A friend lost a close friend to a drug overdose yesterday. This post is for her, it wont take away any of the pain of losing someone in this tragic way, or help ease the grief that losing someone brings with it, but I hope to shed a small ray of light on why these devastating things happen sometimes.
I shy away from writing about my own past drug addictions. I know I do. I know firsthand the stigma that surrounds drug addiction, and I am also always aware of some of the terrible things I did to my family and close friends while I was in the full throes of addiction.
People become drug addicts for many, many different reasons. As I always state, I can only speak to my own experiences, and those were self-medicating for my mental health issues. I will never speak on behalf of somebody unless expressly asked to do so.
Drug addiction is an illness that eats away at your very soul. As I have said elsewhere, your drug of choice is the first thing you think of when you wake up, and even when you are high, you are still thinking about your next hit, and it is always the last thing you think of before you pass out.
There are many different triggers for drug users. And I will admit something here, I still crave drugs everyday. I am an addict. I may have learnt what my triggers are and how to avoid them but it doesn’t stop the craving. I have not touched my particular drug of choice since the week Cathy Freeman won gold at the 2000 Olympics. Since then I have probably thought about scoring a million times.
I will also admit I miss the chase. The chase that involves looking to get high. I always think of it as part of the adrenaline that comes with drugs. And I didn’t stop chasing that first ever high I got from the first time I tried what I call my drug. I chased that same high for years.
I stole money from my family, my friends, I lied, A LOT; I was never living my truth as I do today. My whole life consisted of one lie after another, and all for drugs. When I think about it from my perspective today, it amazes me that there aren’t more drug addicts. So many people live lives of desperation, of hopelessness, of worry and fear.
Even for reformed addicts the slope is always present, just around the corner. A job loss, the loss of a loved one, a break up, a car or house repossession. All of these things just triggers waiting to happen. I often think to myself, when I see news reports or articles about how strong some people are in overcoming something like losing their houses in a tornado or bushfire, that is not true strength. True strength lies in facing an addiction everyday and overcoming it. Houses can be rebuilt, but it takes a fuckton more to rebuild a person.
Most drug addicts deaths are accidental. Most of these addicts did not want to die. They more than likely miscalculated their doses. And I hope my friend knows that. I also know that my friends friend was going through a very rough time, which is more than enough to trigger a relapse.
Remember the strength of your friend in being drug free, don’t remember the shitty cards he was dealt. Because I happen to think the strongest people alive are the people who have said no at some point, not today.