Thoughts of a drug addict

The cravings kicking in again. What do I do? Do I listen to it? How do I resist it? I will try smoke a roll up instead.

Rolls some tobacco in a small rizla, sparks it. Takes the first puff, a sigh of relief. Yes…feel better. It’s 11 am only. I was up late. I can’t remember what time I fell asleep, but I definitely didn’t sleep much. My room’s a mess. There’s stuff lying around everywhere. I need to get my act together. I have an appointment with my GP and social worker later. I need me meds. The pain is getting intolerable. It’s pricking my legs and lower back. I can’t do without me meds.

Finishes the cigarette and eyes meet the glass and a bottle of whisky lying neatly on the coffee table. One morning drink would do me good. It will numb the pain a bit. I never drink to get drunk. I just drink to swish my mouth with the taste of whisky. I only drink scotch. I drink neat. On the rocks, no mixers. No Coca-Cola, no red bull, a bit of water. That’s a healthier choice. I am putting too much stuff in my body already. I still think about what I put in myself. Got to make better choices where I still have control. I am not addicted to sugar. Sugar addiction apparently, is worse than cocaine. I have read many articles on it. Some say it is, while others claim it may not be the case. Anyhow, consuming sugar in excess is definitely not healthy, and it deals with the same pleasure and reward systems in the brain like cocaine and other addictive drugs. Here’s one article, it talks about sugar’s effects on the brain and body.

Here’s another piece- this one’s rather simple in findings and explanation.

Purpose of review: To review research that tests the validity of the analogy between addictive drugs, like cocaine, and hyperpalatable foods, notably those high in added sugar (i.e., sucrose).

Recent findings: Available evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs. Although this evidence is limited by the inherent difficulty of comparing different types of rewards and psychological experiences in humans, it is nevertheless supported by recent experimental research on sugar and sweet reward in laboratory rats. Overall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive. At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine (i.e., more resistant to functional failures), possibly reflecting past selective evolutionary pressures for seeking and taking foods high in sugar and calories.

Summary: The biological robustness in the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward may be sufficient to explain why many people can have difficultly to control the consumption of foods high in sugar when continuously exposed to them.

Ahmed SH, Guillem K, Vandaele Y. Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2013 Jul;16(4):434-9. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328361c8b8. PMID: 23719144.

What the hell am I doing, exploring sugar addiction? It’s a multi billion dollar industry. From baby food to sweets, to desserts to doughnuts. Sugar is everywhere….

Sweet Lord!

Does it even matter? When I am addicted myself! Addicted to this, addicted to that, and now I am addicted to ?? What’s next? Definitely not sugar! I am sweet enough 😌.

Where’s that from? Oh yeah! Brick Top from Snatch. I thought it was Lock, Stock, Two Smoking Barrels, but this just shows how smoked my memory is.

Good memories, that movie’s a classic. Helps me forget about my addictions briefly, it does! Pours whisky, Johnnie Walker into the glass. Reaches out to the bedside fridge freezer, taking out some ice cubes and putting them into the glass of whisky.

These words bring about so many thoughts, stir so much in my head. The taste though and the smell, that’s what gives the satisfaction. Johnnie Walker, isn’t he some cat killer in Kafka on the Shore by Murakami. A strange twisted piece of work that is, indeed! This boy recommended me to read the book. I just couldn’t get into it, but Johnnie Walker hooked me in. It was a good change for a few days. I took less drugs when I was reading. I don’t usually read. I do but not fantasy and fictional stories. I like to stick to reality you see. Hmm.., that probably doesn’t sound right coming from my mouth. After all, I have addiction problems. Do I really stick to reality? Or do I know a tune called stick and cut! Like jelly beans, freaking creams, filled to brim. Why do my thoughts keep wandering off?

Finishes the drink. Gets ready, putting on the clothes lying on the floor. Brushes teeth, puts on the cap and heads to the GP to pick up the prescription. Then off to pharmacy to pick up prescribed medication. Some methadone, some benzodiazapines. That should take care of me for a week.

I will speak to my key worker over the phone. It’s not like they have a good opinion of me. I don’t blame ’em, they only see me as an addict. They don’t see the rest of me, the person who I was. That person is still somewhere inside me. I know I need help to fix up. I need help to go back to being who I was. I am not living in the past but being where I currently am, it sure gets depressing thinking about it.

