I started taking drugs in the 1990s. I went in prison, came out, went in, came out. Every time I was in prison, I was desperate to change. To quit drugs.
But each time I came out, within a few months I would go back to drugs.
If anyone is reading this, and if you are using drugs, please, look at my life – use it as your mirror. If you keep doing drugs, in 10 or 20 years’ time, your life will look like mine did. Go into prison, come out, over and over again. My family was broken. I even destroyed my own body.
In 2007 I had a bad pain in my back, so I went to the hospital for a check-up. The doctor told me there’s an infection on my spine.
I cried on my hospital bed. Why did I destroy my life like that? How would I go through life?
I asked him: How did I get the infection? He assumed it was caused by my drug use – I may have used infected needles. In hospitals you have sterilised needles. Us drug addicts, we would just wipe used needles on our shirt and use it again. We would pass the needles around. Infection was common.
I asked him: What can I do? He suggested an operation.
I thought they would operate on me, and after a few days or one, two weeks, I would recover. At that time I was very naive. But when I came out of the operation room, suddenly I realised I was lying on the bed. I could not walk.
At that time I was very depressed. I even cried on my hospital bed. Why did I destroy my life like that? I was a normal person, until I did drugs to to the point I had become paralysed. I thought to myself: How would I go through life?
I stayed in the hospital for 10 weeks. I had a rehabilitation programme – I stayed there for a while but still could not walk. I was wheelchair-bound.
After 10 weeks they had to discharge me. A medical social worker from the hospital came and suggested I go to a halfway house – The Hiding Place. So in 2007 I came here.
They had to bring me here by ambulance. I was still in a wheelchair.
Every now and then I would go back to the hospital for a review. Each time I would tell the doctor: I’m very desperate. Will my condition be cured? Will I be okay again? Is there any medication that you can give me – is there any exercise that you can teach me to so I can walk again?
After a few appointments, the doctor told me: “Edwin, we already did our best, you go and pray.”
She meant that there was no cure for my condition.
I had come to a point where I was so desperate. I came to The Hiding Place as a non-believer. But here I found faith – I call it a bo pian faith. No choice – bo pian – I came to trust Jesus.
In a quiet moment, lying on my bed, I cried out to God. I asked God to help me. And I think God really had mercy on me. I cried out to Him: “God, help me. I don’t want to be in this state forever.”
And God healed me, gradually. Slowly, slowly, my leg slowly gained strength. And when I saw that, I worked hard on my physiotherapy.
Every day I’d do whatever the physiotherapist taught me. But I knew deep down inside my heart, it was God.
One day at church service, I was singing a song with these lyrics: I once was lost – I should have died. As I was singing this song, I couldn’t control myself; the tears just flowed. That day I knew God had touched my heart and that day I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
I stayed in The Hiding Place and now serve in this place because so I’m thankful to the Lord.
My parents have passed away, and since 2005, all I’ve had is my older sister. She has her own family, but we sometimes meet up.
She said she’s so happy to see me the way I am today.
She used to say, I only see you in two places: One place is the hospital, the other is the police station.
So now when she sees my life the way it is today, she’s very happy.
Edwin Goh works at The Hiding Place, a home for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, ex-prisoners, alcoholics, gambling addicts, homeless orphans, inhalant abusers, wayward teens, young offenders, troubled youths and those in need of help. To find out more, visit www.hidingplace.com.sg