Patterns..

Asif,a recovering addict cried,tears of deep pain rolled from his cheeks.He knew that it was his fault again.He just physically abused his girlfriend for a silly reason.It was his fifth relationship in his recovery period that didn’t turn out,the way he thought.The poor girl could not understand how Asif turned into a monster. Asif had a traumatic childhood.He grew up watching his parents fight.His father used to hit his mother occasionally(for petty reasons).His father was an aggressive person and had extra marital affairs(His parents had an early arranged marriage).At the age of 10,Asif wanted to escape from home(but he didn’t have the courage to)Asif was not able to concentrate in his studies,his marks were coming down.Television was the only escape from reality. Asif started using at the age of 14 (pills and alcohol)and was becoming increasingly difficult.Drugs gave him the courage to voice his thoughts.Drugs numbed Asif’s feelings of hurt and pain.He regularly got into fights with his classmates and neighborhood boys. He entered a drug rehabilitation center at the age of 20(there too he got into fights everyday).Asif cleaned up after two years and he is in the process of learning how to express his feelings properly(Recovery is a life long learning process).

Daddy is a drug addict

Sharat’s father is a drug addict.He has seen the affects of drug addiction in his family from as early as he can remember.Sharat’s father could not maintain any job for more than two months but his grandparents supported his parents financially.Sharat always felt sad because of his father’s drug addiction and sudden changes in his father’s behavior.Sharat’s mother started working as a school teacher to better support the family.Sharat’s neighbors and friends knew about his father’s drug addiction(Sharat felt like everyone was making fun of him).Sharat slowly started isolating himself from friends and family.Sharat’s father did try to quit drugs many a times,but failed everytime.One day his father started hitting his mother for money(His father was going through severe drug withdrawals).Sharat could not take it anymore (his anger,his helplessness) and he went out of his house to the river bank.Sharat loved sitting by the Riverside(it felt like the waves took away Sharat’s pain and anger for sometime,he felt at peace there).That day two boys came and sat next to Sharat and started grinding and rolling joints(they also loved smoking by the Riverside).One of the boys offered Sharat to smoke with them and he did and Sharat never felt such calm and serene in his entire life.He was hooked.In the coming years Sharat tried every drugs that was available.15 years vanished from his life.Sharat is now 36,and has developed deep faith in God after his 7th relapse.He still struggles with his sleep but Sharat has made up his mind never to use again.Sharat is actively involved in 12 step meeting service.He helps a lot of suffering addicts(Sharat doesn’t want others to suffer like him).Sharat says when he helps other addicts,he can sleep better and stops his brain from overthinking.

The death needle..

Rohan,age 24, was found dead in his office washroom with a needle hanging in his vein.He was a heroin addict,he started using from when he was 16.But was 9 months away from drugs after his 3rd drug rehabilitation treatment.His counselors and 12step meeting members always suggested him to take things slow(not to run after money or girls for couple of years).They always said to put recovery first, attend as many 12step meetings as possible,till Rohan becomes emotionally stable(drug abusers have numbed their feelings for many years,so first couple of years in recovery, certain feelings creates havoc).Rohan also suffered from low self-esteem.He always felt others were better than him and that he was too short and dark(most indians make fun of dark and short people,even they make fun of their own family members).His self esteem also suffered because most of the girls he fell for, rejected him. He was 3 months clean,he stopped attending meetings and started searching for jobs.He got one and fell for one of his teammates.She also liked him.Everything seemed good between them.But Rohan’s insecurities were making it very hard for him.He couldn’t sleep at nights because of the fear that she might leave him for some better good looking guy.The night he overdosed,his girlfriend called in the morning and said she couldn’t continue because of his suspicious and controlling nature.(was it the drugs that killed him or was it his feelings and character defects??).Drugs and alcohol are said to be just one of the symptoms of the very insidious disease called addiction.Recovery is more than just staying away from drugs.

Little things..

