On The Edge of the Wagon

Playing it perfectly, the recovering addict can tell you how many days, hours, minutes and seconds it has been since their last drink or drug. But a wise woman told me earlier this year that the decisions that we make that lead to the downfall, that lead to the taking of that first sip, the smoking of that first hit, the snort of that first line, are made long before the poison is on offer.

So it was I found myself on the edge of the wagon, at a dinner-turned-piss-up last week. The decision to enjoy myself, to kick back and not be so feistily anti-everything was made early in the day, and so it was that 12 tequilas or more passed these lips. They brought friends. And the loudness, it became. Take that as you will.
Though a lot of friends and family have voiced their opinion and their fears that I’ll replace my addiction to crystal meth with alcohol, by becoming a permanently drunken individual, and there is no danger of that, though the pleasures of inhibition-free socialising are appealing. The mechanics of why I won’t become an alcoholic are simple to grasp: a hangover is far, far worse than a mere night of not sleeping, that crystal meth gifts you. The destroyer of souls keeps you going, and it’s only exhaustion and paranoia that you have to deal with. Alcohol’s legacy is not to my liking.
But let’s get scientific here: the human brain releases up to 200 units of dopamine at its highest, natural peak. Cocaine drives that up to somewhere between 300 and 400 units, far more than alcohol can do. Cocaine was a soulmate of mine, for many years. Crystal meth rapes these numbers – and you’ll forgive the crude analogy but it’s the only effective way to describe what crystal meth does – and it’s this: it floods your brain with 1200 units of dopamine, 6 times your natural high, and 3½ that of cocaine. Cocaine drives your high for around 30 minutes (and no, that’s it, coke heads, despite the lies it makes you tell yourself) but meth drives dopamine production for 12 hours. That’s why it took my soul, scrunched it into a little ball, ate it and shat me out, broken, destroyed, useless, a wreck, on the other side. Scientific. Yeah. Exactly.
So that’s the danger that alcohol presents, right there –inhibitions gone, down the hatch with tequila no. 4, I won’t say no if you haul out the old meth pipe, and light it up. Cold hard truth? If you hauled out the pipe when I was stone cold sober, I’d not say no. I couldn’t. How could I, with dopamine on offer at such a good exchange rate – 1200 units in exchange for your mortal soul?
I’ve only just taken control of this wagon, I’m not about to let the devil drive.
©healing.me 2012. All Rights Reserved.
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