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What made you aware that your husband had an addiction problem?

It took me a long time to realize and accept that he had a problem. I was aware that my husband had depressive symptoms. But it was a particular tragedy in our lives that escalated the gravity of the situation. I hoped that things would get better by time and everything would return to normal. I have lived with this hope for a long time. Many times, I tried to escape from the reality of the problem because I didn’t want to accept it.

During my husband’s heights of his addiction, I avoided meeting people close to us and detached myself from social activities, feeling like I was escaping from the reality we were living in - the reality of fear and heartbreak, especially when I realised that he was losing out on the life of his family — mostly of his own children. Many times, I would end up accepting the situation at that moment and forgive him, but by doing so, instead of helping him and us, I was making the situation even worse. When he used to return home, I would notice immediately that he was not well and this this was happening on a daily basis. Before he entered the program, I avoided all confrontations because I didn't have the energy to fight this reality. Financially, the indications were very clear and psychologically the situation was eventually breaking us down.

Every time my husband used, he would become very impulsive and the reactions were not nice. I would spend many nights lying awake waiting for him to come home and praying that when he arrives, he won’t put up a scene!? Many times, I used to call him to come home! After long, sleepless nights, I would wake up dreading the fact that he will not be getting up to go to was a life of fear and restlessness! Over time I noticed that he was losing weight and that his health was starting to decline. He started to have tremors and he was becoming tensed and the stress he had was indescribable.


What were your feelings when you realised that he had a problem? What was your first reaction?

It took me a long time to admit it to myself. I probably realized it early but I took a long time to react to the problem. There were people who approached me and told me about the gravity of the situation while others decided not to speak. I was often angry as I could never understand how a person could hurt himself and those around him so much. I knew my husband differently. I knew him to be serene and very kind hearted. I knew him as a man who was always willing to do anything for his loved ones and therefore, I was too reluctant to admit that he was an addict and that he needed help from people outside his family. In the midst of his addiction, he continuously lied and began to keep things from me. Before he entered the program my level of anger became so high that it came to a point where we both saw that we had hit rock bottom and something needed to be done to save our relationship.


Did you try to help him yourself? If yes, why and how. If no, why not?

Yes, in the beginning I tried to help him. However, the truth is, in cases like my husband’s, professional help was the best way forward. We have always avoided the word ‘rehabilitation’ due to the sensitivity of his profession. The word was like a taboo for us; until we got to the point where we hit rock bottom and he realised that there was no way out except to seek professional therapy. The initial help we sought was psychological guidance but the problem was in too deep and only the rehabilitation program could help us.


What type of professional guidance where you personally offered prior and during your husband’s course of rehabilitation?

In truthfulness, I found great support from people who went through the similar experience I was going through at the moment. I still found help from people who never experienced addiction but the best support came from those who had already experienced the bitterness of life. Financially it was very hard because I had to cope with the income I had while my husband was pursuing the program. I was extremely worried that he would lose his job and would never find an employer to take him on knowing his problem. Our children suffered as well and felt their father’s absence. Due to the program’s fixed visiting hours, it was difficult to coordinate the right timings between the visiting hours and my working hours and the children’s school hours.  The first two months were the most difficult because the children couldn’t understand why their father was away for such a long time and not allowed to go home in the meantime. But two months into the program, we noticed visible improvement. My husband was finding himself again and throughout the program, both our children and myself had found another ‘family’ that welcomed us with open arms and offered all the guidance and therapy needed to overcome the problem as a family. The therapists helped us understand that we were not the only family going through this ordeal and that we were just like many other families going through similar experiences – we needed help, support and immense love to help us out of this ugly situation. We needed someone who would teach us how to relive life in all its simplicity again.


What kind of advice would you give to those who are currently going through the problem of addiction?

 Do not be afraid to come forward! No one is perfect. You might feel that your whole world is crumbling down on you but there are people out there ready to help you.  A lot of people have been through your same experience and many can support you through it. The most difficult moments are when you are in denial of the situation but this lasts only until you realise and admit that there is a problem. Seek help. Never be ashamed of what you are going through because we are all human with our own weaknesses. Make sure you surround yourself with true, loyal friends! And love with all your heart. Forgiveness is not enough. You would need to learn how to live with an addiction that can always be overcome with proper support whenever needed.