Once Binay’s drug rehabilitation center’s counsellor said,’if you think,you are responsible,go buy a plant or a fish and take care of it for one year(his counselor relapsed few years later).But Binay now realises what his counselor was trying to say.Binay is now 6 years clean by simply practicing the little things in his life.He bought a plant after his drug rehabilitation.He dedicatedly starting watering it regularly,put the plant in the shade when the sun was too bright.He started making his bed every morning and kept his room clean.Started bringing groceries for home(without being dishonest). Addiction is a very negative disease,it robs you of your happiness,hopes,desires.He felt depressed, frustrated because he was 36 years old and was still dependent on his parents.But these little things helped him to keep his brain occupied and felt a little bit responsible (a feeling of accomplishment)He also developed a habit of going to 12step meetings no matter what he was feeling.His 12 step meeting sponsor asked him to attend prayer to prayer meetings(Binay says it built his patience).His sponsor also asked him not to use mobile phones during the meetings (Binay says it helped him control his impulses).At the end of the day he always accomplished a little thing and kept on building on that foundation.He started putting chairs in the meeting rooms,bringing tea for members,started sharing(Binay says it built his confidence).He started going for HnI meetings, doing public information workshop (Binay says it taught him punctuality).He started practicing the twelve steps(Binay says it built his self esteem and taught him humility).Doing little things everyday helped him stay clean for 6 years and is happy and grateful.Binay owns a nursery now.

Stories from the rehab..

Biswa was 12,he didn’t like mathematics,the calculations.He loved poetry.When his teacher was busy explaining sums,he was happy watching birds, playing in the school playground from the window.His teacher spotted him and ridiculed him in front of his classmates and the girl he had a crush on and made him stand outside.Biswa was hurt and angry.That day he came back home only to find out his parents and relatives drinking and having a good time.His cousin brothers were also drinking,who he looked upto.Pritam was also there,he admired everything about him.Biswa loved to hear his heroic rebellious stories,how Pritam would jump school walls during school hours and bought cigarettes and jumped back in,how he didn’t give a damn about the school authorities.Every girl seemed to have a crush on Pritam.That evening Biswa managed to slip a half finished bottle of whiskey into his room but he didn’t drink.Early next morning Biswa filled little whiskey into his water bottle and went to school.At lunch hour he drank a little infront of his best friend,he didn’t like the taste but his buddy broke his trust and complained to his classteacher about Biswa’s drinking.Biswa faced the consequences.He was called to the principal’s office and got a beating and was again made to stand in front of the classroom the rest of the day.His parents were called. After school he went back home planning how to tell his parents about his mistake.He was afraid.Somehow he managed to confess infront of his mother,but his mother reacted and called his father.His father yelled and threw quite a few punches on him.His father had a bad day at his office(his father might have acted differently if only his mother have waited for sometime before breaking the news).Biswa wanted someone to understand. Biswa is now 36,undergoing is 14th drug rehabilitation treatment writing rap songs.Biswa is not able to maintain a healthy relationship with his parents.(sometimes you have to make peace with your past,and try to find out what might have been your contribution to the situation).

STORIES FROM THE REHAB..

Mrs.Lina,mother of Dhiraj, during the weekly parent’s meet-up at the drug rehabilitation center,shouted at the counsellor,’i don’t need any meetings.I don’t have any problem.It’s Dhiraj’s problem and he have to handle his addiction’. It’s her son’s 8th drug treatment.It has been suggested many a times to her to attend support group family meetings(FA or Al-Anon) and try not to give him any extra money at the end of her son’s every treatment.But every time she fails to follow up the suggestions.She could not bear the pain of her son traveling in public buses,and not having enough money.Everytime Dhiraj lands up in a hospital or police station,she runs to his aid.She will shut Dhiraj off with money,everytime he creates a scene. Dhiraj is good at manipulating his mother to support his drug addiction.If only she stopped giving him money and helping him get out of every situation and started attending family meetings.Maybe that might have helped Dhiraj fight his drug addiction better.(sometimes love kills and pain helps)

Stories from the rehab..

Nilav was 14 and was staying in a boarding school 1500 kms away from home.He started hanging out with the senior students.Nilav was missing his family and didn’t like his roommates and the routine.He along with his seniors planned and escaped from the hostel.They ran for awhile and stopped in a nearby forest,where his seniors pulled out weed joints and offered him.He was confused and stuck.They started making fun of him,he could not resist the pressure his mates were putting on him and he smoked.At the age of 17,he is diagnosed with psychosis. I think I might have also smoked,if I was in his situation.Maybe Nilav just was feeling lonely and wanted to be with his parents and talk about how his classmates were bullying him.

Stories from the rehab..

Roop was 18,when he went to a music concert along with his friends.Most of the crowd was drinking and smoking.His friends too wanted to drink and get high and enjoy the moment.Roop and his friends did.His behavior changed according to the behavior of the people around him.Roop might not have drank if his friends didnot drink,and avoided the crowd in the first place.Roop is now 33 and still struggling with his alcoholism.In my counselling career,I have met many individuals,who started using and drinking to fit into the crowd and to be liked and accepted by others despite of one’s core moral values.