A former family doctor and recovering morphine addict offers a harrowing account of what it’s like to take and withdraw from the drug:
I am an outcast; I see a father walking along the roadside, holding his children by the hand. It’s like a knife, a small parcel of anguish, why can’t I be like that, be a normal dad, with normal interests and normal concerns. I remember it, I remember walks and family picnics, birthdays, holidays, Christmas. The memories seem to come from a far distance, a long-lost place. I’ve sent this happiness, this contentment, away from me. The normal world is a rainbow of colours, mine is dull and grey. Why can’t I be like that still, how did I lose it?
It’s a selfish ordeal, I’m drowning, too immersed in my own misery to think about the people I am hurting, my wife, my children. “A devil in the house,” my wife calls it, no matter how many times she tries to push it out it keeps on getting back in again. The drug has come between us, has ruptured that bond, that presumption that we were a couple and a family, that we would meet everything together and handle it together. I have betrayed the trust, I have promised her again and again that I would stop, that no, I’m not acting strangely and no, I haven’t used and no, there’s nothing wrong with my voice, and yes, I’m clean, that this was definitely the last time, but I’m like all addicts; you know I’m lying because my lips are moving.
And I get angry when my lies are challenged, when she asks about a blood-stained tissue, or wants to see my arms to check for bruises, or finds a stray needle or empty ampoule. I make up some story, try to explain it away, I had a blood test today, or I banged my arm on the car door, the ampoule must have been there from a few months ago, it sounds stupid even as I’m saying it, but it’s all I’ve got. What about the kids, she asks, supposing Jack or Katie had hurt themselves on that needle, how would you feel, do you not consider them? I have no answer, I think I care, but the drug comes first every time.
Recent Dish on drug addiction here.
(Hat tip: Mind Hacks)