Ebenezer Boabeng was just 13 years old when he experimented with drugs for the first time. Here, he describes how he got himself into drugs and alcohol but now devoted his life to making sure other guys don’t fall into the same trap.
My addiction started at a young age in junior high school. I was bullied a lot. To avoid being bullied, I associated myself with the most notorious boys in my class. They were into rapping and being a big fan of rap music myself, I followed them everywhere they went. I told them to teach me how to rap and they told me they only got inspiration for their lyrics when they smoked marijuana. I should have known this decision wouldn’t end well.
One afternoon after school, they were going “somewhere” and refused to take me along. Upset, I trailed them from a distance, and when we got there, i saw them smoking something and asked and they said it was weed. I sat and watched them smoke for the first day. The second day, right after school, we gathered at the same place and I partook in the session. I took the first puff and as a novice I began to cough uncontrollably. For two weeks I was still coughing. The cough was so severe that I couldn’t go to school so my gang paid me a visit at home. In our conversation, they assured me that it was normal and not to be afraid because eventually i would be fine.
Slowly but surely, I became addicted to marijuana. I could barely survive an hour without this green goodness. To make matters worse, I decided to get dreadlocks which caused fear and panic within my family. I eventually became the leader of the gang and started dealing in the sale and distribution of marijuana in the community.
After junior high school, things escalated pretty quickly. My situation became worse because I added alcohol to the mix and became a serial thief. We used to steal cassava and plantain from people’s farms. My addiction to marijuana almost made me go bananas. I moved in with my uncle in Odorna, Accra and as the saying goes birds of the same feathers flock together. When i moved to the new neighborhood I quickly made some ghetto friends and began to move with them. My marijuana use had escalated greatly by this point. It became so serious that I had to smoke marijuana and cigarettes before doing anything.
One day we went for a funeral in my hometown. In-between the funeral, i went to smoke some marijuana. After smoking I vomited to the extent that I couldn’t stand on my two feet. I fell unconscious and was rushed to the hospital. On the hospital bed I heard a voice saying, “Don’t go back to alcohol”. When I was discharged from the hospital I decided to heed to the “voice” and not take alcohol anymore but I continued smoking.
When I fully recovered, I came back to Accra and on one Sunday my brothers told me to prepared for church. I was feeling reluctant but I had no choice than to follow them. At the concluding part of the service the pastor said, “If you are here and you want to give your life to Christ, move forward”. My brothers went forward and I also followed them to the podium. I was very shy. We kneeled and he pray for us. As he was praying for us I felt something in my body i had never felt before. I had never known Christ but it felt very like the Holy Ghost. It felt very weird but I didn’t give it much thought after that.
After that experience, I started hearing a voice anytime I smoked. The spirit pushed me away from it and I was able to abstain from marijuana for a week. The next Sunday I went to the same church and had the opportunity to talk to the head pastor. I told the pastor everything I was going through and he told me to come for Monday prayers at the church premises. He also encouraged me to pray regularly. I took this guidance serious and attended all prayer meetings, sometimes at prayer meetings I would be given the chance to lead prayers and also pray for others. Through constant prayers I became strong in the Lord but the secret was that I was still visiting marijuana anytime I felt the urge.
Ashamed, i asked God to forgive me even though i still smoked. I became very serious with my prayers. One day the church notified me that my hard work in the church has been recognized by the head pastor. Months later I was anointed and ordained as a deacon. From there I saw the hand of God upon me and I had to allow myself to be used by God.
I had to work harder, from a deacon through hard work and dedication I was anointed as a minster and then an evangelist. It was during this time the youth ministry also elected me as their president and since that day my life has never been the same. I have not touched marijuana ever since.
So I am here to tell you – there is life after so much damage, there is life after so much trauma. There is life after people have told you that you are nothing, that you are worthless and that you will never amount to anything. There is life – and I’m not just talking about a little bit of life. There is a lot to life than you think. Keep your mouth shut and your ears wide open, and God will use you to change the lives of many.