There is also God for those who believe in Him. I believed and believe in Him more when I look back at my family and realise what a long way we have come after hitting rock bottom. There is nothing more beautiful than living life ‘clean’ and once you find your path, it is always advisable to stick to it.

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Vienna (Austria), 25 June 2020 – Around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30 per cent more than in 2009,  while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The Report also analyses the impact of COVID-19 on the drug markets, and while its effects are not yet fully known, border and other restrictions linked to the pandemic have already caused shortages of drugs on the street, leading to increased prices and reduced purity.

Rising unemployment and reduced opportunities caused by the pandemic are also likely to disproportionately affect the poorest, making them more vulnerable to drug use and also to drug trafficking and cultivation in order to earn money, the Report says.

“Vulnerable and marginalized groups, youth, women and the poor pay the price for the world drug problem. The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn threaten to compound drug dangers further still, when our health and social systems have been brough to the brink and our societies are struggling to cope,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly. “We need all governments to show greater solidarity and provide support, to developing countries most of all, to tackle illicit drug trafficking and offer evidence-based services for drug use disorders and related diseases, so we can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, promote justice and leave no one behind.”

Due to COVID-19, traffickers may have to find new routes and methods, and trafficking activities via the darknet and shipments by mail may increase, despite the international postal supply chain being disrupted. The pandemic has also lead to opioid shortages, which in turn may result in people seeking out more readily available substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines or mixing with synthetic drugs. More harmful patterns of use may emerge as some users switch to injecting, or more frequent injecting.

Looking at further effects of the current pandemic, the Report says that if governments react the same way as they did to the economic crisis in 2008, when they reduced drug-related budgets, then interventions such as prevention of drug use and related risk behaviours, drug treatment services, the provision of naloxone for management and reversal of opioid overdose could be hard hit. Interception operations and international cooperation may also become less of a priority, making it easier for traffickers to operate.

Trends in drug use

While cannabis was the most used substance worldwide in 2018, with an estimated 192 million people using it worldwide. Opioids, however, remain the most harmful, as over the past decade, the total number of deaths due to opioid use disorders went up 71 percent, with a 92 per cent increase among women compared with 63 per cent among men.

Drug use increased far more rapidly among developing countries over the 2000-2018 period than in developed countries. Adolescents and young adults account for the largest share of those using drugs, while young people are also the most vulnerable to the effects of drugs because they use the most and their brains are still developing.

Cannabis trends

While the impact of laws that have legalized cannabis in some jurisdictions is still hard to assess, it is noteworthy that frequent use of cannabis has increased in all of these jurisdictions after legalization. In some of these jurisdictions, more potent cannabis products are also more common in the market.

Cannabis also remains the main drug that brings people into contact with the criminal justice system, accounting for more than half of drug law offences cases, based on data from 69 countries covering the period between 2014 and 2018.

Availability of pharmaceutical opioids for medical consumption varies across the globe

The Report also points out that low-income countries still suffer a critical shortage of pharmaceutical opioids for pain management and palliative care. More than 90 per cent of all pharmaceutical opioids available for medical consumption were in high-income countries in 2018 comprising around 12 per cent of the global population. While the low and middle-income countries comprising 88 per cent of the global population are estimated to consume less than 10 percent of pharmaceutical opioids. Access to pharmaceutical opioids depend on several factors including legislation, culture, health systems and prescribing practices.

Socio-economically disadvantaged face greater risk from drug use disorders

Poverty, limited education and social marginalization remain major factors increasing the risk of drug use disorders and vulnerable and marginalized groups may also face barriers to getting treatment services due to discrimination and stigma.


The World Drug Report and further content is available here:

The 2020 World Drug Report provides a global overview of the supply and demand of opiates, cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine-type stimulants and new psychoactive substances (NPS), as well as their impact on health, taking into account the possible effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights, through improved research and more precise data, that the adverse health consequences of drug use are more widespread than previously thought.

* *** *

For further information and interview requests please contact:

Brian Hansford
Chief, UNODC Advocacy Section
Mobile: (+43-699) 1458-3225
Email: brian.hansford[at]


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Know more, care more. Addressing the world drug problem requires responses that are based on facts, solidarity and compassion.

Some 35.6 million people suffer from drug use disorders globally, according to the World Drug Report 2020 by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Around 269 million people used drugs in 2018, up 30 per cent from 2009. While the increase reflects population growth and other factors, illicit drugs - including opiates and pharmaceutical opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine - are still more available, more diverse and more potent than before, challenging law enforcement, posing greater health risks and complicating efforts to prevent and treat drug use disorders.

