Munu’s father is an alcoholic. She recalled how, during her childhood, she saw her parents fight constantly and felt neglected. She said, “He was an alcoholic then and even now. So then means he didn’t feel anything for me, that he has a daughter.”

Her father left but returned to the family after 10 years when Munu was 15 years old. This was very difficult for Munu and her mother and Munu started drinking. Over time her alcohol consumption got worse. Munu explained that “sometimes at a college friend’s birthday or during celebration if any. I used to go like this. Come home late. Like that it continued and I got addicted.”

Munu felt powerless over alcohol and it was having a negative effect on her life: “If I would have drunk within my limit, in a manageable way, suppose in a birthday party sometimes like how normal girls drink now-a-days. I didn’t drink like that. Unmanageable life- means my life became unmanageable.” She started to neglect her studies although “somehow managed to pass my HS”and her health got bad: “I became weak because of all these that harmed me more. And I even fell sick in between my HS finals.”

As her curiosity grew, Munu moved from one substance to another: “I stopped doing classes and bunked a lot. There was a field behind the college. I used to go there and have weed.” However, she did not enjoy smoking weed and always returned to alcohol.In college, she met classmates who were also dealing drugs. Two of the girls offered her brown sugar, but she didn’t do it the first time. They said: “’You also take. It’s just a little.’ Means the powder. ‘It’s just a little. Taking a little won’t be a problem but still it’s up to you’.” However, curiosity got the better of her and “Saturday when I came out after my class, I didn’t realize myself that I called that boy, the one who was a peddler.”The impact was very strong and she realised “I won’t be able to take this for many days, or many months, because my body won’t take this.” Indeed, when she got home her physical condition made her family suspicious and her mother found the substance in her pocket:

“I was having tea. There my mother asked, ‘What is this?’ So, I looked at her and she looked at me. My mother didn’t hit me though. I thought she would slap me once or twice but she didn’t. […] My mother asked, ‘I gave you a thousand rupees for pocket money. Where is it?’ I said, ‘I gave it there’. So, my mother sat down and started crying.”

Her mother asked around to find out what Munu had been up to and decided to send her for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, there was no women’s rehab near so Munu went to a centre for men having made a special request. Being the only girl, she suffered a lot of prejudice and taunts. She said: “There are many negative patients who wish that, ‘May she relapse and come back again. And she is a girl, how would she be able to remain clean after going out?’.”And, after completing her three-month programme, Munu decided to stay longer fearing that she would relapse. Munu explained: “I was scared that how will I face my using friends. Means they will force me again and I may get influenced and start having alcohol again.”

So, Munu took her time in the centre to change her habits and develop a new lifestyle, helping others in the process. She work hard on a change that would enable her to, not just stay abstinent, but go into recovery. In the time of the interview Munu was in a good place.

“I have recovered. It’s now I have understood that I can also do something. And since I got into recovery I have left substance. I have left using substance. It’s been one year now […] And now I am working in that way. I am in NGO now for a year. Three months running- it will be four months soon. And I wish I get to celebrate like this for another two years, three years, five years.”

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