Remembering my time as an addict on ‘International Day Against Drug Abuse’.
Drug addiction is one thing that does not discriminate between people. Rich, poor, young, old, gay, straight - you can become an addict, you’d just be taking different kinds of drugs. I don’t even remember how I became an addict. Writing this is the first time I’m really thinking about it.
If you’ve been around any ‘stoner’, you’ve heard them refute two claims –
‘Weed’ is a drug - according to them, it isn’t one because it has no chemically proven means of getting you addicted, and its grown organically.
It is a gateway drug - Basically it doesn't lead to harder drugs.
I could agree that weed is not a drug but a controlled substance, like alcohol or tobacco. But it’s definitely a gateway drug. For me that gateway led to cocaine. Thankfully, my coke phase lasted just over 3 months, and lucky for me it never got so bad that I had to do something crazy like sell my body for drugs, because honestly, the knowledge that nobody wanted me would probably have required me to take more drugs.
By the time I was 18, I was quite used to the occasional joint but never at any point excessively. Then, almost naturally, as is the nature of these substances, my body sort of got used to the high, and I started smoking up more frequently. It got to the point where I was smoking a joint everyday, and that’s when everything changed. One day after getting high with my friend, he pulled out a bag of some white looking powder. We both sort of had this ‘everything once’ motto, which is the worst motto to have if it only applies to doing stupid shit. We decided to just go for it.
Rolling like a pro
I’d seen movies, I knew what I had to do. I rolled up a hundred rupee note, lined up a bit of the powder, and went for it.
Nothing can truly describe the next minute of my life. For those of you who watch Narcos, you know what I’m talking about. But unless you’ve done it, you do not know what it does to you.
The first thing I felt was a sharp sensation, all across the right side of my face, because I snorted from my right nostril. My eyes began to water and as I rubbed my eyes, everything went numb, completely numb. I felt calm and restless at the same time, exhausted and exhilarated all at once. For some reason, I couldn’t stop moving my jaw. I must have looked weird as hell.
When you're on coke, you feel like Superman. You can win any fight, solve any problem, happiness is an emotion invented by you. Cocaine lifts you up on a cloud of enthusiasm and aggression, where you feel you’ve had an epiphany about your life every second. Prior to coke, you were living your life all wrong. This is your purpose, you can be whatever you want to be, and do literally anything.
And then it stops.
And as high as the high is, the low is just as low. I began to experience the ‘come down’. Every wrong and stupid thing I had ever done flooded my mind all at once. I experienced remorse, the likes of which I had never known before in my life. I found myself calling exes that I didn't care about, apologising about things I wasn’t guilty of, speaking to friends that weren't my friends, telling them how much they mean to me. And worst of all, teachers, whose first names I didn't know, to thank them for everything they taught me. I was an emotional wreck, and all it took was one line. The low is so bad, that you just want it to end, but there’s only one way to end it.
When I lined up the second bit for myself, I realised that until that moment, I had never truly known addiction. When I say I was hooked, I mean it. From that point on, my primary focus was on getting more coke for myself.
So I called my weed guy, who was obviously just some student. He then called his elder brother, who called his weed guy, and asked where someone could buy some coke. After about an hour, I got a call - the hookup was done. I would be getting a gram of coke for around Rs.3500. I didn’t really know the market rate for cocaine, so I had to agree.
But a gram of coke came down to roughly 10-15 lines. Within a few days I realised I could wipe that out in no time. And that’s where another problem started. I had a growing desire but a depleting allowance. My friend had the same problem as me, and we were stuck.
So I did some things that I’m not particularly proud of, and maybe not mentionable here. In any event, I continued buying and continued snorting for 3 months. While I was having a great time, this is what was happening to me -
Coke kills sleep. I got very little sleep during this period. Even if I was physically exhausted, my mind was racing, as was my heartbeat.
Coke raises your body temperature, by a lot. It’s like you have a fever, but you don’t feel it. I assume this is a bad thing.
Your emotions are like a pendulum. Higher the high, lower the low. I ended up disenfranchising myself from basically everyone except the people I’d get high with
Dehydration and starvation. I’ve never really been one for nutrition, but when you’re high, you aren’t really concerned about your water intake, or whether you’re eating or not. Coke is like the opposite of weed, in the sense that you don’t really get munchies. In fact, you have an even smaller appetite.
The reason I stopped is about as stupid as the reason I started - I looked like shit.
I was on a gram a day, snorting whenever I got any sign of a comedown. I wouldn’t sleep, so I had dark circles bigger than my face. I hadn’t eaten 3 meals a day in what seemed like forever, and when I weighed myself I was actually shocked. I had lost upwards of 15 kilos since I started snorting, and I was really thin to begin with.
As cliched as it sounds, I looked at myself in the mirror and saw a junkie. Enough was enough. I came clean to my parents, who beat the shit out of me. After beating the shit out of me, they took away my phone and put me under semi-house arrest for a few weeks.
Getting clean is hell, but so essential. I tried a life of hard drugs and it changed me forever. I know if I stayed on that path I’d be unrecognisable in a few years time, and probably hate myself. No high is worth hating yourself when you’re sober.
SAY NO TO DRUGS!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101india.com
By Ashi Khanna
Cover photo credit: therecoveryvillage.com