Jonah Manzano thought it was his last day on earth. More than a year later, the overcomer shares his story of hope and recovery believing it will inspire those who are fighting the same battle.
Addiction is a treacherous grip. But there is hope of freedom from its bondage. The story of singer and song-writer Jonah Manzano is a living example of someone who emerged from a terrifying illness that almost took his life.
“This topic is not for me to keep, but for people out there that are struggling with some sort of addiction and depression,” Mr Manzano shares.
The start of his addiction
Mr Manzano shares that he struggled with addiction way back his college years whilst living in Sydney.
‘My addiction started during college years. Although I come from a Christian family, I was influenced by my friends to try it. I used to say I won’t try drugs because I was studying but then it just got me.
His addiction started subtly. From alcohol as a sleep aid to his insomnia.
“I started with alcohol. When I wake up, I drink immediately. It’s literally beside me before and after I wake up. It was so hard to stop.
When alcohol did not seem to give him the quick fix anymore, his friends introduced him to MDMA, better known as ecstasy.
“Alcohol did not made me feel good anymore. So I thought of going to a different direction. My friends introduced ecstasy.”
Mr Manzano shares that at first, ecstasy gave him the boost he needed. It was like a cup of coffee, only better. He found himself taking more pills just to keep up.
“I would get so high, but then I’d get so low. So I was looking for it all the time. If I don’t take, I couldn’t function.”
It came to a point when all of his hard earned money went to fund his drug addiction.
How drug overdose almost took his life, a wake up call
“It was early morning on September 2019, I thought it would be my last day on earth. I can’t believe what I have done to my life. I called triple 0 and told the operator I can’t breathe! Please send help immediately. I felt like my body was floating. I was vomiting in the toilet and went to get some water but couldn’t really feel it in my throat.”
Mr Manzano bravely reveals he had taken 7 pills of ecstasy tablets overnight.
“I took one at 9pm, one at 12 midnight, one at 3 and 6am, and doubled it at 8am. It came to a point when I couldn’t breathe, my feet were cold, sweating and my face felt like an icepack. I just felt really cold, and my body was pretty much numb.”
Not long, the paramedics came and rushed him to Nepean hospital. The doctor later on confirmed that it was drug overdose that almost claimed his life.
“The doctor said that I have OD’d on ecstasy and I wouldn’t even survive with the amount that I have taken.”
Fighting against addiction
In retrospect, Mr Manzano believes his addiction rooted from his discontentment in life.
“In my experience, the problem was I had everything. Job, family, everything. But I was not content of my life. I was unhappy [depressed] so I tried everything.
It’s been almost a year and a half since the day of the drug overdose incident and he says he is grateful that he is now in a safe place with the help and support of his family.
“It was not easy to quit, but I believe I have fought it with the help of my family and faith. I quit drugs because I only have one life. That near-death experience was a wake up call.”
Lessons and healing through music
Mr Manzano hopes that his story will serve as an encouragement to those who are in the same journey. He believes that anyone struggling can successfully overcome addiction.
“Whatever addiction you may have, you are not alone. First, accept that you have an addiction. Second, do not be afraid to seek help and treatment. Thirdly, be aware on what triggers your addiction. Do not give up on recovery, have a plan, and stay in faith.”
At the moment, Mr. Manzano continues to fight and heal with the the help of music and his faith.
"God gave me a second chance to live and pursue what I need to do with my life and music.”
Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline crisis support on 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 and Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 (for young people aged 5 to 25). More information is available at Beyond Blue.org.au and lifeline.org.au
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