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I was born in Lebanon and lived with my only brother who is three years older than I am, my mother and father. When I was 12, I smoked for the first time with my brother. I was extremely scared but he told me it would be cool and amazing and it was. I felt strong, unstoppable. I started
to smoke every couple of weeks, every few days and everyday by the time I was 13. Then I started with pills also with my brother. At the age of 14, I was kicked out of my middle school after getting in trouble due to the fact that
I started smoking spice and drinking alcohol. At the age of 16, I got into a relationship with Alexis, where I started to take psychedelics, MDMA constantly and I got extremely depressed. Here my grades went down, when I left her
I began to drink daily and taking Xanax. When I hurt my back and wasn’t able to do sports anymore it got even worse and all the time I was partying taking meth, pills, alcohol. After 3 months, I was hooked and stopped going out and was alone. I spent about 100$ every day and got
it by stealing from my family. Then I got into oxycodone where I spent my time in my room sniffing. When my parents found my stash, I went to my first rehab in California. I went to 4 rehabs and one outpatient program and tried buprenorphine for 2 years but it didn’t work. Then I myself decided that things had to change, so I decided to come to Lebanon to live with my brother whom I hadn’t seen for 7 years. I decided to go to Oum el Nour, after doing the same stuff here in Lebanon. At first I was playing around always talking about drugs and planning to use them. After my first encounter again with my family after 3 months it all changed, I stuck to the program, and started abiding by the rules and regulations and focused on my weaknesses to overcome them. Now I am doing amazing and I started to work, also in a good relationship with my dad and grandma. I haven’t seen my mom in 2 years but she is coming soon.

AMIN H.

Dear mother,
You are not going to believe this, and God knows I’ve given you reason enough not to… with all my threatening, maneuvering and playing with your emotions that if you did not visit me in a couple of months I would be angry,
I would think you forgot about me, didn’t love me and would stop declaring you as my mom.
I do not have any proof that what I’m going to say to you now is truly and honestly my rooted conviction. But I will remind you, though, that back then I was drugged and disoriented. Now, I’m clean, my head is sober, I have a stronger will and a clean perspective of what I want out of life.
O.K, now that I have smoothed things out for you, I will get to the point… Mom, I might not know much, but I do know that miracles are happening for me here, I’m in the best shape of my life, and as an addict; which I am, this is the best place for me to be.
I hope that what I’ve said to you will ful ll the purpose
of this letter, which is for you to stop feeling guilty or scared that I might be angry with you for keeping me here, because I’m the one who wants to be here now and believe me, the best thing you have ever done for me (of course besides being a great mother) is bring me here to Oum el Nour.
So until I have earned the privilege to see you, take care of yourself, keep the faith, and stay strong.

Your loving daughter,

NAJWA N.

Through my childhood, I was always praised for being the strongest, pushed to be the first, had a awless academic record, was bullied for not living up to standards of my brothers and sister, compared to some of my friends, got beat up because of the haircut or clothes. All of that made me rebel against authority
and not accepting the system, thus breaking the rules which I did not see t. I started having comfort in music, whose lyrics touched me deep inside bringing safety to my insecurities. Lonely was how I felt most of the time before I discovered drugs. It all started with a feeling, the good feeling, of safety, love, security, con dence, and later on the need to be needed. Drugs lled the void and emptiness making me attached. All started

to go downhill from there, having a bad entourage,
unreal emotions, numb to everything around me. When the substance was not available, I experienced anger, anxiety, depression and body aches. I started to do everything in my power to acquire the substance like lying, using and abusing people, hurting all around me. I was alone again, I became the typical drug addict, pale, no goals, and no one wanting anything to do with me. Life got harder and harder and seeking help was never
on my mind at the time. An intervention happened when my family decided to bring some life back to me after so many failed attempts of detox.
I took a leap of faith, and I accepted submitting myself to a 15 months program at Oum el Nour rehab center. I went through the open gates with the freedom to leave any time, which made me feel safe the first time in my life. I learned responsibility, respect for self and others and to express my feelings in a civilized way. Now, I am at the last stage of the program. Fueled by the determination to ful l and pay the debt I have towards myself, and all the people that stood by me and supported me through this amazing journey of light.

NASSIM N.

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