Maja can handle her drug problems

I attended my first summer course in Zhineng Qigong with my mother already when I was 11, and after that I followed her to quite many courses, but I didn't practice that eagerly at home.

When I was 14, I was depressed and had an alcohol problem. It didn't take long before I started using drugs as well. This continued until I was sixteen and a half. Then I was taken into custody and placed in a treatment centre for drug addicts far away from my home. I lived in the centre for a year and a half and there I met my boyfriend.

While I was living at the centre, I was allowed to attend the Qigong summer course. At that time I was also suffering from bulimia and took a lot of medication, so in the beginning of the course I mostly slept. I wasn't here and now, I was completely out of it. But during the course, I was able to stop my medication and then I became more alert. I had hallucinations, as one can when stopping medication, but they ceased during the course. I could tell what was real and what wasn't. I felt really good for about a year after the course. I didn't keep practicing, because they didn't understand Qigong at the treatment centre and they thought it was weird.

A year later, I moved out of the centre to another city together with my boyfriend. Then things got worse again. We started taking drugs. He was very jealous and unstable and took it out on me. After a few months, I decided to move back to my home town. Then I was already quite worn down. I started seeing my old friends and used even more drugs than before. I was not really interested in anything. I could not continue my evening courses at the high school where I studied and I even got involved in criminal activities. My life was like a rollercoaster during this period and I used a lot of amphetamines. One day in May I was at home. I had not taken anything but I felt an enormous craving. My mother did not let my out, so I jumped out of a window and fell down three meters. The impact resulted in a fracture in my vertebra, which I did not take care of at all. I stayed in the hospital for just a couple of days. There I tried to quit taking drugs, but I did not succeed.

After my stay in the hospital my situation was as bad as before and I used large amounts of amphetamine. One day I woke up in the house of a friend of mine and the only thing I wanted was to go home. I called my mother. She was close by and picked me up. I stayed a couple of days and tried to rest. We were supposed to go on a weekend course in Turku, but for some reason I had taken all my medication on that Friday evening. When I woke up the day after I said to myself: "Why didn't I die?" I said this despite the fact that I never had a conscious intention to commit suicide. At the hospital, one of the psychiatrists referred me to a department that offered institutional care and I felt this was the right decision.

I stayed five days at the department and was surrounded by people with serious mental conditions. That was when I made up my mind: I wanted to quit using drugs once and for all. I called my mother and begged her to pick me up. She agreed, but on one condition: that I would start training Qigong regularly. That's what I wanted myself and I promised her I would. We stayed a lot in our summer cottage and trained every day. I stopped using my medication straight away. It was a strong decision that I made myself. When I was taken into custody it had not been my own decision, but this time I was taking the initiative myself.

It has gone very well for me since that moment and I have trained every day. I quit taking drugs and feel much better now. I have also gained weight, which is very good, since I was only 49 kilos at one time. I also have a much stronger will to live. Every now and than I take a moment for myself and realise where I am today and that feels good. When I think of this I can only smile. Now I will continue to train and get even stronger. It is a long way to come back to a normal life and stay there. I need a lot of support and that is exactly what I get from Qigong. The best thing with Qigong is that you can do something yourself for your own good. It is a way to take care of oneself. I have learned to respect myself. It is important for me to feel good.

I have been able to forgive myself, to take my responsibility for the things I have done, to go further in life and leave the past behind me. There has been a lesson in everything that has happened and I actually feel a sense of purpose with all this. I have come to realise that it is no use to feel ashamed about it as I cannot make it undone. What is most important is that I have managed to survive. I feel lucky to have Qigong. If I would not have had Qigong I don't know how my life would have looked today.

Maja

18 years old