My friend woke me up from that brown sugar nightmare

Rupesh, 27, Civil Engineer, has two sisters and one brother. From his 13 up until his 22, he was committed to sports. He even used to play for the Mauritius national team. But with sports you can’t earn a living in Mauritius. When Rupesh began working at the age of 22, he earned a lot of money. He made very long working days and put aside his sports.

Rupesh doesn’t blame his friends, because he made the choice alone, but he says ‘you get tempted if you spend every day with people who do it’. Together with his childhood friends, he took his first cigarette at the age of 14, and the first weed at the age of 16. They did it on Saturdays, just to relax. After a while, he started to do it every day. Just for fun, to relax. Later, he couldn’t find his sleep. Not sure if it was the weed that caused the insomnia because at that time, weed was something very natural to him - Just a beautiful plant that grows naturally. 



Then they wanted higher sensations. Rupesh chose brown sugar because it gave the highest sensation. His friends already knew how to get it but they didn’t have enough money to buy. They knew he earned a lot of money so Rupesh would bring the money, his friends would buy it and then show him how to do it. In the beginning, he spent around 1000 rupees a week.

 I spent my whole salary on drugs

After two years, Rupesh began smoking by himself. He says the drug creates conflicts between friends. Rupesh went to buy it by himself and used to spend 2000 to 4000 rupees per day. That time, he was working for a big company. His flat salary plus bonus, would add up to 80 000 rupees per month.

He spent it all. He started to arrive late at work, because the brown sugar boosted him up in a way that he couldn’t sleep at night. That made it very hard for him to wake up and get to work in time. He got in trouble with his boss because he reported late at work nearly every day. He quit his job when he was offered a job by another company. He was good at his work, but the drugs destroyed him. When the other company told him they couldn’t take him, he was hopeless. “I stayed jobless for six months. I had no money and my addiction was at top level. I needed to smoke 4 times a day. That is 1 gram a day, equivalent to 5000 to 6000 rupees. That is too much for one person”, he recalls.

He began by selling his car. It was only a material thing to him. The first thing he did when he got the money was go to the dealer. Rupeshs parents heard that he was seeing bad people, that he was into drugs. They asked him about it, but he denied. His mind was only on getting drugs. His mum told him: “Look at those guys, their big cars and expensive jewelry. All on your salary. They don’t take the stuff they sell you.” When he started to fight with his mother, his family knew he was taking drugs. They proposed to help him but he refused.

I will pull myself out of drugs.

“I told them - I got into drugs by myself, and will get out of it by myself too.” He stopped for one month and got a new job. When he received his salary, his first thought was to go and get the drugs again. Everything else came after that. “I don’t know how to explain it, it was like an instinct. No thinking, just go and get it.” Even at work, during lunch break, he would go and get it. It made him nervous and he couldn’t bear with the women he was working with. He got complaints.

One day, Rupesh had borrowed money from one of his best friends to buy drugs. He didn’t have the money to pay him back. His friend started to insult him and they had a terrible fight. That was the moment where Rupesh told himself: “What am I doing? Is this the kind of life I want for me? When I look around me and see, I am hurting all the people I love. And I love my enemies. I can have a much better life.

That Sunday, he called his sister and said to her he needed her help. She said she would come and pick him up. His brother-in-law started calling places where I could go to. Nobody would pick up the phone, until he got a place in Centre d’Acceuil de Terre Rouge. 


An atmosphere of hope

When he arrived at CATR, Rupesh was relieved. Finally he could tell all his lies. The staff at the center told him, “we can help you, but you have to be sincere.” After two meetings, he could enter the rehabilitation program. Here he feels a different atmosphere. It is an atmosphere of hope: you can do it, there are good things in life. When Rupesh looks around, he sees the staff as a proof of it, because they were where he was before. The staff told him, “it is not you who took you here, it was God”. Rupesh doesn’t know why he called his sister that Sunday. He didn’t believe in God before. But he’s starting to see a difference between right and wrong. 

His family is happy because they see him change. His cheeks are full again. He himself is happy to be free. He looks around and sees how beautiful life is. He wonders where he has been living all this time. He wants to cherish the moments with his family and appreciate the value of each little thing.

Be sincere to yourself first

Rupesh knows that life will not be easy for him when he will leave the program. He says it is a hard fight. Today most of the youngsters are taking drugs. He would like to talk to his friends who are still suffering. “Maybe I’ll have the right words to talk to them. I would like to show them that it is possible. I would like to be an example, like everyone here at the center”.

He says it is so important that their parents are there for them, to accompany them in the right way, 1000% there, no excuse. If his friends want to change, they need to be sincere with themselves first. His words:

“The first change needs to come inside of you. Not because your family is pressuring you, nor your fiancée. If you want to get out of this, be sincere and God will show you the way.”

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Comment by Annick Cotte on February 7, 2015 at 2:09pm

hi onesmus  thks that you appreciate

Comment by Onesmus Mutuku on February 2, 2015 at 9:27am

Hi Annick,

I am delighted to read your story and essentially it captures the latent potential and inherent strengths in us as human beings that are fundamental in helping us resolve our concerns. I like your quote - " I got into drugs by myself and I want to walk out by myself" It shows your acknowledgement , great determination, magnificent resilience and a great sense of hope. Again, in the context of what was happening - it seems to me that you were not a lone. Family and neighborhood was watching, touched, concerned and willing to stand alongside.

Be encouraged as it is possible.


Comment by Joke D´haese on November 15, 2014 at 1:58pm

Hi Annick, thanks for sharing this powerful story with the world!

I added it to the Mauritian stories of change. For those who loved to read the story, more can be found on this link:

Annick, we look forward to finding more stories from you to post there! 

Comment by Sanghamitra Iyengar on November 12, 2014 at 11:30pm

Thank you, Annick, for sharing this wonderful story! I am struck by Rupesh's words "I would like to show them that it is possible."  It is amazing how he does not stop with his life and wants to reach out to others. We see this time and again in Mauritius. I feel so inspired.

Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on November 12, 2014 at 3:25pm
Thanks Annick! Gaston summarised well what I appreciated in the story. Now, how will the platform organize to stimulate response by all the peers of Rupesh? Warm regards
Comment by Gaston on November 12, 2014 at 1:36pm
Thank you Annick for sharing an incredible story in an incredible way. Very powerful to learn from. The combination of individual ownership with systematic group support is evident again. They can't replace each other and are both needed. I wish Rupesh all the best in his recovery.
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on November 9, 2014 at 9:45am

Thanks Annick for sharing this inspiring story.

The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential... these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.

- Confucius -

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