If you had met me few years ago and then see how I am now you wouldn’t recognize me. My name is Raj Kumar and I am from Madhya Pradesh.
My childhood days were sad and full of rebellion and hatred. My father used to beat me every day, and the life at home was a nightmare. At a young age, I started going astray, searching for something to fill the emptiness within. Tobacco and alcohol became my partners and I began to use drugs while in grade 5 and very soon I was addicted.
By the time I was 17 I had enough! I left my home and went to Delhi with some friends. I spent 18 years as an unhappy drug-addict always wanting something stronger! All kinds of drugs shattered my life completely.
I had given up all hope! Several times I tried to commit suicide, but I was unsuccessful. I didn’t have a clue about anything in life: who God was, why I was alive, or for what purpose I was created. All I knew was that I needed drugs to keep me going, and I was willing to even steal for them. I lived on the streets and I couldn’t see any future for me. I began to hate even living!
During those years in Delhi I went from one shelter to another, getting food and clothing for free. I try to get into a rehab centre, but didn’t have any money to pay for it. Finally a friend advised me to go to Asha Bhawan, a residential program free of cost. Reluctantly I agreed to go and somehow, in my muddled state, found the place.
My first month at Asha Bhawan was not easy. Drugs or substitutes are not used, which is good and beneficial but difficult. I found that with the help of God and the encouragement of the leaders and other men in the program, I was soon living a drug-free life! After a couple of months, I realized that my character was changing. I was not as aggressive as before and becoming more gentle with those who were around me. The emptiness in my life was fading away, I had peace in my heart and for the first time ever I was beginning to enjoy the life.
I Discovered that God has a Wonderful Plan for My Life!
As the time flew by, my heart longed to be reconciled to my mother and family. I decided to return to my village to seek them out. I haven’t seen my mother for more than 20 years. As I arrived at my home town along with a friend from Asha Bhawan, I couldn’t remember how to find my house. We spent the first day searching and asking questions. Finally we were directed to a lady who was supposed to be my mother.
The woman looked at us suspiciously and asked,
-“What have you come for?”
-“I am your son”, I replied.
-“I don’t have a son!”, she shouted, “My husband and my two sons are dead. Get out of here!”
Not knowing what to do, my friend and I sadly began to walk away from the house. Then a voice called after us,
- “If you were my son, how would I know?”
Turning back I replied,
-“I have this small birthmark on my forehead, and when I was small you used to call me Sushil!”.
My mother and I quickly fell into each other’s arms weeping. That reunion was the sweetest time I had ever had with my family. I know it would not have been possible if God had not transformed me! I still cherish that moment.
News of my arrival spread around the village and we had a week-long celebration. Everyone in the village came to our house to rejoice in the return of the lost son.
It was on 2000. Now I work as the Kolkata's Asha Bhawan house director . I want my life to be used to help other addicts find the same hope that I’ve found.