I was into smoking and drinking since 9th standard. During the period, I did it once in a long while, maybe once in a month or two. I have grown up in Bengaluru and started my engineering in 2009, where the gateway to my party life opened. I had the best time in Bangalore. I did things randomly for the first two years, but after my first break up of a long time relationship, I became depressed. It was 2011.
Since then, I became a hardcore smoker, alcoholic and whatnot. I almost tried everything out there. All powerful ones. I was an active addict for about nine years till mid-2018. I used to visit Goa a lot which opened up experiences to lots of festivals and parties. I used to feel euphoric while doing it because my brain was experiencing all kinds of adrenaline and hallucinations. My whole attitude was so chill and easy going. I also travelled a lot, met so many people.
But I ruined my career in the process of partying. It took me eight years to complete my engineering course, which usually takes four years. I was fired from three jobs, my health got affected badly. I used to vomit blood, besides the social stigma - which I didn't care about then.
Then is when it hit me hard. I decided to be serious about my career and quit smoking. But it was never easy, but not impossible also. Fortunately, I landed a job at a Robotics company which proved to be a life-changer for me. Next, I got motivated to do my masters, which required me to crack Graduate Record Examinations (a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in the United States and Canada). It was a daunting task - to get into a premier institute in the USA.
Slowly, I started managing it by consuming substances only during nights and on weekends but couldn't maintain the routine. My relationship with substances was on and off. An occasion like a birthday party or some grievous incident would pull me back to it. First, I quit other things and restricted myself to drinking only, but that too didn't help much.
This was one of the most challenging phases of my life. I used to be sad the whole day, would get high in the night only to overcome that sadness. I could not focus on my studies. Then one day, I visited 'Sabarimala' temple in Kerala where I put 'Rudraksha' and vowed to quit substances at least for six months. Fortunately, because of my hectic work schedule and inability to get my dream score in exams, I extended this period.
My whole cycle of quitting substances took 1.5 years. Finally, after 2.5 years, I secured 80 percentile in both GRE & TOEFL, and got enrolled in a premier school in New York. Quitting cigarettes has been the most difficult part, I must say. It's been three years since, and now I can proudly say, I do not crave it anymore.
These days, I work out actively and mediate too for a short time every day. My productivity has gone up the roof post being clean. You won't believe the amount of work and success you can achieve if you are sober and clean, besides being dedicated towards your dream.
I put in 10 hours of active work every day, whereas before it was 1 hour. I have become so social, before I would just hang out with hippies. Earlier, I used to avoid difficult situations, now I face them. My fashion and hygiene have improved drastically. I am also fitness conscious now. The 'new me' feels so amazing.
I want to give some piece of advice to the youngsters who are addicted to substances. Just do not do it in the first place. It's so addictive and makes you dumb, it's not easy at all to quit once you start consuming it. There are many ways to stop, like not meeting trippy friends, not keeping things at home, going to the gym, or meditating. You need only one strong willpower and a good plan. Do not give up in between. Baby step it, take it one day at a time. The first month is the most difficult, post that each day becomes more manageable. If you quit, your career and social life will skyrocket like crazy. You can transition from mediocre to extraordinary.