Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Nobody really knows how addictions work, and let’s not kid ourselves that we do. You don’t really know what that addict is going through, whether that alcoholic really enjoys that next bottle he is asking the waiter to bring him, how every whiff of cigarette smoke nauseates that smoker or how much that heroin addict hates needles or even how staunch a religionist that sex addict really is. It really doesn’t matter who you are or how much will power you think you have. If that particular moment is not handled correctly, you WILL relapse.
Most if not all addicts hate the fact that they are what they are and self hate the moment they relapse. This is a battle not many win; there is no stronger foe to engage in battle than your own mind. Your mind knows you and who you are, your weaknesses and how to exploit them, your reasoning and how to counter that. It will subconsciously keep tabs of every single place and time you can get your “little” addiction sorted out.
See, the problem is we treat addiction like you can make it go away with a 28 day stint in rehab and that’s the end of it or simply forcing it out cold turkey but that’s not how it works. It requires a life-long vigilance to stay clean. At least this is true for substance abuse.
I had the same notion.
We’ve all experienced addiction in some level. It doesn’t necessarily have to be you who’s abusing whatever it is you are abusing the fact of the matter remains that you are an addict. Be it substance, be it pain or be it emotional. Moreover, you can be affected by addiction by being the person around the addicted party. Addictions hurt those around you just as much as they do you. The first reason being the obvious one that you cannot see the full picture when you are part of it. They however, can. They see your pain, your suffering and they sympathize with you. Nobody likes to see a loved one damage themselves for something they can very well do without. What’s worse is everything they try seems to lead to the same solid rock wall that may very well send you down that relapse path.
I have friends battling with various addictions, all the way from substance to emotional to pain addictions and what I have concluded for myself is these are possibly the most vulnerable individuals on God’s green earth. Anything can trigger that spark, literally anything. Even something you say. The thing is, all these facts are facts that are readily available in any site, platform or written literature about addictions. Some we take to heart, some we just let slide because we do not fully understand that this is more a mental disease than it is a physical one.
One of these said friends of mine, a recovering heroin addict came to see me yesterday. Coincidentally, “Madaraka Day”. For the longest time I looked down at her habits thinking she’s better than that and even got angry whenever I’d think about her because to me she was smarter than that. What, I’ve known her 13 years, right from when we were tadpoles in form 2.
She had proper schooling too and she was one of the brightest minds I knew. Graduated Law student from a prestigious campus, heck she had the entire world at her feet, oh and she was one hell of a looker too. Radiant smooth skin, almond shaped bark brown eyes, sensual curves, a voice that could put angels on edge … sigh. The kind of woman you could go on for days about. And yes, I had one hell of a crush on her.
So this one time, a couple of years back, she came over to my studio for a photo-shoot. For an album cover she said. How could I say no, crush 101 symptoms. Didn’t matter to me that she had brought along her boyfriend, dotted I’s and crossed t’s; she was in my world now.
That is until I realized she actually wasn’t. For every complete shoot, she’d pop into the little side kitchen for a bit and come back with a little sniffle. I didn’t think much of it, the boyfriend was in the waiting room and any access he’d have to her would have to be through the main studio space and he seemed rather preoccupied.
“What’s that you keep going to do huko ndani ?”
“Promise you wont judge”, she responded.
Do I ever, I said to myself thinking I’ve seen it all so nothing would really shock me. Kila nyani na starehe yake I always say.
She opened a tiny piece of white paper that had been folded into something tiny packet type thingie to reveal a white powder. Kinda like powdered sugar. My first thought was movie-esc, cocaine. I had never seen someone do it but I had watched movies and I knew what it looked like.
I was wrong.
“Heroin”, she corrected.
And almost immediately I could feel the judgments’ scribble themselves on my forehead.
“Say what now?”
My surprise didn’t seem to faze her, I assume because I was probably not the first one she had shown this side of her. I was filled with questions of course. This was the golden girl, how the fuck did she find herself in this shit storm?