I only have a few friends and even those, I am not sure whether they are my real friends. Real friends serve you long way. You heard that tune? Here it is… you will love it. One of my favourites. Yes we surely had a blast, we’re like family, me and you! I have always been open to you. Thinking about this one friend. Not a friend but at least that’s what I think of him, when I speak to him. He’s good at listening, talking to him is helping me. I have been getting more productive, the more conversations I have with him. Despite family bereavement, I have found some purpose and meaning. I am not entirely sure, what it is yet. I do know that, finally someone who understands me, understands how I feel, has reached out to me. He is one of the very few who saw my intelligence. He didn’t look at me as an addict. I have a good day, when I speak to him.

Last time we spoke, we talked about habit formations. He talked to me about the cue, routine and reward system. The habit loop, I was telling him about how to tune in and listen to the body. He then told me, how neurobiology influences the habits, how habits are ingrained and what we do then becomes automatic. I didn’t think that 88% of our mind was subconscious. The good news though, it can be altered… it’s never too late. I want to believe that. I don’t want to keep living like the way I currently am. It won’t lead to a better place. Right now, I am swimming in quick sand. I am not struggling to get out. Once I start, initially it will feel like struggle. It won’t be easy but it’s not impossible. I am willing to give it a try.

A conversation with the Speechless Boy! A disability story

“Good Morning Noor!” I try say it with a burst of energy, putting in warmth with every word uttered. Noor lays there in his bed snoring. Sleeping like a baby on his side. He is positioned to sleep every night. I will leave the other details of his routine for another time. Today, I wanted to talk about how he can whisper, if you focus and listen. If you pay a little attention, he tells you how he feels.

“Stay by my side.” He tells me. Hold my hand, when I cry. It soothes me. He reminds me that because he doesn’t have the capacity to think, he feels everything. A kind and gentle touch is what he seeks and loves the most.

I ask him why is it that not all touches are gentle. He tells me, “It’s not that they are not. It’s just the part of their job. Routine and time keeping often takes up their attention. But you, you are here to help slow things down and be gentle.” I chuckle when he says that. “Hmm… I wonder, so if I can slow down the routine work a little, do you mean I can inject some gentleness and kindness into it all.”

“That’s exactly right,” he says. He continues, “A little slow and steady, although I will tell you that people looking after me have the warmest heart and are most experienced. They have known me for a long time. So they also understand the nuances and expressions I convey, that much more.” He chuckles again and adds, “Yes, that’s right, they know when I am being a cry baby and throwing a tantrum.”

“That makes sense!” I tell him. “I read through your file and case to understand your needs better.”

He smiles when I tell him that. It’s a lot of effort and work to look after you, ain’t that right! He beams upon hearing me say this. I take a deep breath then centre my thoughts, so our conversation doesn’t distract us from looking after him.

He is a big star wars fan. He loves marvel and has watched every movie. In the movies, he tells me,”I fall asleep and then I am in the movie. I dream the movie, that’s how I watch them.”

“Wow, you must have the best dreams. You are really imaginative and creative.” I tell him. I then tell him about some of my experiences where I have dreamt the storybooks, audiobooks and podcasts. He is joyed to hear it and happy that he shares the similar experiences.

“You sure do, but you’re much more creative. It must be similar to watching anime.” As I tell him this, I realise that he has fallen asleep. Perhaps dreaming another movie and bringing our conversation to a close.

Thoughts about running! A Timely Story

I having been running ever since I was present. My essence is running itself. I don’t wait for anyone. I run away from anything and everything. Please don’t try to stop me, because I won’t.

What am I running towards? I long for unity. I long to enter the limitless and eternal realm, where I won’t matter anymore. No one would have to be concerned about me. I guess that’s partly the reason, in fact the main reason why I keep running. Everyone I came across, so many, all the faces I have met, have been worried sick about me. It will be the same or probably get worse as I move along and see more faces. They worry themselves to old age, grey hair and yet, I am still running away from it all.

I wish I could stop to console those who worry. It’s not in my nature to look back. I am always looking ahead. I have quite the positive outlook if you were to think of me as someone always looking for the sun to rise. Will I stop when this world comes to end? I am not sure! I may slow down to catch a breath. For now, all I know is that I have to keep running.