Adolescents and young adults account for the largest share of those using drugs. Of the 11 million people who inject drugs, half of them are living with hepatitis C, and 1.4 million with HIV.

Only one out of eight people who need drug-related treatment receive it. One out of three drug users is a woman but women represent only one out of five people in treatment. People in prison settings, minorities, immigrants and displaced people also face barriers to treatment due to discrimination and stigma.

585,000 died in 2017 in relation to drug use, up one-quarter from 2008. Over the past decade, the total number of deaths due to opioid use disorders went up 71 percent, with a 92 percent increase among women compared with 63 percent among men.

All over the world, we see that risks and consequences of drug use are worsened by poverty, limited opportunities for education and jobs, stigma and social exclusion, which in turn helps to deepen inequalities, moving us further away from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

The COVID-19 crisis has intensified these challenges further still, overwhelming health systems and exposing the fragility of institutions and social safety nets.

The theme of this year’s International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, “Better Knowledge for Better Care”, highlights the need to understand drug dynamics trapping so many millions of people in a downward spiral, to inform balanced solutions that are based on scientific evidence, to know better what the issues are and to provide better care for those who need it.

Health-centred, rights-based and gender-responsive approaches to drug use and related diseases deliver better public health, and we need to do more to share this learning and support implementation, most of all in developing countries.

Governments pledged to advance such balanced, comprehensive and evidence-based responses in the 2019 CND Ministerial Declaration. In the COVID-19 recovery, we need all countries to act on their commitments, and show shared responsibility to tackle illicit drug supply and reduce demand. We need civil society and youth organizations to continue their efforts to support the vulnerable in their communities.

Together, we can pursue more effective prevention and protection, to build resilience as we build back better, and leave no one behind.


View video message by Ghada Fathi Waly, Executive Director of the UNODC

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Mutual support and trustworthy information have proven to be pillars of responding effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives.

Cooperation, reliable data and evidence-based action are just as vital to addressing the many challenges posed by the world drug problem, protecting people’s security and realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

This year’s theme of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking -- “Better Knowledge for Better Care” -- speaks to the need to build solutions based on facts and shared responsibility.

The international community has a solid foundation for action, with an agreed legal framework and commitments outlined in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.  The United Nations, in line with its common position on drug policy, is also enriching the evidence base, including through the annual UNODC World Drug Report.

We must also strive to build on what works.  As Prime Minister of Portugal more than two decades ago, my government launched a drug policy rooted in taking strong action in two areas.  First, by cracking down on drug trafficking and those who profit from human misery. And, second, on making sure that those who need treatment get it.  Those who develop an addiction to drugs are first and foremost patients and victims.  That approach succeeded and drug consumption went down significantly, particularly among young people.  Today, Portugal has one of Europe’s lowest death rates from drug use.

Together, we can develop sustainable alternatives to illicit drug crop cultivation; tackle drug trafficking and related organized crime; and advance justice responses as well as prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services for drug use and related HIV interventions.  And we can do so in ways that are sensitive to the needs of women, young people and marginalized groups and that respect human rights.

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The earlier in life one introduces drugs in his body the larger is the probability that he/she will continue on long term problematic use of drugs, not withstanding the negative consequences that such use may bring along. The harm ranges from social difficulties to conflicts in relationships, involvement with the criminal system, medical complications as well as difficulties related to mental health.

Studies continuously demonstrate that substance abuse (including alcohol and nicotine which are also psychoactive substances) at a young age such as teens and even younger has a more devastating and long-lasting effect due to the brains tenderness which is still in its development till the age of around 25.

Youth is an experimental age. It is the time in life where youths start to gain independence while exploring the new things life has to offer. Acceptance by peers and being part of a group is one of the main goals at this age bracket. It is a learning curve, where impulsion may take a more prominent factor in the youth’s decision-making process. To add to the mix, drug experimentation at this stage in life has a strong impact on the brain’s pleasure pathways, where this hedonistic effect serves as a positive reinforcer to continued drug use.

