He’s kicked the habit
RUPERT BOYCE WAS ADDICTED to drugs for years, this addiction caused him to live a life of sorrow and pain.
He started smoking cigarettes at age 11 and elevated to marijuana at age 13. When he turned 22, he sampled his first portion of cocaine, a decision he wished “never was a decision.”
In his point of view, marijuana was his lover, he turned to alcohol to give him a boost but cocaine was “the treasure.”
And to keep his close relationship with his then “friends”, Boyce did some of the most “outrageous things” and participated in several illegal activities which caused him to be shot three times and gave him free tickets to jail, ten times.
There were times when he walked the road looking tired, “musty”, bewildered, and suicida, but he still longed for drugs. He knew he often put his mother through hell, whenever he “popped up at home to hear her crying, praying” and calling his name as she begged God to change his lifestyle.
“When I was on cigarettes and marijuana, I use to hustle to make money to support my habit. I use to sell coconuts, ackees and anything that I could have sell to get money. But when I got caught up in the cocaine world, I started participating in illegal activities to get money to get that cocaine.
“I use to eat out of garbage cans and sleep on sidewalks. I use to thief, rob people and tell so many lies. I even thief from my mother home. I could remember a time I went to court and I told the magistrate: ‘I get tired of lying, crying and stealing in this drug addiction’. I was still sent to jail, but that is a day that I would never forget,” recalled Boyce.
This 46-year-old said he got his first taste of jail in 1988, when he was remanded for aggravated robbery.
During an interview in Queen’s Park, he told the WEEKEND NATION “jail was rough, jail was tough, jail was something else,”.
But while in prison, he learned several pivotal lessons.
“I met a Christian brother and I link up with him and I started reading my bible and that kind of give me a little courage. There was also a particular warder who would talk to me and tell me: ‘Man Boyce, you are too intelligent to be coming to jail.’
“He was saying that because my life was drugs jail, drugs, jail . . . .
“I told him that I come to jail to get rest. He turned to me and said: ‘That ain’t mek no sense. How you mean rest? Why you can’t rest outside?’ But you see, he didn’t know how in love I was with drugs, especially cocaine. He didn’t understand that I was caught up in the drug world,” said the father and grandfather.
Boyce said he wanted to change, and tried to on numerous occasions, but found it hard to completely turn his life around because “I was possessed.”
In 1997, he was enrolled in the Teen Challenge rehabilitation programme, and completed the programme. But no sooner was he away from rehabilitation, he went back to drugs, trouble and as a result back to jail.
“But it was on September 10, in 2008, when I made a serious decision. I was in ‘town, in Nelson Street. I was hungry, lonely, frustrated, suicidal and still thinking how to get cocaine. I said to myself: ‘You, boy, you is an animal to yourself, boy. If you could treat yourself so, you would kill people.’ I immediately turned to myself and said: ‘Lord, if you allow me to open my eyes when I wake up, just don’t allow me to smoke for that day’.”
According to Boyce, since that night, he has not put his hands on any illegal drugs, alcohol or cigarettes, because it was time for him to run from that world that “was doing nothing good for me.”
“On the 6th of February, I went into Street House [rehabilitation programme] and that was the beginning of the real change. The people there provided me with a job. I was able to relax, keep focused and set goals. I was living a stable life since I was there. I was often counselled. And the same bottle habit I supported my drug addiction with, turned into a business which I am still running,” said Boyce, shaking his head.
As tears welled up in his eyes, Boyce declared that today, he has a job, a close relationship with his family and he is a proud homeowner.
He said: “I am a member of a church, church groups and I am the coach of a Christian basketball team.
“I want to advise any young person who has touched or is thinking about touching drugs, to abstain. I was young and I know that when you are young you want to experiment or explore but try to ignore those feelings. And stay away from bad company, sometimes that’s the beginning of a life of misery,” Boyce said.