戒毒村採訪側記

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1993 / 7月

文‧張瓊方



帶著誠惶誠恐的心情去拜訪戒毒村。

不曾接觸過吸毒的人,想像中吸毒人都與黑社會脫離不了關係,長得橫眉豎目,性情暴躁易怒。

沒想到,走入戒毒村看到的戒毒者,竟與一般人沒有兩樣。若不是有些人身上的刺青、刀疤、香菸燙出來的疤痕,寫著過去的歷史,光從他們的神情、長相,看不出任何吸毒的痕跡。

往事不堪回首

牧師告訴我,這些人能聚在這裡,真是上帝莫大的恩典,「你能想像他們在外面混的樣子嗎?」

每個人都有荒誕不經的過去,可惡又可悲的故事。儘管人物、情節不同,卻同樣不堪回首。他們都傷害過許多人,特別是最親愛的人。

一個卅幾歲的大男人,平時吊兒郎噹,但只要一說起母親,就忍不住掉淚。

他說,所有的家人都已放棄他,連妻子都離他而去,只有母親還願意接納他。「我媽已經七十六歲了,她為我傷心,頭髮變白,若沒有她我早就死了。」他說這段話的神情,讓我為之動容。

牧師劉民和也和大家一起回憶那段吸毒的日子。那時他每天偷、騙、搶,連親戚朋友都遭殃,最後變成人格破產的拒絕往來戶。甚至劉民和進教會工作以後,親友都不相信他真的變了,他們說:「這個人竟然騙錢騙進教會裡去了。」

從他們真誠的告白中,我似乎看到了他們吸毒時,曾經一度喪失的人性。

認識自己的軟弱

在牧師、傳道的耳提面命下,戒毒村裡的弟兄、姊妹們都很清楚自己的軟弱。

一位姊妹收到家人寄來一大箱她愛吃的牛奶糖,我不解地問:為什麼要這麼大費周章,寄錢來自己買不更方便?「我們這種人身上怎麼能有錢?一有錢麻煩就大了!」她笑著說。

吃著手藝不怎麼純熟的蔥油餅,一位弟兄滿足地說:「我們這種人有東西吃就不錯了,在外面我們只想吸毒,就算有龍肉都不會去買來吃。」

「我們這種人連流行音樂都不能聽,情啊、愛啊,會使我們心情浮動」,一位曾因偷聽電台節目而懷念起過去紙醉金迷的日子,一時把持不住,跑出去吸毒的弟兄這麼告訴我。

聽他們開口閉口說:「我們這種人如何如何」,一開始很為他們的自卑、妄自菲薄感到心痛。後來我漸漸了解「認清自己」對戒毒人的重要,改變自己前得先認識自己;要預防自己再跌倒,得先知道自己哪裡軟弱。

戒嘗第一口

整個採訪過程中,最令我感到不解的是,毒品究竟有什麼魔力?它為什這麼難戒呢?相信這也是許多人共同的疑惑。

對於他們形容吸毒那種「茫茫然」、「飄飄欲仙」的感受,我始終無法體會。曾經戲言,為了做這篇報導,我想要嘗試那種滋味。他們立刻以「過來人」經驗警告我,千萬不要嘗試,否則就會像他們一樣難以自拔。

他們當初就是這樣一試、再試,試上癮的。「一開始我也相信自己可以控制,絕對不會上癮,等發現上癮時,已經後悔莫及了。」這是許多戒毒人的共同經驗。

帶著滿懷的疑惑、恐懼走入戒毒村;走出戒毒村時,疑惑、恐懼一掃而光。取而代之的是感動與憂心。

感動的是,他們肯這麼努力,辛苦地與自己作戰;憂心的是,這個充滿誘惑的世界依然沒改變。我知道戒毒很難,但仍要衷心祝福正在戒毒的人,早日戒毒成功。

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EN

Help from on High

Chang Chung-fang /tr. by Phil Newell


The visit to the drug rehabilitation center was begun with a certain anxiety.

