlying cause that made you feel you needed to escape your own thoughts by using drugs? (trauma, another mental health issue etc?)
Sure, but to be honest in the beginning it started out of curiousity. Then it became a way of escaping my own thoughts and feelings.
What feelings were you trying to escape?
I’d prefer not to say. I don’t want to seem weak or as if I’m trying to gain sympathy.
Can you tell us more about the drug scene in Mansoura? What kind of people use? What drugs are popular etc.
You can’t classify people who use, nothing controls who uses or who doesn’t.
Mansoura is filled with every kind of drug, from cannabis, pills, amphetamines, ketamine, heroin etc.
We can say just cocaine is not widespread because of its high price.
Did you ever see a movie or TV series that made you think…’Wow they totally got the drug scene right?’
Yes, more than one but my favorite was a scene in ‘Breaking Bad”, Jesse’s first shot of heroin, when he was just lying in bed and his mind was flying.
And the Egyptian movie ‘Out of Service’.
How much money could an addict spend a week fuelling their addiction?
It differs from one to another, it depends on his daily dose, his drug of choice. But I can say it costs a lot if we are talking about a serious or heavy addiction. It is why why some people start acting with violence or stealing
How many times did you try to quit?
5 times, 3 of them in rehabs and twice times at home.
Was there ever an key moment that made you quit permanently? Or was it more ‘practice makes perfect’?
A bit of both, along the way there were a lot of key moments that made me think I should stop for good. But I remember well a moment when I was being forced to go into a rehab, and people were trying to hold my hand and calm me down. All I was thinking about and screaming for was to get my last shot.
This moment had a great impact on my thinking.
They didn’ t let me take that last shot.
Do you identify with any specific religion or ideology?
Do you have a mantra or a special quote that helps you get thru the tough moments?
This too shall pass.
One day at a time.
How hard physically is it to go thru withdrawal cold turkey?
Very hard if trying to quit at home, as your body quickly withdraws from the drug. But detox at rehabs makes it a bit easier.
What is rehab really like?
I went to more than one, they’re not the same. Besides therapy and group sessions, there were fun moments. Sports time was my favourite at the place I was in the last time. Agiad is a wonderful place for rehabilitation.
Did you ever meet an understanding psychiatrist?
Yes, Dr. Omar Dobea is very understanding. I never met someone as caring as him.
Do you sometimes feel you want to use again especially when times get tough?
Addiction is chronic, the cravings and urge to use comes from time to time regardless if the time is tough or not.
Is it true that the urges always stay?
No, its like a visitor on your front door, if you ignore him, he will go away.
What advice would you give someone who is dating or married to an addict?
Take care. As in it’s not easy and a lot of support is needed.
What advice would you give parents to help prevent their children falling into this cycle?
Try to be their friends, talk to them about their feeling and dreams, ask about their fears. Always have deep conversations with them.
Teach and encourage them to fill their times with activities that they love and do things together.
What do you think should change in society to help people recover?
One of my dreams is to change the way the society looks at addicts. It would help a lot. Society should focus on how people change after recovery and give them hope.
Celebrities like Eminim celebrate their recovery in front of the world, while people here feel stigma talking about their past addiction.
I am a firm believer that addiction is a disease, yet this belief is not widely accepted especially amoung the older ‘baby boomer’ generation. What would you like to say to them?
Not much just stop resisting reality. This will not help anything.
If someone who is suffering from addiction is reading this what advice would you give them?
Don’t lose hope, withdrawing is the best way to win the battle against addiction. There is always a hope and there are always people who want to help and give a hand.
What life lessons has your journey given you?
No matter how many times you fall, as long as you keep trying to get back never lose hope.
Even slow progress is progress.
People will see you the way you see yourself, so chin up always.
If you could make one thing disappear from the world what would it be?
- For more information on Agiad rehabilitation centre click here.