ONCE A JUNKIE, NOT ALWAYS A JUNKIE

Brown Sugar, Cocaine, Morphine and more – a reformed addict reveals his anguished journey to hell and back



Hi, for obvious reasons, I choose to be unnamed. Not because I haven’t given up drugs, but because otherwise society won’t let me ever forget that I once was a junkie. So suffice it to say I’m from the middle class, in my middle age and a businessman. I have a wife and child who are no longer with me. My favourite music was and is ‘60s and ‘70s Blues, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Let us start then from when I, college kid and confirmed brown sugar addict, who’d tried cocaine and LSD only briefly, told the truth at home…

DEEP AND DEEPER INTO DRUGS
Put into a

detoxification centre, the doctor told me to take a twomonth holiday as the ultimate cure. This didn’t quite work as I carried on with hashish and marijuana and was back on brown sugar in five months. With my father’s death and my habit worsening, I started doing the rounds: clean-up centres, shrinks… They’d pop me with substitute pills during the clean-up period which made me use brown — almost compulsively — the day I was out. I then joined the famous ’12 Step Fellowship Programme’, where a
periodic group meeting of addicts and ex-addicts serve to put in place a self-help theory. This kicked off a process and I actually stopped doing drugs for four years. But, two mistakes occurred. I stopped attending the meetings, following some disagreements, thinking I didn’t need them any more. And I kept drinking. If one uses alcohol or substitute drugs to take a break from drugs, one is technically still an addict — it’s only a matter of time before you come back to your ‘favourite drug’ again! For me, that time happened—impulsively, as always in the case of a relapse, when I saw a brown sugar addict on the road, and asked him to get me some. Regular usage since landed me with impending gangrene on my fingers and an in-house detox at a friend’s Lonavla residence.

CLEAN AND THEN HELL AGAIN
Then followed a glorious six-year period where I gave up drugs as well as alcohol! I did
amazingly well at my investment business, bought a house, got married to an awesome woman and had a child. I also started visiting the Fellowship again but somehow couldn’t use the ‘self help’ process to look into ‘myself’. Addiction persists due to certain character defects. If those aren’t quelled, abstinence – whether chemically induced or otherwise – crumbles. So when adverse circumstances (some were financial, others I kept shut about) struck suddenly, I clung to cocaine. Strains showed in my marriage for the first time, and the usage added to the monetary losses. I had to sell my house and move to another city. My wife, with our child, refused to move with me. Post my shift, I went on to do brown sugar, coke and morphine, with my weight dropping to 45 kgs and my entire arm being struck by impending gangrene. A detox centre I was at refused to take responsibility for me. My brother stepped in to have me discharged from there.

FINALLY, A DAWN
I hated the idea of ‘rehab’. I’d often been advised to try it by a counsellor or a friend. But my
mental block stemmed from an obvious fact – being confined to one place for months on end! You can imagine the fit I threw when I woke up to find myself not at home, but in the Living Free Foundation Treatment Centre for Substance Abuse. Still reeling from the drugs I’d overdone, I didn’t consider that going home in this state would have led to doing more drugs, which, in time would lead to death. Within a month, however, I decided to give this my best shot.
Now, I, a sterling science and engineering graduate, have always been very cynical. But while treating this process very gingerly in the beginning, going through it gradually helped me cure my cynicism — which in itself was a root cause for addiction in weird ways.
Having finished the programme around a year ago, I’m clean now in a very different way from before. An incident that occurred a few months back however, must be shared. I was
staying with a friend in D e l h i , who’d g o n e clean just like me. He told me one day, “Dude, I just relapsed.” I started shaking, thinking that his failure would discourage me into the same. But instead of keeping this to myself, like I would have earlier, I spoke to some friends about this immediately. My next decision was to confront him and say that if he didn’t throw the stuff out, I wouldn’t stay on at his place.
I keep visiting the centre, to help out as its staff now. The reason is more selfish than altruistic. Helping the people here out of their addiction, reminds me not to slip back into my own. The prospect of addiction, of any kind, never goes away. The first step towards fighting it, is understanding that it must be fought constantly…

— A S TOLD TO RISHI MAJUMDER


Here is a list of drug rehabilitation centres situated in various parts of Mumbai —
Kripa Foundation – Drug Awareness, Counselling, Assistance and Rehabilitation Centre
Mt. Carmel Church, 81/A Chapel Road, Bandra (W), Mumbai – 400 050. Ph: 26405411 / 26433027.
Drug Abuse Information Rehabilitation and Research Centre

H- Sitaram Bldg, Palton Road, Mumbai 400001 (India). Ph: 23453253.
Drug abuse management, treatment, counselling, rehabilitation, hiv/aids rehabilitation,
Opp. Tarabhai Hall, Marine Lines, Mumbai – 400021. Ph: 2817914.
Forum Against Drugs
2,Soona Mahal, 143,Marine Drive, Churchgate, Mumbai 400020.
Ph: 22045441
National Addiction Research Centre
Bhardawadi Hospital, 5th Floor, Opp. Navrang, Andheri (W), Mumbai 400008.
Christian Unity Centre
A-Block, Teachers Quarters, Hume High School, (Opp. Seva Niketan), Byculla, Mumbai – 400 008.

This article first appeared in Mumbai Mirror, Times Of India: http://alturl.com/hv85

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