A day in the life of an addict: A Poem

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had any major run-ins with my old demons but I have to remind myself constantly just how easy it can be to relapse. This year alone I’ve buried 11 friends/acquaintances/friends of friends from opiate overdoses. Now, I’ve never done heroin, I was a “white collar addict” but it’s really all the same. My goodies came out of little orange bottles and my drug dealers had white lab coats and expensive degrees. Never the less, it brought me to my knees, crippling my very existence. Add alcohol, a predisposition for depression and anxiety plus a high IQ and the cherry on top of that shit sundae, one who’s empathic (I might blog about that some time, it’s a bid odd) and you’ve got yourself one very confused, existentialistic, depressed, maniacal everyday Joe who’s just one radioactive spider bite short of turning into a super villain. (I swear there’s gonna be a poem at the end of this lecture.)

Luckily for the world and myself I decided to get clean and not build a super sized ray gun and use my understanding of pharmaceuticals and my experience as an addict for good. My goal in life is to try and figure out how biologically, sociologically, psychologically, spiritually, and hell, even cosmically, addiction happens in all of its forms.

Essentially, WHY does addiction happen? If we can find out the why, we can find out the how to prevent and find an actual cure. Since NA and AA are anonymous.. obviously…no real statistics exist about the programs efficacy but most researchers put it at a failure rate of 75-90%. Now, that’s a failure rate of relapse, as far as long term sobriety it could be much better over time. Essentially almost everybody relapses their first go-around. It’s almost part of the recovery process in some ways. Unfortunately, when you’ve had some clean time your tolerance for certain drugs, specifically opiates drops quickly and if the addict does relapse and uses the same dose as when they were using prior, overdose is almost inevitable.

In our country as of this moment, we have the same amount of people dying every two weeks from heroin overdoses as we did on the day of the 9/11 attacks and nobody seems to think much of it. Think of it. If 9/11 was stretched out as a two week attack, it would be the same amount of deaths that are occurring right in our hometowns, our cities, our colleges, our high schools and yes, middle schools.

You’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up.

I saw a meme saying “If methadone clinics are free for addicts, chemo should be free for cancer patients.” Seriously? Please just freeze me until the Vulcans arrive and then unfreeze me, put me on the Enterprise with Kirk, Spock and Bones and get me off of this planet.

With that, I present to you

 

“The Day in The Life of an Addict”

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

Out of bed and into an orange bottle, starting the day off right take double the amount as follows.

Woke up to emails, anxiety and woes, no time for breakfast I’ll be fine I suppose.

Look in the mirror, why so upset, the pills will heal. No time for regrets.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

Grab half dirty clothes off the back of a chair should’ve done laundry but just didn’t care.

A few steps to the door, you’ve done this before, get off to work because your excuses just don’t work on the boss anymore.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

Time for deep breaths, focus, don’t whine, you’ll be fine, shut out the crying that’s deep down inside.

Mindfulness, meditation and prayers, choreographed and timed like soldiers in a line. Perfect reminder, it’s time for another line, it’s time to go inside.

All morning you smile, smirk, and joke, it’s fake of course but hopefully nobody knows.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

So careful, so meticulous, of course they don’t know. But you sent the same e-mail out four times today, it might merit some odd looks but you’re too high to know.

Ignore the hot girl who always gives you a smile and flirts with you when you’re vision is clear enough to notice, leave it alone, you know you’re not worth it. When she finds out you’re an addict she’ll run away, you just know it.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

Afternoon pills, quiet and posed. Surely my co-workers still don’t know, I can’t be exposed.

Fighting feelings that somehow I can’t even list, sit there and wonder if I even exist. Memories of my old self begin to fade and new ones won’t form, I’ve created my own episode of the Twilight Zone but I’m no longer the writer, I’m completely on my own. I’m hardly even the actor anymore, just there, existing, barely even living.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

Dinner for one, the night’s just begun, you got through the day so that battle’s half won.

Get online and you’re scrolling or screaming, it’s all the same, looking at happy selfies of old friends while pretending you’re ok and they’re somewhere like Brazil, Puerto Rico or Rome.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

Stay up late to prevent the next day, wash, rinse, repeat it’ll come either way.

Think of the things that went wrong all day, maybe tomorrow will be better, I doubt it anyway. The first thing that went wrong was waking up, and it’s all downhill from there.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who will I be today?

The grand finale of drugs finally! I’ve paid my dues, sleep should come easy with just one or two. Or three, maybe four. I deserve it, I’ve got another doctors appointment soon so I’m pretty sure I can afford it.

Time slows down, but the euphoria isn’t there. Now it’s just about not feeling sick, or sad or a having the equivalent of a raging flu. A flu that lasts for a week and won’t kill you but you wish it would, when you run out it’s so unbearable you’d do anything to go back to just that one or two.

