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Everyone has value

Viliama Vuna in Tonga
Viliama has graduated from the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Centre in Tonga.

The first day I came here to class, I asked myself, ‘Why am I here?

Is this class important to me or not? Should I attend all the class for the whole session or will I keep on running away?’ But after the first day, I knew why. I knew the purpose behind why I was sent here. I also knew it was in God’s plan—he sent me here at just the right time to change my life, to pull me out from the valley of death and show me the right things to do.

Before I came to this class, I used to drink three days a week, especially when I had worked hard, or when I was stressed or had problems with my family. I would always drink whenever I felt lonely or had problems. I would drink and drink!

At the time, I thought that was the best thing to do. I spent most of my wages buying alcohol and tobacco, but never anything useful, and I hated to stop drinking while I still had money in my pocket.

Since coming to The Salvation Army, I have a new life and have learnt really useful things about myself. I now know how bad alcohol and smoking are for my body. And The Salvation Army taught me how to manage my anger.

Now that I know how bad alcohol is for my life, I don’t ever want to go back to it and will try to protect myself from its influence. I realised that if I did not stop drinking or at least decrease my drinking, it meant I didn’t really love myself, my family, my neighbours and others around me. That’s because when I get drunk, I do things that are not good for me or for other people. I can be hurt—and sometimes they are hurt too.

It is the same with smoking. If I smoke at home, town or wherever I am, I can damage others because they breathe in the smoke from the tobacco I use.

I am thankful for the chance to choose which way I will go in life.

I tell my classmates to remember that everyone has value, so don’t look down on yourself or others. And don’t let the wrong things you have done push you down, just believe in God and you will find success.

I know that God has done a miracle in my life! I’m saved from death! What God has done for me, he will do for all my brothers and sisters. Just like the quote we have heard in class says, ‘Divided we fall, united we stand.’ I pray we will give glory and honour in all that we do to God only. Malo ‘aupito!—Thank you!

By Viliama Vuna (abridged from War Cry, 4 May 2013, p9)