Friday, May 24, 2019

ad - dic - tion

I went to rehab for alcohol addiction in 2006, after which I made contact with an online recovery community scattered all over the world, and I remember a specific blog I read, written by the mother of a heroin addicted son.  She shared her life of his daily struggle against the addiction to heroin, going to one rehab centre after the other, the frustration at the ineffectiveness of these programmes, including the methadone treatment for heroin addicts to facilitate the detox period, with methadone itself being a highly addictive drug.  She wrote about how it tore her family apart, the financial losses suffered as he stole from the family to support his habit, the Tough Love approach, and the ultimate confrontation with helplessness in being unable to help her own son!, the lifting periods where he was not using and trying to resume his life (invariably these addicts have police records making employment difficult), only to fall again when he turned to the only god know to the users of heroin.

This morning I watched an interview addressing the drug zone in San Francisco, how junkies live in tents on the pavements, shoot up in broad daylight and die on their streets from overdose, all in full view of San Francisco residents and law enforcement.  The City thence deemed it prudent to alleviate this problem by creating ‘safe spaces’ for these addicts, where they are provided with new/clean needles and have even made nurses available to inject these addicts, if they so choose.  We are talking about a drug called Heroin, the one and only instantly addictive drug, a drug with a recovery rate of as low as 20%, a drug that almost always ends in overdose, in death, this drug offers very few second chances.

I grew up in an alcoholic home, and around the age of 15 I went on a ‘quest’ to escape what felt like hell. Everything available to me was tried, used, abused. Alcohol wasn’t strong enough to quell my rebellion, I wanted drugs. I researched drugs, the effects of various drugs, I was not interested in finding a pleasurable escape from reality, I aimed to numb every feeling I ever had, I wanted to numb my memories, my daily life, my existence. Fortunately I was young during a time in our history where drugs were not tolerated as they are today, a time when drugs were considered criminal.  Laws were in place that discouraged the use of drugs and lawmen were vigilant in applying these laws.

Looking back 30 years, I shudder to think where I would be today, were such ‘safe spaces’ available to me at that time.  I don’t know whether I’d be here to write these words, because as hurt and full of pain as I was then, I needed to be numb, I was chasing oblivion, I was seeking self-destruction.  I pray for all the damaged and hurt children, in San Francisco, in America, who have these avenues open to them, who do not have a chance because the Fathers of the City believe they can treat this problem by making it easier for the addict to take drugs and I pray for some sanity to return to this bleeding world of ours.


  1. Definitely. I, too, came from an alcoholic home and had my first drink at 14. Should have realized that I had a problem, but back then we did not talk about alcoholism and addiction. The only drug I ever used was weed. I was a afraid o the others. I had a friend who did become a heroin addict and she hit bottom in many ways. But, evidently she found her way out of that world because when I eventually found her again on FB after 40 odd years, although she had passed she had done so with loving children and grandchildren and had pulled her life together. I got clean in 1991 2hen I was 46 and haven't had a drink since. And in 2001 I finished classes and became a substance abuse counselor. I wanted to give back what was given me. But I do agree with you. there are many out there who do not have the chances that we did.

  2. Safe space? That's enabling. Give them a rehab safe space instead.
    What a blessing you escaped it.

  3. I rare touch into the life of a poet. Thank you for sharing this Shadow. It gives me hope for loved ones that still struggle.

    Being a child of fear, I didn't use drugs. I tried control to make everything feel better. Eventually, neither drugs nor control work and I had to face the feelings I had tried to get rid of. Still working on that really.

  4. There is a definite shift going on "conventional" mental illness to drug induced mental illness, friend Shadow. I have worked in psychiatry since 1979. Back then we dealt with schizophrenia, bipolar and personality disorders ... Now our units are filled with schizophrenia drug addicts, bipolar drug addicts and oodles of personality disorder drug addicts ... on top of that we are dealing with with gender dysphoria drug addicts ... it gets harder and harder to differentiate between who is who and what is what ... as they all present psychotic features, drug induced or otherwise. In a way I am glad to retire from this helping profession soon cuz itI find it makes me more and more bitter, helpless and hopeless. Anyway ... Much love to you and for your precious family. Always, cat. PS: Greetings to your singing son ... smiles ... Mine just returned from his 2 year trip by van, Leanne and cat Benny back home to Alberta. @paulleanneandavan

  5. I am a drug addict.
    There is no cure for addition just a conviction to a choice each person must make for themselves.
    Someone else can not make it for you.
    I have been at war for 22 years and the best I can do is a stalemate.

  6. My son is a recovering addict alcoholic, and it has been 5 years or will be next month. It could not have happened if he had not hit rock bottom and felt the pain of the affects of what was going on. What is going on there is horrifying to me. It is a disease that affects all involved. They are only enabling and prolonging the disease, and in many cases, these people are not reaching the place of wanting true help, because of "safe spaces". In those cases many will die of overdoses, and other affects. Thank you so much Shadow for sharing your heart and life with us.

  7. A safe place? I don't think I can wrap my head around that as I think it is called enabling. It's like putting a bandage on a wound that won't stop bleeding.

    wishing you peace, love and joy in your life...