There are many theories on why people abuse drugs. Most centred around emotional stress, coupled with the lack of alternative solutions and access to drugs. In Bruce’s case, a troubled childhood lacking in guidance and supervision led him into a gang which introduced him to drug abuse. The sensation given by illicit drugs such as marijuana provided an escape from the negative emotions that has built up over the years.
Bruce is fortunate to have a daughter whom he loves dearly and that gave him to strength to turn over a new leaf. He also found endurance through religion. Believing in a higher being provides a sense of hope for the future and the sustenance to stay on the right path.
Leaving the gang is the first step towards recovery. A public renunciation of gang membership severs or reduces the access to drugs. It is a signal both to the gang member/drug abuser as well as to the gang that the relationship is over.
Beyond spiritual and moral support, a means of making a living is crucial. Being able to support oneself and one’s family financially provides a sense of self worth and responsibility. Like many ex-offenders, Bruce did not have a lot of formal education. Developing vocational skills that can make a decent livelihood goes a long way towards keep recidivism low.
Again, Bruce was fortunate to encounter a social enterprise that not only provided him with training to become a barista but also provided him with a job. The Living Well Café is located in Tan Tock Seng Hospital and seeks to help disadvantaged and marginalized people to sustain themselves.