The Abyss Of Drug Addiction
By Chinedu Dike
In an errant venture in curiosity –
lured from savvy of cooler judgment,
he oversteps the bounds of reality
into a state of altered awareness.
Overwhelmed by a rapid onset of
a buzzing sensation – The Rush;
emanating from deep inside him,
surging along the veins streaming
euphoria thru cells of his entire body:
inside the body, with warm pleasure
waves flushing over the tingling skin
soughing off all unpleasant feelings.
Mouth numbed, limbs heavy, eyeballs
rolling back from absolute bliss;
he savours the calm explosions of
the pulsating bubbles in his head.
A magical moment of sheer orgasmic
rapture—that ends in a dazed stupor—
ushering him into ‘wellbeing’
in a cozy blanket of content.
He falls in love with the narcotic.
And begins to relish its sweet fruition,
in a seemly pattern of use put in
the shade by his best interests.
A stake in normalcy that in time gives
way to his nightly soaring and drifting,
in an illusionary paradise of forgetting
where nothing hurts anymore.
In a bit by bit build up of tolerance to
the opiate, he grows quite a craving
for it: needing higher doses, time and
again, to sustain the desired effect.
Seemingly oblivious to its lethal effect
on the pleasure centre of his brain,
that is being hijacked and taken captive
by the illicit psychoactive substance.
A hostage position that interferes
with the interior reality of his mind.
All at once he wants to ‘use’!
He begins to look forward to using.
At times he’d skip work chasing the dragon:
pursuing the out-of-reach elation levels
of his initial high, in a vicious cycle of
ebbs and flows of mediocre and ecstasy.
Always, he’d end up with a crash below
baseline – barely able to cater for his
basic needs. The habit, no longer
is the fun that it was intended to be.
The potent drug appears to offer reliefs
not justified by external realities;
the more he indulges, the more
he seems to desire its comfort zone.
Disoriented in the rigours of his vice,
he strays in the abyss of drug addiction:
a dark, weary place where priority disorder
is dictated by events outside his control.
It is this corrupted protective-instinct which
causes his sick obsession with the opioid,
rendering him unfit to articulate rational
thoughts—a chronic brain disorder!
In this harmful shift away from reality,
utmost in his mind is the mood-altering drug:
ahead of his job, his goals, family, love,
friends, hobbies, personal hygiene.
Oddly enough the foremost essentials of life
like water, food, and sleep are not spared.
He could be ill, he won’t care.
No other thoughts can cohabit in his world. Emotionally invested in his fantasy world,
the toxic substance has kindled in him an
inner turmoil – setting off an overriding
feeling of emptiness that aches in his heart.
The habit much harder to lose than it was
to find: his relentless attempts to regain
sobriety are negated by anxiety and sickly
‘comedowns’ that intensify with severity.
These horrifying withdrawal symptoms
are a result of the stimulant’s induced
changes, in the chemistry of his brain’s
system of reward and punishment.
They’re the karmic outcomes initiated by
an upswing in his body’s tolerance to the
opiate: galling side effects that rise and
fall subject to drug levels in the system.
A habit he had maintained at the outset
due to an untainted glee it offered, has
turned against him, very often coercing
him into using for the avoidance of pain.
The mind-blower as dear and painful to
him as an imbecilic child is to its mother,
he continues on the foreboding route
for which he has no power of deviation.
Despairing in the clutches of addiction:
the drugs traumatize him, they infuse
poisons into his spine, and he doesn’t
know whether he’s coming or going.
Every day he’s kept on promising himself:
‘I’ll stop using for good after this last time.’
But that remains to be seen, as the drug
goes on dulling his inner light day by day.
In a downward spiral that stunned those
acquainted with him: he lost his job,
his car is repossessed, and he’s evicted
from a home that had been stripped bare.
The drug has evoked a negative ripple
felt throughout all that he’s part of.
An awful realization that settles in with
cold clarity, eliciting a lurch of dismay
over his dire ignorance about the drug
that has led to the ugly entrapment.
In deep, sorrowful thoughts consumed
with self-loathing, he puts a curse upon
the day he first laid eyes on the hard drug.
With the best resolve he could muster –
driven by deep remorse to kick the habit,
he strives to make his will like stone.
A facade that is soon razed by his urgent
need for the opiate merely to feel ‘normal’.
With heavy burdens of guilt and shame,
he retreats into the haze of his own misery.
In his besotting passion for the narcotic,
he’d go to any means to fuel the habit:
he’d cheat, steal, lie or betray even the
ones who care about him to get his ‘fix’.
Like spreading of cancer in the body,
his affliction has metastasized way
beyond him – chipping away at the sense
of wellbeing of everyone around him.
