By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 25, 2012
He was 13 when Neil Deo first smoked weed.
It was something he had been asked not to do by teachers, by society, but that day when he tried it out with his friends, it felt good.
Before he could give it a thought, he was on to the next one, and then the next.
Within a few months of first tasting weed, he was doing cocaine, LSD, and meth.
“It was all about experimenting for me,” he says.
Sooner than he could realise, Neil Deo was addicted to drugs.
Now a hard-working, family man, a volunteer at the Squamish fire department, Deo recalled rthe dark days of his life recently in an interview with the Squamish Reporter.
As he browsed his memories, he wondered what could have become of his life if he had carried on with his addiction.
Deo was born and raised in Squamish, the youngest son of a heavy duty mechanic.
He was a good student and planned to enroll at BCIT for a career in his father’s footsteps, have a job, and finally a family.
He has done all that now, but not before making a sharp detour from a life about to be wasted by drugs.
“All my friends were doing it. You would go to a party and people would be doing drugs,” he recalls his entrapment.
Deo says research suggests one out of a 100 people who consume heavy drugs will get addicted to it.
“My friends were able to stop it, but I couldn’t. I was that one out of a 100.”
Deo did graduate from BCIT, but he was unable to hold a relationship or a job for long.
“I got fired from three jobs, I lost friends and girlfriends, it was as if I was living my life in a haze,” he said.
Knowing he should seek help, he moved back to live in Squamish with his family, and later enrolled in a de-addiction centre in the Lower Mainland.
He remembers it as one of the most gruelling periods of his life, but after weeks of detox and quiet determination, he made a comeback.
It’s been ten years since he left drugs and his story had been told and retold several times in schools and in the media.
Now, he works as a heavy duty mechanic and also operates his own company. He is married now and has a three-month old daughter around which his life revolves.
He also volunteers for the local fire department, and is one of the directors at Squamish Counselling Service.
Still, he keeps his guard up.
“One beer and I could lose my family, my house, and friends, and I would never do that,” he said.
“I’m sobriety manifested. I’m Neal again.”