Like that kid who’s always been running away from everything his whole life. Looking for an escape, longing for it. I have been watching him his entire existence. In the rear view mirror of course! I can’t look back. I wanted to stop and console him but there’s no helping it. I have seen him grow up. I don’t know what lies ahead for him. If I could give him some advice, I wonder what would I tell him? What thoughts? What words will soothe him? I don’t know! Is it really advice that he is looking for? Is it else that he is seeking? Does he know that, what he seeks, is also looking to find him? An old poet said this. Rumi was it? So many have been lost in me that I forget most. Few I remember well. It’s because their names are spoken of again and again. It’s like they are trying to yell at me, “Hey look, even though you have been running away from me for my whole existence, I am still able to keep up the pace with you.” It’s those that beat me to my destiny even before I could get there myself. And did I tell you that, I have been running ever since I was present? How can they transcend me? Am I not their equal? What am I to them? Am I just a perception to them? Yes, that’s it. I am a mere perception because those are also the ones, who are not concerned about me. They grow old too, but they don’t worry about me. So many try race against me, but I beat them all. I am the fastest runner, the best at running. At least this is what I think. There maybe someone else faster than me. In fact, there could be many. No wonder, why I change too. Am I running away or chasing after my destiny? It’s been so long that even sometimes, I forget. I need reminders too. In different places, I am perceived differently. Just like that kid who has been running away his whole life. Sometimes he reminds me of myself. He maybe just one, but almost everyone I have looked back at in the mirror, try to keep up with appearances. There is something else about him. It’s because he tries so hard to not care, and not care about what others think, but even then, people are just presumptuous. That’s how it is! He doesn’t care whether his name’s up in the lights or known to no one. Or does he? Maybe now, it’s I, who is assuming it. I wish I could stop to ask him but I can only look back at him. He looks forward to me because he is trying to find an escape. What is he trying to escape from? I wish I could tell you because I have seen it all, in the rear view mirror of course! Some things are better left unsaid. I do not reveal secrets, it’s up to him. He found people that he was able to confide in. He found people that he put his trust in. Were it them he was looking for? Did he get his escape afterwards? He is still looking for an escape. Sometimes it overwhelms him. He wakes up in the middle of the night with thoughts zooming in and out and he pours them all out writing. Trust? Isn’t that what he always struggled with? Hmm. Now I know exactly what to tell him. I would tell him to trust me. Because I only look forwards, if he were to trust me, he will find his escape. But that seems wrong. His beliefs are different. We share the same beliefs but, perhaps I am not saying it in the right way. What he must trust is the divine will that is leading him forwards and nurturing him. Like it is leading me forwards. You see, I like to advise people in the way it is easy to understand. However, because we share the same beliefs, it’s easy to find words for him.

What about someone else? Someone who doesn’t share my beliefs? Someone who perhaps, has been consumed by nihilism? Or someone who has been consumed by consumption itself? Or someone who chases after fantasies, or someone looking to find a purpose in others?

What would I tell them? What is their purpose? Do I even know it? Perhaps they are also the ones not worried or concerned about me. They live life to the fullest or at least they try and aim to. To them this is it. This is all of their existence. The morals and the idea of wrong and right, significantly changes, living with those beliefs. But I guess, they find their purpose in perpetuity, thinking this world would go on forever. That’s to align their good morals. They think that I won’t stop running. I might not but perhaps, I will be perceived differently. What about those who don’t have a moral compass? I don’t know, I guess this is too much to listen to. I could try capture all thoughts as I run but, you see, running feels great when you lose yourself in it. I run and take in the views serenely. Running is meditation to me. I have a rhythm. I change in different places but that’s also part of my rhythm. That’s another thing perhaps, I would remind that kid about. I know he writes and focuses on rhythm a lot. Meditating and practising martial arts and all. He perhaps, hasn’t found his escape because he hasn’t found his rhythm.

I am glad that he is thinking about me and I in return, am able to offer him some of my thoughts. He writes it all down at the break of dawn. Waking up to find serenity but his thoughts were everywhere. So, he picked up his phone and started thinking and typing. I like how this conversation took place quietly. I didn’t have to utter a word because I am busy running. He is there trying to grab onto my thoughts I leave behind. I wish him a Good Morning! And remind him once more, “Remember, trust and rhythm. Trusting the rhythm of the entire existence.”