As frequent targets for theft his family
have to always watch out for him, in a
resentful relations where they have to
sleep with their wallets under the pillows.
Jewellery, gadgets, or any other easy
to carry household valuables that are
not safely locked away, will go missing.
For days at a time he too will vanish.
In the many months gone since losing his
source of livelihood, he’s been pushed
into several rehabilitation facilities,
but as yet has failed to clean up his act.
Also, he’s been in and out of rehab thrice
following hospital discharges for drug
overdose. On the last occasion, he was
found passed out in the family bathtub.
Timely arrival of the paramedics had saved
his life. That notwithstanding, a powerful
urge to use continues to to feed the habit
each time he’s released from therapy.
It’s been most upsetting to the parents,
who have had to watch him visibly change
before their eyes: from a good, healthy
son who had always had his act together,
to as it is, a thin, patchy-skinned recluse
with a baffled demeanour – who buries
his head in low self-esteem to conceal
glassy, bloodshot eyes from eyecontacts.
Nothing points more to the helplessness
of the family’s plight, than having to finally
admit to their little or no influence over
the ravages of the stigmatized disorder.
A harrowing experience for a household
whose life-savings along with compassion
for him, have completely been exhausted
with no more tears remaining to shed.
The hurting family at the end of its tether
confronts him with an ultimatum:
To get his life in order or be kicked out!
Coldly, they watch him leave.
Among the ranks of homeless the junkie
would wake up feeling sick, and spend his
day struggling to find ways to relieve the
incessant strain of an insatiable craving.
On rare lucky nights he’d sleep on friends’
couches, otherwise the rough sleeper
crashes wherever there’s shelter, never
worrying about waking up the next day.
A hellish existence on the streets that has
provoked a string of run-ins with the law.
Nabbed stealing on ill-fated occasions,
he’s pitilessly mobbed in inhumane ways.
Broken, sick, starving; the erstwhile ray of
hope who once had much going for him,
presently, he’s a nervous wreck envisaging
life through the lens of opioid stupor.
Far beyond his ability to ask for help,
loved ones proceed to rescue him.
Under the demeaning load of drug
dependence he staggers into a rehab.
But the often slippery climb to recovery
is never easy. It’s yet another chance to
submit to a slow and delicate therapy on
his brain – whose structure and functions
are badly impaired due to a long-term use
of the mind altering drug. In a daunting slog,
he’s expected to learn to care for a body
that now ought to work in a different way.
Desiring to put their lives back together;
in the guiding light of structured help,
many drug addicts have been able to
crawl their ways out of the dark abyss.
Amongst them are ‘walking corpses’ who
possessed by their ‘enough is enough’,
are able to find the inner fire needed to
rekindle the cold embers of self-image.
There’s the fella cast adrift feeling wholly
disconnected from self and the world.
He’s mourning the split from a vital lifeline
that’d kept him afloat in his chaotic reality.
As a relief of all anxieties coupled with
it’s inducement of a state of illusory bliss,
the opiate has been the only companion
he could count on to cheer him up.
That being so, he’s unable to justify why
he ought to be sober – when in such times,
he’s beset by an awful illness attended
by a serious depression that’s of no help.
In the face of all the hell he’s been thru,
all the things that are dear to him plus
the very essence of life on the line, he’s
left persuaded that giving up the habit will amount to a never-ending gloom
for the rest of his already sad existence.
Over and above all other reasons, he just
won’t quit because he’s unable to quit.
But alas, something’s amiss! Shattered is
that inner strength wherein lay his impulse
control. Hence, he has no recourse to
a willpower whose changeful potency
has for long been forcibly enfeebled.
Yet, as intense as the strain of the drug
may be, it’s nonetheless transient and
would dissipate in the fullness of time.
In default of any dreams of ever recouping
losses that are manifestly out of reach,
the drug with a firm grip on him serves
as a buffer to keep his ugly reality at bay.
But even so, much as he desires to jump
the rehab process, he’s bitterly pitted
against the horrors of street life that loom
upon him with such frightening aspect.
Savagely trapped with no good choices,
he slips into a mortal dread of relapse.
In anguish withdrawals torment him daily,
and they won’t let him be for a second.
Utterly incapable of rising from the ashes
to hold it all together—no hope—
nothing to hope for—everything out
of focus—mind spiraling out of control.
In a fit of extreme anxiety, the raging
desire propels him to the threshold
of total lunacy. And suddenly, his
need for a ‘hit’ becomes most vital as.
Trembling all over with fear clutching
a pilfered smartphone, forgetful of
future suffering the rehab jumper
hurries along the forbidden path.
All alone with the merciless companion:
nowhere to go and no one to turn to.
Wretchedly wretched in additive agony,
he fades away into nothingness.