On the 26th of June, the OASI Foundation commemorates its day of institution. 2020 marks its 29th anniversary. Since its birth, OASI Foundation has been disseminating and empowering the importance of preventing substance abuse amongst our younger generation. This is being done through its prevention strategy which does not only involve the dissemination of information in schools, local councils, work and social groups. A very important and vital approach towards drug abuse prevention is providing a primary pleasurable and recreative incentive for young people to engage in activities such as sports and arts. The OASI Social Awareness team works hard in creating and enforcing a culture of participation in these social pleasurable activities.

It is worrying for the OASI Therapy and Rehabilitation Team to have even 15-year olds applying and accessing both residential and community-based therapy because of addiction difficulties caused mainly by cocaine and cannabis abuse.

The 26th of June is also the World Day against drug use and illicit trafficking. This day has been established by the United Nations. On this day, OASI Foundation wants to reinstate that promoting a culture where drugs (including alcohol and nicotine) can be used for recreational purposes is highly socially corrosive. We are unfortunately meeting cases of locals and foreigners who are reaching out for drugs to obtain spiritual experiences and healing. Apart from the huge amount of money that is being snatched, the mental risks being faced are enormous.

On the anniversary of the Foundation, we would like to end this communication with the slogan by which the Foundation began its mission – Life is Beautiful! There is light at the end of the tunnel for those who are feeling hijacked by addiction.


Press Coverage

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  1. Do not look at what happened as if it was a family tragedy. Like any other disease, one can also recover from alcoholism.
  2. Do not moan, preach or insist on repeating words of advice. Most likely the person has already gone through all the words he or she would hear from you and repeated them a thousand times in his or her head. Therefore, it is likely that the person will turn a deaf ear and ignore you completely. With your insistence you are likely to increase the need to lie or make the person promise things that he or she will not be able to keep.
  3. Be careful not to use the “I know more than you” attitude or use words such as “look what you have done to us”. It is also possible to give that same impression without even uttering a word. An alcoholic person is so sensitive to such attitude that he or she can pick up such vibes even by the way the other person is looking at him or her or by any changes in the other person’s mood.
  4. Never use words such as “if you really love me”. Once the crave for alcohol becomes compulsive, it is a disease that cannot be controlled by reasoning. Such words have no effect other than to increase anxiety and the sense of guilt that already exists in the person.
  5. Do not threaten - unless you are sure and convinced to carry out the threat. You may need to take specific actions to protect your children. When you threaten and do nothing afterwards, you are making it clear in an alcoholic’s mind that it’s all talk and no action after all.
  6. You do not have to hide or put away any alcohol bottles in the house as this will put the alcoholic person into a state of despair. Ultimately, he or she will still find another way to acquire the alcohol he or she desperately craves.
  7. Do not let the alcoholic person persuade you to drink with him or her on the pretext that he or she would drink less. It rarely happens that way. Should you comply, you will be approving of the alcohol in front of him or her and thus weaken any possibility of seeking help.
  8. Do not envy any kind of help the alcoholic person chooses as treatment for his or her drinking problem. It is easy to think that the family’s love and the security at home are enough incentives to heal and recover from this addiction. Often the path to healing lies in a desire to find and respect oneself and sometimes the person does not find this within the family core. Don't fall into the trap of feeling left out when the alcoholic person prefers to turn to someone else for help.
  9. Never expect signs of success right from the start. Each disease has its own course of convalescence. The process of recovery may include occasional relapses, setbacks and plenty of tension and mood swings as well.
  10. Do not try to protect the alcoholic person from any compromising situations he or she might encounter. This kind of obsessive protection pushes the person into drinking again. He or she must somehow find his or her own way to say “no” to alcohol. For example, when you are socializing and insist with other people not to offer drinks, you are likely to rekindle feelings of shame and disgust in the alcoholic person.
  11. Don’t try to do what the person should do himself or herself or do yourself what is expected from him or her. This is his or her journey to recovery and therefore you are only there as support.
  12. Show the alcoholic that you love him or her. Give your full support and show the person that you understand all that he or she is going through while on the road to recovery.

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When someone we love passes away or we lose something very dear to us, we are gripped by great sorrow and go through many uncomfortable emotions. We may even convince ourselves that the pain and sorrow associated with loss will never go away.

These are very normal reactions that one experiences in case of loss. It is important to understand that when one feels an immense void inside after experience a great loss, there are not right or wrong feelings.  One needs to face these feelings however with confidence and courage that it is a phase and that it will eventually pass.

