I am just seconds away from entering Day #70 of no alcohol, no drugs, and you would think that by now, more than three times the length of time it takes for my brain to form new neural pathways, that the drug matter is now done and dusted. But it’s not, by a long shot.
The past few weeks have been hell, I have craved – physically craved, as much as mentally – the smooth smokey oblivion of crystal meth. This past week in particular took me on a drive straight up the walls of my bedroom, on Tuesday evening. I could taste the meth, could feel the hot smoke coursing down into my lungs, could feel the eruption of dopamine flood my pleasure centres and reduce me to nothing more than a filthy, junkie lust-bucket.
Is there such a thing as phantom high? Of course there is – there’s even a medical term for it: psychosomatic – “a physical disease that is thought to be caused, or made worse, by mental factors”. In my case, physical cravings and strong desires to smoke crystal meth presented me with a sleepless night, the ‘shakes’ and a bad case of the ‘meth bugs’ – a feeling that there is something just under your skin, that you relentlessly try and scratch out. In the days of rave clubs and chill rooms, we used to call it ‘stealing thunder’ – surrounding yourself with a gaggle of tripping, rushing ravers, whose frenetic luvved-up energy steeps off them and surges into you, inducing the rush, the high and the zone that popping all the Es and As would have done, if you’d swallowed them. It was great for nights you didn’t have cash for gear.
I’d like to tell you that days get better, that addiction gets cured, that it all comes down to a happy ending, that not smoking is easier than smoking, and that with each passing day the urge to smoke, to snort, to pop a pill lessens in strength – but I can’t, because I am still on that journey, and so no ending to report, happy or otherwise. Hey, there was a time, about 25 days in, when it seemed I didn’t even think about the ride, the drugs, the addiction – but that changed in June, and I don’t know why.
All I know is, the ride is hard, right now, I need to get back to my N.A. meetings on Mondays, on this Monday, in fact. Follow the journey, with me, and maybe together we’ll find out why I’m craving, why it’s suddenly so in my face.
There are times I think “One won’t hurt, will it? Just one gram, if I just control it, maybe…” and as the bargaining starts getting frantic, I shake my head to get the voices to stop calling out the deal-breaker. It works, like a slap in the face, but will it continue to work? I know that some rehabs take you through a 6-month course to get clean, I know that statistically, the numbers are stacked heavily against me, as I try get my self clean without anything other than weekly NA meetings, which I’ve not been attending since I moved to Stellenbosch, from Paarl – I know that I have to work harder to keep clean, than someone in rehab, because I am not in rehab, and I am not doing this anonymously, that you’re reading this and sharing my journey.
Well, dammit, share the load, because this time, it’s rough.
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