We finished the shoot and when I got a moment with her she explained that her boyfriend dealt the product and that was how he made ends meet.
Immediate loathing.
I mean, I don’t even think that’s enough to explain what I felt for that goon as he walked over rubbing his nose, sniffling, and proceeded to put his hand across her shoulders.
Babe umemwuliza?” he asked her and she looked at him then back at me. Didn’t say a word though.
He seemed to take the cue and asked if I knew anyone who partook in the activity and that if I did I should connect them and I would get a cut. I nodded. I didn’t agree but I nodded.
They left that night but not without dropping me one of those little paper packets and told me to try it and see if I would like it. All I could think of was the buzzing in my head and why I couldn’t make it stop.
Needless to say, I tried it once they had gone. I’m stupid like that sometimes.
After the high was done, I had one conclusion in mind. That was definitely the last time I was gonna try that. Don’t get me wrong, there were no hangovers or sijui what bad feelings after. I just knew for a fact that that was a high I could get easily addicted to. I won’t get into the whole how did it felt story because it’s not necessary for the story I’m telling today.
I never communicated back to her about it or about getting her other “clients”. Even when she came back for her photos, still with him. I decided that I would tell her that I wasn’t for her doing that and that she should stop it immediately. This had always worked between her and me. Whenever she saw me screwing up she’d give me a firm heads up and I would concur. Likewise for her, it was the nature of our friendship.
Not this time.
That was the last time I heard what I can call a proper anything from her. She disappeared from the face of the earth, not picking up calls or replying to texts. Literally anything that was my life with her faded into the horizon. But these things happen, or at least this is how I convinced myself that everything would just re-calibrate and life would move on. Besides, before the shoot, we had grown distant as well so I didn’t think too much of it.
It wasn’t until mutual friends came to me telling me that she had for lack of a better word shunned her entire family and circle of friends for this goon of a boyfriend and his product that I realized she may not be coming back.
I started my frantic search for her with no avail. Perhaps it was the former mutual respect that we had for each other that would sometimes lead her to contacting me but it was just to make plans for linking up that never bore fruit. I was becoming exceedingly frustrated with the way this once bright girl was handling her life. It made me angry even.
I used every manipulation approach I could use, “Do it for me.” I said, “Don’t do it for me, do it for you” I said, “Please just try and do it for your family m’dear.” I said, “Think of your mum, your siblings, they haven’t seen you in years, they don’t even know if you’re alive.” I said, “Just up and leave that guy already, you don’t owe him anything, least of all your life.” I said, “You know what, it’s your life and I’m done with you and it.” I said, “Why am I even stressing with you?” I said, “If you really want out you’ll get out.” I said, “Kwani ni lazima?” I said, “Mind over matter.” I said, “The people you hang around are the ones causing you not to get out.” I said, “Get rid of them and you’ll get rid of it.”
Years went by, nothing. Nothing in terms of a reply, a response, anything.
My communications to her began showing my impatience, calling her a liar whenever she failed to do something about the various opportunities that I had floated her way in the hopes they would pull her out. One or two responses in two weeks became a month, and then months then eventually stopped all together.
I had been side-lined.
One thing that we do not understand is an addiction will never bitch out at you. You satisfy it and it “satisfies” you. It’s a false win win. But again, if you are within the picture, you won’t see the whole picture. Every addict has a reason as to why they are where they are and it has nothing to do with where they hang or who they hang out with, if they want to do it, they will do it, regardless of who they’re with or where they are.
This didn’t happen because they are weak, this is an actual physical thing driven by the brain and their addiction doesn’t just go away just because they didn’t use for such a long time.
No one should think of addiction as a moral issue.
I didn’t get this. And as a result, I lost her.
You see, addiction replaces everything in a person’s life. It will become your family, your friend, your lover. And just like you would these three, you will unwittingly turn to this addiction whenever the world seems to turn against you.
This wasn’t a story for addicts; this is a story for people dealing with people with addictions.
Learn them, feel them, understand their fears, and most importantly, support them.
It’s a struggle.
And they hate it too