But, despite the harsh reality of loss, there are good ways that can help a person face this grief with courage and determination. There are effective therapies that over time help get over such difficult, moments. These therapies start by showing what the real phenomenon of loss is and how it works.

What is grief?

Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional pain we feel when someone or something we love is taken away from us. The greater the loss, the greater the grief. We often associate grief with the death of a loved one, but grief can come from a variety of reasons, such as:

  • When a relationship ends
  • Loss of a pet
  • When feeling unwell
  • Loss of an important target in life
  • Losing a job
  • When someone close to us is sick
  • Financial loss
  • End of a friendship
  • Miscarriage
  • Insecurity after a trauma
  • Retirement
  • Sale of one’s home

The way a person deals with grief is somewhat personal and it differs from others because it depends on many factors that also includes the person’s personality, the way the person reacts to stressful situations, past experiences, faith and also the reason of the loss. It is important to note that there is no deadline or time table for the duration to grieving but each individual takes the time needed according to one’s need to grief. We need to give enough time to ourselves for this process to pass as natural as possible without rushing to get over it by brushing the pain aside.

What are the stages of grief?

In 1969, the psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced what is known as the famous five stages of grief which are:

  • Denial: ‘This cannot be happening to me’ – it is only normal that when we receive bad news and we feel distraught by grief, we deny what we are going through at that time.
  • Anger: ‘Why is this happening? Whose fault is it?’ – many times we end up venting out our anger on people who sometimes have nothing to do with the situation. Sometimes we even vent our anger towards the person who has just passed away and left us on our own. What happens here is that we feel guilty for being angry and such anger generates more anger.
  • Bargaining: ‘If You heal this person, I will reciprocate’ – for a person to try and gain control over the situation, such example is when we turn to God and ask Him to heal a friend of ours or a relative and offer something in return even if we know that there is nothing that can be done to heal the person.
  • Depression: ‘The pain is so unbearable, I cannot get myself to move on in life’ – When we experience great loss, it is only normal that we pass through an extremely sad period and lose all interest in what used to give pleasure before such a loss. We also go through a phase where we do not want to see anyone or speak to anyone and would feel better if confined in our own space. However, it is very important that if we remain in this state of self-isolation for a long period of time, or else grief is escalating rather than diminishing by time, we must seek professional help to treat severe depression.
  • Acceptance: ‘I accepted what happened and I will now move on’ – During this stage, we start dealing with the situation and accept that there is nothing more we can do to change the situation. Unfortunately, not everyone manages to reach this stage.

The common symptoms of grief

Whilst grief is expressed in many different ways, depending on the individual, many times people experience common symptoms such as:

  • Shock – not able to believe what we are experiencing at the moment
  • Sadness – this is the most common symptom we experience when passing through grief.
  • Guilt – We start feeling guilty for not having done more or maybe for not having said what should have been said.
  • Anger – Most times anger is not aimed at anyone in particular but it is just the anger felt towards the situation.
  • Fear – When we pass through a period of grief, there is the sense of fear for the future.
  • Physical Symptoms – When going through the grief period, we can experience exhaustion, nausea, weight loss or weight gain, insomnia and constant pain.

How can we deal with grief?

Two fundamental things we need to keep in mind is that when we are passing through grief, we must seek support and take care of ourselves.

It is extremely important not to go through this period on our own. We need to turn to other beloved family members and friends to help us deal with what we are going through during that moment. It’s true that most of the times we would want to be left alone but the fact that we have a close person to us during that moment, will surely help. Another way that can help us during the grieving period is by joining a support group. By sharing our experience with others who can understand exactly what we are feeling because they are also going through the same feelings, will help us heal quicker. However, if we see that none of this helps, we should seek professional advice to help us make it through this phase. We must never think that seeking professional advice is a sign of weakness.

When we are going through grief, self-care is extremely important since this is a period where we lose most of our energy and our immune system plummets. We have to face our emotions because if these are suppressed within us, they might serve more harm than good. We should never let other people dictate how we should feel or force us to feel how they think is best. We should express our emotions freely and truly, whether it’s by crying or by laughing. We should never be ashamed of our ways of expressing ourselves when we are going through the phases of grief. During this period, it should be irrelevant of what others think or say about us during this time. This is a time when we should be surrounded by people who truly understand our emotions and are genuinely there for us to help us make it through this rough time in our lives.    