Withdrawal is inevitable but not tonight or tomorrow, you can pull it off just a little bit longer. Facing the reality of the mess you’re in is harder than continuing the path of destruction you’ve ultimately constructed.

Finally, it’s over.  Insomnia has lost, but before I fall sleep just one last thought.

Oh me, oh my, I wonder why, who was I today?

 

Yeah, so I’m not the best poet but I tried. These are the feelings, the recollections, the emotions that stood out the most for me when I was in active addiction. I am happy that no longer live or feel this way. I do wish I would’ve done it sooner but each person has to make that decision on their own as to when they want to change their life.

If you are an addict, you’ll figure it out, end up in jail, a hospital, rehab or you’ll die Yes, I know you’ve heard it before, yes it’s cliché and it’s incredibly annoying but it is true. If you’re the loved one of an addict, unfortunately all you can do is watch it like a like a car crash in slow motion. Support them but don’t enable them. There is a very big difference between the two, I suggest you research al-anon or al-ateen if your loved one is a younger addict. When I say addict it encompasses alcoholics, there’s no real difference to be honest. The good news is you don’t have to live the way you’re living. You can get help. I’ve said it time and time again. Anything is possible.

Remember, you are never alone. Nor am I.

C. Brooks

P.S. That person can piss off.

P.P.S. If you’re an addict, I dare you to try.

2 thoughts on “A day in the life of an addict: A Poem

  1. Alicia

    Thanks for this, Chris. I have a sister who struggles with addiction. She is clean and sober right now, but since she hasn’t done a lot of the mental/emotional work on herself, I fear a relapse is inevitable. Families never think it will be one of their own. Mine certainly didn’t, and they had no idea how to handle it, anymore than they knew how to handle the mental health difficulties I experience. So many people seem to have these preconceived ideas about what an addict looks like: uneducated, not intelligent, certainly not white-collar, as you put it. I hope your writing here can give people some much-needed perspective, and a reminder that addiction doesn’t look like we think it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Alicia, I have come a very long way and addiction really doesn’t care who you are. The sad thing is – and this is ironic – Viagra is partly to blame for this epidemic. Yup. Viagra. When Viagra came out, it was making tons and tons of money for Pfizer, and Purdue Pharma was not very happy about this so they needed to find a cash cow. So, they come up with Oxycontin. They market it, specifically to doctors as a non-addictive, or less addictive pain medication and the money comes pouring in just like they’d hoped for. Well, once word got out that it’s 1. not as long lasting as they promised and doctors had to keep upping the dose and 2. it’s incredibly addictive, and 3. it was being widely overprescribed, there was a big lawsuit. Actually, the biggest lawsuit in pharmaceutical history with three of the companies executives charged with and found guilty of criminal acts. Of course, Purdue still formulates and sells opiates…go figure. So, what are all these people supposed to do now that their supply of this hardcore opioid medication has been cut off? We’re talking everyday run of the mill folks who may have been in a car accident or suffered a work injury, sports injury etc. Again, this medication was supposed to be non-habit forming or non-addictive…So, many recovered with help but there are always some that just can’t or won’t. Also at the time, black tar heroin was very popular. It was dirty, nasty and cheap. Normally cut with god knows what and most people wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole. Drug dealers got smart and realized if they got better, cleaner, higher grade heroin that didn’t need to be smoked or injected, more middle class Americans would be more likely to use it since it didn’t seem as dangerous. So that didn’t help, the supply keeps getting cut and so then fentanyl which is cheap and readily available (and about 10-100 times more potent than heroin depending on the quality of the heroin) is being cut into the heroin and it’s impossible to know just what you’re getting anymore. That’s why the amount of people getting addicted and overdosing is so prevalent. It’s the perfect storm of shit and we can thank Viagra (but not really) Purdue Pharma, our government…as long as they keep getting money from big pharma, they’ll keep allowing them to advertise these sorts of drugs on TV and people will ask for them and doctors who don’t know enough about them will prescribe them and the vicious cycle will continue. Not to mention, most pharmaceutical companies hide a lot of their data from the FDA when doing research trials and easily get away with it, they also don’t even have to compare the drug they’re testing against the best current medication on the market and if they do, they can adjust the dosage of the other medication to a very small amount or a very high amount to make it less effective in the study so of course their test drug is going to be superior…Sigh…I’m ranting. It’s amazing what the American population isn’t aware of and it’s sad. Purdue Pharma is still dealing with lawsuits from opioid medication issues to this day and yet they’re still in business. Unfortunately, once the cat is out of the bag, it’s nearly impossible to put it back in.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s