For someone who has never before been in contact with drug addicts, the stereotype is closely connected to that of criminal society, with large dark eyebrows over brooding, threatening eyes leading into a violent, powderkeg personality.

Little did we expect that when we got to the rehabilitation center we would find that the patients were no different from the run-of-the-mill. If it were not for some who had scars from tattoos, knives, or cigarette burns left by past experiences, you could never tell that these were drug addicts just from their appearance.

Forget the past:

The priest told us that it is only by the grace of God that these people have been brought together here. "Can you imagine the state they were in on the outside?"

Each individual has their own story trailing behind them, perhaps tragic, perhaps revolting. Though they differ in character and psychology, they are alike in finding it

unbearable to look backward. They have brought pain to many people, including those closest to them.

There is one thirty-plus male who normally doesn't seem to care about anything. But when you mention his mother. He cannot hold back the tears.

He says that all the members of his family had given up on him, and even his wife had left him. Only his mother was still willing to take him in. "My mother is already 76. She felt sorry for me, and went gray with worry. If it weren't for her I'd probably be dead." His expression as he said this moved me deeply.

Together with everyone else Father Simon Liu recalls his drug-dependent days. At that time he would lie, cheat, and steal daily, victimizing even his friends and family. In the end he was a completely bankrupt character with whom no one would associate. Even after Liu entered the church, his friends and relations still did not believe he had changed. They just figured that "this guy has lied his way into the church to cheat them of money."

From their bald confessions, it seemed to me that these people had regained their humanity that they had lost when they were drug-addicted.

Know your weaknesses:

Under the prompting and listening of the priests and missionaries, all the young men and women at the center have become very clear about their own weaknesses.

One girl received a large box of caramels, her favorite candy, sent by her family. I couldn't help but wonder why they spent all that money to mail the candy, and didn't just send money for her to buy it herself. "How can people in our state have money on them? As soon as we get money then there's really a problem!" she explains with a laugh.

Munching on a rather amateurish looking onion cake, one boy says in a satisfied way, "It's enough that people like us have anything to eat at all. On the outside we only thought about taking drugs, and we wouldn't buy a thing to eat even if it was the finest meal you could imagine!"

"People in our condition shouldn't even listen to pop music. All that stuff about feelings and love puts our emotions into turmoil," says one boy. He tells me that he once snuck a listen to the radio and it made him so nostalgic for those stuporous days of his past that he couldn't restrain himself and raced out to get a fix.

When you hear them say one after the other, "people like us" this, "people like us" that.... one feels pained at their apparent sense of inferiority and lack of self-esteem. It was only later that I came to gradually realize the centrality of "self understanding" to those trying to kick the drug habit: It is necessary to know oneself before one can change oneself, and if you want to avoid repeating the same mistakes it is necessary to know your weaknesses.

Resist the first bite:

Throughout the visit, what I found most inexplicable is what the attraction is to drug addiction in the first place. Why is it so hard to quit? Probably many people have the same questions.

For one thing, I couldn't identify at all with the feeling of being "stoned," or "high" or "flying" that they described. So I raised the idea of trying that sensation just once for the purposes of writing this story. But they immediately told me, as people who had been there, that I absolutely should not even try, or else I would find it as hard to get myself back together as it has been for them.

At first they too were just giving it a try, then experimenting a little more, until they were addicted. "When I began I was sure that I had everything under control, that I would never get hooked. When I discovered that I was dependent, I really regretted it." This is a very common experience among the rehabilitation patients.

I entered the drug rehabilitation village with a mixture of anxiety and skepticism. When I left my fears and doubts had been swept away. I was instead deeply moved, but also worried.

What moved me was that these people were so willing to fight bitterly within and against themselves. What worries me is that the temptation has not disappeared in the outside world. I know that freeing oneself from addiction is difficult, but I still hope that all those in rehabilitation can soon succeed.

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