Posted by & filed under News, OASI Services, Press Releases.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering from addiction! This was the message that the OASI Foundation, the Ministry for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity (MFCS) and the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (FSWS) wanted to pass on today.

This was confirmed by officially signing the Public Social Partnership, which sealed the commitment towards ensuring professional services to those persons suffering from addiction as well in the provision of Prevention Programs and Social Awareness, professional Therapeutic Services in the Community and Residential Therapy and Rehabilitation. This PSP of €1.6 million guarantees the OASI Foundation service provision for the next 3 years.

During the ceremony, the OASI Foundation announced that it is happy to welcome new residents who are to start the OASI Residential Therapy & Rehab program, Covid-19 free. In fact, a group of five persons have gone through a quarantine process to be screened and secured they are free of the Corona Virus. This process was necessary to keep the current residents safe, thus ensuring the continuation of therapy and avoiding a lockdown situation.

This was possible with the help of FSWS, especially the Gozo branch, and with the continuous support of MFCS where all understood the needs that people suffering from addiction are facing, even more so, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Press Coverage

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The OASI Foundation was invited to attend a meeting of the Standing Committee for Gozo Affairs to discuss the impact that Covid-19 is having on our beneficiaries and services.  A recording of the meeting can be listened to on the Parliament website.


More information can be found in this article by Hon. Dr. Justyne Caruana, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for Gozo Affairs.

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Denial is the greatest enemy of the truth;

It puts you in a bubble and cuts you off completely from reality;

Makes you extremely sensitive to the least important thing;

Whilst continuing to seek attention endlessly!


I lived my life with very low esteem. I was bullied, cut myself to physically relieve myself from anxiety, negative emotions, self-hate, loneliness and confusion of doubts.

I got lost in a world where I felt like no one wanted me not even my own family and I ended up alone finding refuge in poetry with the hope that someday someone would see them and understand me. In the state of fear, betrayal and abandonment I was in, I made bad decisions and found myself into bad relationships, where I made myself liked by others in the hope of bringing them into my own distorted reality. What was perfect in my eyes at that time, today is completely different! My body was the resemblance of beauty. Today it’s just an anorexic illusion; a destructive state of mind in which, no matter how thin I am, I am never thin enough and will continue to shrink until finally I break and disappear.

Someone once told me: “smile and the world will smile back to you” My reaction back then was No way!  But today, I think otherwise. Yes, it true! The world would react according to how you act!

I got married at the age of 19, with the impression that I finally found someone who would love me unconditionally. In the rush to get out of my loneliness, I thought I married the man who would solve all my problems back then. But it was too late when I realized that the person I married did not have the security I needed. In the rush to escape my difficult past, I married a man who was still struggling with himself to get rid of his own problems. Nor was I aware that, as a young and immature girl in the body of an adult woman, urging for love and attention, I chose as my husband a man who was nothing but the mirror of my own childhood problems.

Obviously, my marriage didn't work out! The shortcomings and indifference of my spouse to what I was going through affected me so much that I ended up seeking attention elsewhere. My life had become a locomotive, a crazy run from one adventure to another, sometimes feeling good other times feeling down. I took strange decisions and wrong choices in the group of people I used to mingle with.  At first, I felt good, because this time I got the attention I so much wanted. During the same time of this relationship, I remained with my husband faking my marriage for months until I got pregnant by my husband. I decided to end the extra marital relationship but things turned bad because my partner did not accept me breaking up with him. He became obsessed and started following me everywhere I went, blackmailing me with photos and threatening to expose my secret to my husband. One day, out of the blues he lost his mind, became violent and raped me. Thankfully I escaped from his grip and ran home, agitated and in fear.

This dramatic experience has sparked flashbacks from my past. Suddenly, the poems I was writing seemed to make sense and I started to ask myself…. why!? Why now!? I couldn’t understand what was going on, except that something kicked in me. My mind started to see things from a different perspective. I stopped paying attention to what people thought of me. I started to feel like a stranger in my own home. I was frustrated and started to hurt myself physically and cut myself to ease the tension and get rid of the stress that I had. My relationship at home got worse and my husband gave up on me and left. It was then that something clicked the thought of leaving my home and my husband for good. Yet I remained and my husband returned home.

