Today has made me realize that time indeed does breeze through.

For most of you who are graduating today, it has been an average of one and a half to two years stay in the program, while in the case of my son Joey it has been a while longer. However short or long your stay has been, what is important is your having completed your rehabilitation program and are now ready to enter a new phase in your life.

As you excitingly await your return to your families, take time to look back at what your loved ones have sacrificed and have had to go through. Here I do not refer to the financial load they have had to carry for you to complete your program.

As much as you have had to endure the vigors of the program to bring you back to a life of sobriety, your families have had to overcome the yearning and longing for your presence, the anxiety for news on how you are progressing; of course also the number of LEs and haircuts you have been given and of time spent in isolation.

How often we would find ourselves comparing notes with one another on your progress after our dialogues with your counselors. Those were indeed trying times for us. After laboring towards recovery for the past two to three years, you owe it to yourselves to ensure that you overcome every roadblock that stands in the way of your sobriety by your renewed faith and confidence.

You must remain resolute and unwavering in the face of trials and temptations, knowing deep inside that the foundation you have built for yourselves during your stay here in SELF will help you overcome these negative circumstances. You will very soon embark on a new phase of your life in a totally different environment.

SELF has prepared you well to cope with the many trials, temptations and peer pressures. SELF has taught you to love yourself, to be responsible, to be accountable, to be honest and to say NO. Take these and all the other tools you have been given and make them an important part of your daily life. Your recovery does not end with your graduation; it is just an important phase in your progress to sobriety.

As we very well know, substance abuse is a major menace to our society. Families have been broken, innocent lives have been destroyed and countless dreams have been shattered, but there remains hope. There is recovery and sobriety can be attained. You are examples of those who have managed to rise up from the doldrums of substance abuse. You are role models of those who succeeded in getting a new lease in life. You are the ones who by your leadership and determination can make a difference. Be a source of inspiration to others.

To the families of our graduates here today, let us not forget our responsibility to continue and stand as the pillars of strength for them and for one another, in the midst of their road to recovery. As we leave the facility today, we should bring with us a commitment to be continued sources of strength and inspiration.

Let us not be indifferent towards the needs of others, simply because our dependents have successfully ended their program here in SELF. Rather, let us stand as the guardians of this program, making sure that each family and their loved ones are not alone in walking along the path towards healing and recovery.

Before I close, I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the members of the FAM, to acknowledge and wholeheartedly thank Kuya Martin and his whole team for their dedication, commitment, hard work and patience. They honed our loved ones to be ready for the new chapter in their lives. Maraming maraming salamat!

Last and certainly not the least, let us not ever forget that there is someone up there who never tires of listening and answering our prayers. To our Higher Power I say, Thank You, for all of us. We owe you everything.

Congratulations and best wishes to all the graduates!


FAM Member
November 2007