The other side-effects of addiction

Lost fix

© RecoveryMaldives

Getting through addiction and climbing up the ladder of recovery is not an easy task. Personally, I find the stopping part (of drugs) easier, than the challenges in recovery. This is mostly due to the baggage of our past we have to carry. The problem is the moment we ditch the baggage, it comes back haunting us. If I’m not ready to face my past head-on, the task of staying away from drugs gets harder.

I carry a lot of baggage from my past. These include issues of trust, integrity, numerous relationship damages, to name a few. There are times, if I sit and start to ponder over my past, the feeling of guilt and shame overrides the feeling of self-worthiness. The trip is too bad for me to handle, I tend to shun it, at least for that moment. This in turn bottles it up and sometimes makes it worse too. However, what I’ve found is time helps. As they say, time is the best healer and I truly believe that from experience.

As the journey of life continues and recovery gets stronger, which I’ve yet to experience, my belief is it will make things much easier. Life is not easy. Addiction was not easy, but honestly, for me, life is much harder; and that’s the beauty of life, I guess. Recovery gets challenging for me in every aspect of my life. To mend the broken bones, is not quite an easy task in itself. Having a reality-check helps a lot. Assessing the present situation and doing a little mental comparison helps too.

As time goes by, the other side-effects of addiction — the mental and spiritual part — becomes a memory.

HOPE

LP-704-Maldives-Beach-At-Sunset-Maxi-Poster-91Where is the moment? The moment of happiness, serenity, fulfillment…It never seems to come. There are days I simply give up hope—the hope of a new life. There are days which pass so slowly, as if in slow motion, I can’t find anything fulfilling to do. Nothing seems to interest me anymore. The idea of bathing myself in heroin corners me from above and beyond. Do I simply give in to the fight? Or, as they say, surrender? Surrender to what? To the hole that is consuming me from inside; despite, all the movements in my life.

A ray of hope is all I need. I chuckle, and convince myself that, at least for the day.

A glimpse of the road to recovery

The bridge to paradise

The bridge to paradise

I was ushered into the world of recovery by fellow addicts – literally dragged into the other side of addiction. I didn’t have any choice in the matter. It was not the lowest point in my life; in fact, I was totally convinced I could do drugs responsibly. The concept of powerlessness and surrender were totally foreign to me; contextually I had no inkling what they meant either.

To paint you a picture of how highly I held myself, I had just turned 20 and I was managing a small business, I had a full-time job as a draftsman and on the side, I was freelancing small drafting and quantity-based gigs; on top of it, I was attending a night college to do a management degree; and, for the cherry on top, I was doing heroin daily.

This was my awaited rising I thought. After an unsuccessful run at College abroad and dropping out after a couple of semesters, I had to get back home. Toward the end of my fateful stay there I had felt so bored and empty; mostly due to extreme partying, smoking pot, sniffing speed, popping up ecstasy, which all ultimately lead to falling back to heroin abroad. Now, that’s what heroin does for the best of us. After a while the real partying stops and you fall back into the gruesome world of heroin addiction.

After coming back home, I struggled through on and off heroin for more than a year. I even did quit for a year or so. This was before I heard of the word recovery. Slowly, I got into the passionate mode of achieving the all-planned goals. I landed in a job, and before I knew it, with all the proper contacts I had, mostly family oriented luck I started my own small company and the free-lancing I mentioned earlier (enough with the bragging).

This was the time I was earning quite a lot; till now I have never been able to earn that much. The high disposable income I had, guaranteed only one thing – a continuous supply of heroin. I never felt withdrawals those days. There was always stuff. I thought this could last forever. With all the money I was making, I was living a poor life. At the end of the day, my folks were fulfilling my basic needs; I just spent most of it on drugs.

As they say, with drugs it’s always a downward plunge. It all came crashing down on me. I was on my knees sooner than I anticipated. I lost track of the business, I was fired from my job and I was a total wreck. All my relationships were at an all-time low. Most of my friends were far-faraway.

Just a couple of months before the plunge, I met a couple of guys, who opened a new world of possibilities for me – the façade of ultimate resurrection from heroin. Now famous as the ‘Journey’ in Male’ these guys were the founding fathers. Back then, it was just a run-down building with no proper facilities. These guys literally talked me into going there with them. I still remember the exact words they told me: They have stumbled upon a formula to get out of drugs – To live clean and sober. It was called narcotics anonymous they said: A fellowship of addicts who are in a recovery journey. They said it was a simple program and we have to follow it one day at a time and it has worked wonders for millions of people. Without any dillydally, they just told me on my face I had no other choice but to adopt the program; otherwise, there was no hope for addicts like us.

Did I really listen? It didn’t make any sense to me back then. The more I went to those meetings, the more I was using; ironically, my usage sky-rocketed after I started attending those rooms. I had to stop both: going to “journey” and doing drugs.

The Tsunami of life

The 2004 Tsunami, Courtesy: http://flickrhivemind.net/

The 2004 Tsunami,
Courtesy: http://flickrhivemind.net/

It was the happier days. The early days when you just found out what drugs were – not that you never heard of it, but never really experienced it! It was the time of my life. I was young, ambitious, full of energy, thought I could conquer the world. Dreaming about my future and planning ahead with great plans was the thing those days.

Just a couple of weeks (or months, I am not really sure) before the Tsunami that hit the Maldives back in 2004, the tsunami of the high life has already hit me – back then I did not realize it was to be the biggest tsunami I had to face throughout my life. As I narrated in my earlier post, I was already introduced to the two major drugs that were widely available in Male’ (the capital of Maldives) by this time; I did not realize I was hooked on from the start. Yeah sure, I was hooked on because it was already becoming a part of my lifestyle, but I cared less. I was in it to explore and quench my thirst for curiosity. It was adventurous, I was making new friends (in hindsight, I was moving away from my real friends), and I was having a blast.

So, with the Tsunami that took the lives of several Maldivians, my life hanged on a balance too. More like a ticking bomb – it could explode at any moment. With the new found love of hash oil (a derivative of cannabis), I was enjoying the coffee places near Male’ waterfront with a purpose. I found new meaning to the word chilling. My friends and I would frequent these small cafe’s quite often. Though being an outwardly conservative society,  smoking up in these coffee shops was an open secret those days. Almost everyone knew about it, but we played along being a bit careful and secretive – there was always the fear of cops busting you red-handed.

Time passed on. I got introduced to new people and before I knew it, most probably in the haze of pot high, I experimented with heroin again…