In the meantime, my daughter was born and that’s when I went through a positive period in my life. My daughter was the best thing I ever had and she gave me hope to seek a better future. I had a lot of time to reflect on my past and the current situation I was in. I realized what a big mistake I did when I rushed into marriage…whom I married and how young I was for such a commitment. It was then when I started to feel down again and relapsing into the negative emotions I had forgotten for a while. My relationship had a turn to the worst and after a heated argument I decided that this time I will leave home for sure. I started another extra marital relationship behind my husband’s back, this time with a man who seemed timid and kind. A gentleman who also helped me financially. I thought that this time I found someone reliable, especially since he recommended that I go and seek some sort of guidance before leaving my home and my husband for good. And that is what I did.

I went to a therapist with the thought that everything will be ok once I vented out all the anger I had inside due to the problematic marriage I was experiencing, including the hate I had towards my husband. But the therapist didn’t take long to realize that any matrimonial advice given was not going to be of any help. He realized that my issues were deeper than the actual marital problems I was putting the blame on.  These profound issues needed better attention than any other therapy advice.

The sessions were of great help and helped me stop resorting to self-harm. This saved me from losing custody of my daughter. In the meantime, my therapist helped me empower my self-esteem and became confident and strong enough to have the courage to eventually leave my husband and my home without taking anything I owned, except for my daughter.

My new partner accepted me and my daughter with open arms. My therapist recommended not to stop the therapy sessions and therefore I continued as suggested. By time I realized how judgmental I used to be and how I always rushed into decisions without evaluating the repercussions. It transpired that my new partner, whom I always saw as a quiet, timid person, also suffered from a form of compulsive disorder. He was obsessed with cleanliness, keeping everything in an orderly manner, punctual and abides strictly according to plan. Eventually, he started insulting me since I was nothing to what he was like. Slowly slowly I felt retracting back to my troubled adolescent years. I was once again being bullied and felt like I had lost everything I had built lately. I even tried to attempt suicide on various occasions. Obviously by time, my new partner left me and once again I felt abandoned. Without knowing, I was back into my anorexia disorder and I am very lucky that I am alive!

The only support I had left was that of my therapist on whom I relied heavily. He patiently worked on the anger and bitterness I had towards my mother and all the partners I had encountered. One day, I started to have this weird, turbulent dream, with a 5 or 6-year-old girl playing with friends - all having clouded faces. I could even hear my mother panicking and screaming in the background "Where is my daughter?". I remember cutting short my dream and waking up scared, and going back to sleep and dreaming again and seeing this girl hiding again. Other times I dreamed of my mother staring at me and angrily asking me "What did you do? What did you do?" while I was terrified because I couldn’t understand and remember what I had done wrong.

It was during one of the sessions with my therapist when I came to my senses. Encouraged by my therapist to recount my dream, I began to remember clearly this girl and the other children when suddenly, as though a veil had fallen from their faces, I began to recognize them. They were two much older children whom I, being such an innocent girl, trusted blindly. I immediately remembered them betraying me while we were having fun playing in my grandmother’s back room.

The confusion and panic that ensued between my mother and grandmother unfortunately shocked me and frightened me a lot. I lost all confidence in myself and for many years I entered into a turbulent sense of guilt and rebellion. The panic that arose after the abuse was so great that I suddenly lost my innocence over something I did but didn’t actually know what it was. So as not to feel the emotional pain, my mind just pushed this ugly experience in me into my subconscious. That is the reason why I couldn’t remember the incident. I was so irritated and uncomfortable with my mother's presence that as a result I made her life a living hell and, in the process, I unknowingly hurt myself a lot.

After that extraordinary therapeutic session, I spoke to my mother about what had happened to me. She did not deny the story, on the contrary, I felt that she understood me a lot and we grew closer and since then she has become my best friend. As a mother myself, I could understand that she too was young and inexperienced and because of that she had made her own bad choices in life. However, I still believe that it is ultimately the parents’ responsibility not to leave their children out of their sight.

I continued with my therapy session that helped me throughout my recovery while being constantly in the life of my daughter whom I love with all my heart. Looking back, I feel lucky to have managed to put all my past trauma behind me. I waited patiently for the right man to come along without having to rush myself searching for him.

Today I am very happy in another stable relationship with the man I love and the father of my second daughter. Yes, there will be moments when life will be difficult and where we will feel weak, but my partner of today understands me, supports me and helps me win over these moments with his great love and genuine stability. And when life gets tough, I look at my daughters and realize how lucky I am to have them and therefore I have to be strong for them as well and do my best to come out of any tough situations I may come across occasionally.