EDITOR’S NOTE: Patrick graduated from the SELF Program in 2005 and has since established a business producing soap. After volunteering to oversee the Aftercare program for a year, Patrick was formally appointed as its Supervisor in 2006. In his article, he recounts his own post-treatment experience as well as those of his peers.

As a SELF graduate and Supervisor of the Aftercare program, I make sure that the group keeps its commitment to meet every Friday. In addition, we have also undertaken to all go up and meet in the facility when most of the staff are at the monthly FAM to support the staff who remain.We usually start with dinner and either play billiards or go bowling. It’s a time we use for bonding. But whatever it is that we do, we are constantly checking on each other, seeing to it that each one is closely dedicated to their recovery and business plans.

I would like to acknowledge some of my peers who have made remarkable achievements after graduating from SELF:

Lorenzo Nakpil (Graduate 2004) took up Architecture at the University of Santo Tomas. Enzo had a rough ride in his first year of recovery but bounced right back and made it to the Dean’s List. Enzo knows his food and loves to eat. He’s a fun guy and now very dedicated to his recovery.

Peejo Balinghasay (Graduate 2006) and Vice President of the Aftercare group took up Psychology at the Southville University and made it to the Dean’s List. At such a young age, he is surprisingly very responsible and is a good leader.

Paul Villarin (Graduate 2007), our Secretary, enrolled at the Southville University also to pursue Psychology. He too made it to the Dean’s List. Paul is very insightful and loves to write.

Carlo Abalos (Graduate 2007) completed a Technical Education & Skills Development Authority course with honors. He hopes to be employed with Toyota Motors this July. I call him the wonder boy because he lives all the way in Quezon yet never fails to attend our gatherings.

Patrick Bocobo (Graduate 2007) took up Hotel & Restaurant Management at the College of St. Benilde and recently completed the course. He is an open and honest fellow who puts his heart into everything he does.

TJ Reyes (Graduate 2007) pursued his High School at Colegio De San Lorenzo while playing varsity basketball. He is the youngest in the group and a very funny guy. After years of drug taking and another year at SELF, TJ finally finished his High School.

As for me, I have thankfully managed to establish a small laundry soap business. I started this by enrolling in a three-day course at the Technology Livelihood Resource Center. I then pursued this by building a business relationship with my teacher who agreed to help me and later sold me the patent to his personal formula. It was a trial-filled transaction which I engaged in with nothing but my faith.

I’ve been producing soap for the last four years now and the business puts my kids through school and takes care of some of my daily expenses. On Thursdays, I join my family at prayer meetings. I am thankful that my mom and my fiancée opened my mind to God and the Blessed Mother. I now always carry a rosary with me wherever I go. I’ve since also devoted myself to bringing a priest to the facility each week for Sunday Mass with the residents.

Our life after SELF has been an interesting journey and I’m sure I share the same sentiments with my peers when I say that SELF has indeed been a blessed experience that has opened our eyes to new things. Miracles do happen when one places one’s life in the hands of God and I hope this article inspires those who remain ambivalent about sobriety.

PATRICK GALLARDO
Graduate 2005